Facts Short Biography of Neerja Bhanot the pan am 73 purser
The Film Neerja has done a great job by reviving the forgotten story bravery of Neerja Bhanot and the crew members of Pan am 73
Who was Neerja Bhanot?
Short Biography Facts about Neerja Bhanot
Name – Neerja Bhanot
Height - 5 feet and 9 inches
Birth - 7 September 1963
Birth place - Chandigarh, India
Died – 5 September 1986 (aged 22) Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan
Bravery Award - Posthumously, she became the youngest recipient of India's highest peacetime military award for bravery, the Ashok Chakra
Parents - Rama Bhanot and Harish Bhanot, he worked as a journalist with Hindustan Times
Rama could not come to terms with Neerja’s death and slipped into depression.
Harish passed away in 2008, Rama died in December 2015, two days before the trailor for Neerja was released.
Brothers – Akhil and Aneesh
Education - She received her early schooling at Sacred Heart Sen. Sec. School, Chandigarh. After moving to Mumbai, she completed her schooling in Bombay Scottish School and continued to St. Xavier's College, Mumbai.
Moving to Bombay –
The Bhanots moved to Bombay in March 1974. They lived in Patrakar Colony, Bandra East
Career Profession – Modelling and Pan Am Purser
Neerja started Modelling at the age of 18
One afternoon, the two friends were munching on roasted corn outside the college campus when a photographer approached Neerja. He wished to feature her in a section called ‘The girl next door’ in the magazine Bombay.
Once the photo was printed, she got her first modelling offer. Paville, a popular retail store, had contacted her
Over the next four years, Neerja modelled for various brands
1-walking, arms wrapped around herself, on a winter afternoon in an ad for Charmis cold cream
2-as a bride bickering with the groom over the taste of Krack Jack biscuits
3-as a mother rewarding her son with an Amul chocolate.
4-She also appeared in print ads for several baby products,
5-for retail stores such as Benzer and Chirag Din,
6-she appeared on covers of magazines like Manorama
Pan Am Purser –
Bhanot applied for a flight attendant job with Pan Am, when it decided to have an all Indian crew for its Asian clients
Out of the 10,000 applicants, Neerja was one of 80 candidates chosen for the job; there were nearly 50 women from Mumbai and the rest from Delhi.
After nearly 6-8 weeks of training in Miami, Neerja was sent to London to be trained as a purser with 12 others. They were selected on the basis of their performance during examinations, briefings and emergency procedures.
Neerja was a purser for Pan Am, based in Mumbai, India, who was shot and killed while saving passengers from terrorists on board the hijacked Pan Am Flight 73 on 5 September 1986.
This incident happened just two days before her twenty-third birthday.
Bhanot applied for a flight attendant job with Pan Am, but returned as purser
Meaning of Purser - the cabin manager or chief flight attendant is often called the purser. The purser oversees the flight attendants by making sure airline passengers are safe and comfortable. A flight purser completes detailed reports and verifies all safety procedures are followed.
Marriage – Arranged Marriage – divorce
Year – 1981
Neerja was 21 years old and her father married her to a man based in Sharjah
After marriage She was harassed by demands for dowry, starved and denied any money.
After few months she came back to India and told her father about the situation and family supported her decision not to return to Sharjah and she decided to end marriage.
Pan Am 73 Hijacking –
Neerja’s roommate during the Pan Am training days was Rukhsana Eisa.
Eisa was appointed chief purser of the ill-fated Mumbai-Karachi-Frankfurt Pan Am flight. But that day, she reported sick and thus the task of heading the 12-member flight crew fell to Neerja.
5.25 am, September 5, 1986 -
The Pan Am 73 flight from Mumbai to Frankfurt landed at the Jinnah International Airport, Karachi, for an hour-long stopover.
Bhanot was the senior flight purser on Pan Am Flight 73 flying from Mumbai to USA, which was hijacked by four armed men on 5 September 1986 at Karachi airport in Pakistan. The aircraft was carrying 361 passengers and 19 crew members.
The terrorists wanted to fly to Cyprus and wanted to release some of their members from jail.
Four heavily-armed Palestinian men, belonging to the Abu Nidal Organization entered the flight.
They grabbed Neerja, who was at the entrance to welcome the passengers, by her hair. Sensing danger, she conveyed the “hijack code” over the intercom to the flight’s cockpit crew.
As the plane was on the tarmac, the three-member American cockpit crew of pilot, co-pilot and the flight engineer evacuated the aircraft through an overhead hatch in the cockpit as per their training so that the aircraft could not be forcibly flown.
Bhanot, being the most senior cabin crew member remaining aboard, took charge
The hijackers, Palestinians, were part of the terrorist organization Abu Nidal Organization and were backed by Libya. The terrorists then instructed Bhanot to collect the passports of all the passengers so that they could identify the Americans.
The terrorists wanted to put pressure on America by identifying and threatening the Americans on the aircraft.
Bhanot and the other attendants hid the passports of the 41 Americans on board; some under a seat and the rest down a rubbish chute so that the hijackers could not differentiate between American and Non-American citizens
After 17 hours, at 9.55 pm, when the flight’s auxiliary power unit ran out of fuel, plunging the aircraft into darkness, the hijackers went on a shooting spree.
Neerja and a passenger flung open two emergency doors, allowing many passengers to escape. While helping three children slide down the chute of the emergency exit, Neerja was hit by bullets. Though she was rescued by two of her colleagues, she died before any medical assistance could reach her.
Her family collected her coffin from the airport. Her father wrote: “She was cremated on September 8 at 11 am.
Neerja could have been the first to jump out when she opened the door but she decided not to and she died saving the lives of people on board.
After Death –
Bhanot was recognized internationally as "the heroine of the hijack" and is the youngest recipient of the Ashok Chakra Award, India's most prestigious gallantry award for bravery during peace time.
Pakistan award - Tamgha-e-Insaaniyat (Awarded for showing incredible human kindness), Pakistan
With insurance money and an equal contribution from Pan Am for using the brand Pan Am in the title, her parents set up the Neerja Bhanot Pan Am Trust. The trust presents two awards every year, one for a flight crew member, worldwide, who acts beyond the call of duty and another, the Neerja Bhanot Award, to an Indian woman who when faced with social injustice such as dowry or desertion difficulties and then helps other women in similar social distress. The award includes a sum of Rs. 1,50,000, a trophy and a citation
In 2004 the Indian Postal Service released a stamp commemorating her.
Bhanot's brother Aneesh went to Washington, D.C. in 2005 to receive the 'Justice for Crimes Award' awarded posthumously to her as part of the 'Annual Crime Rights Week' at a ceremony held at the United States Attorney's office for the District of Columbia.
In 2006, she and the other Pan Am Flight 73 flight attendants and Pan Am's flight director for Pakistan were awarded the Special Courage award by the United States Department of Justice.
The civil aviation ministry of India conferred an honor on Bhanot posthumously on 18 February 2010 in New Delhi on the occasion of the launch of the celebrations of the centenary of Indian aviation.
A square called Neerja Bhanot Chowk is named after her in Bombay's Ghatkopar (East) suburb by the Bombay Municipal Corporation.
One of the children, then aged 7, is now a captain for a major airline and has stated that Bhanot has been his inspiration and he owes every day of his life to her.
The remaining surviving flight attendants were made permanent employees after the hijack episode.
Not only Neerja but all the flight attendants were heroes including pilots who escaped from the flight.
Suggested Reading –
What Happened to Terrorist Hijackers of Neerja’s Pan Am Flight 73
Watch video Neerja Bhanot in Amul Chocolate Ad in the 80's
Video – Neerja Bhanot Advertisements 1
Video Neerja Bhanot Advertisements 2
Reality views by sm –
Monday, February 29, 2016
Tags – Facts Short Biography Neerja Bhanot Autobiography
29 February 2016
Facts Short Biography of Neerja Bhanot the pan am 73 purser