NewZNew (London/Chandigarh) : The prestigious Bharat Gaurav Award was today conferred on Neerja Bhanot at a solemn function held at the House of Commons, British Parliament, London on July 2 evening. The Award has been instituted by Sanksriti Yuva Sanstha, a Jaipur headquartered NGO with an international presence. Akhil and Aneesh Bhanot, brothers of Neerja, attended the ceremony in London and received the Award. The Chief Guest on the occasion was Baroness Sandip Verma, a member of the House of Lords and the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for International Development in the UK Government.
The Award was conferred on Neerja for ‘distinguished services to the nation and outstanding individual achievements. She was one of the iconic personalities of India who always encouraged each and every one to bloom into the next idol of tomorrow. She is the pride of India as well as the world,’ stated the Citation. It may be recalled that Neerja was the Senior Flight Purser on a Pan Am flight which was hijacked at Karachi airport by 4 heavily armed hijackers. Thanks to the quick response and actions of Neerja, the American pilots were able to escape from the aircraft.
Setting aside all concern for her personal safety, Neerja identified herself to the terrorists as the crew member in-charge. In an amazing act of courage and compassion for her fellow human beings, she hid the passports of the American passengers as the hijackers wanted to execute Americans. She gave up her own life while shielding 3 American children from a hail of bullets of the terrorists. Neerja was recognised internationally as “the heroine of the hijack” and is the youngest recipient of the Ashoka Chakra, India’s highest civilian award for bravery. She was also conferred various prestigious awards by USA and Pakistan.
According to Aneesh Bhanot, “The Bharat Gaurav Award will inspire other people, especially the younger generation, to follow the principles of Neerja – Do your duty, come what may; Never tolerate any injustice and never compromise on your values and principles.”
According to Pt. Suresh Mishra, President, Sanksriti Yuva Sanstha, “For over 21 years, our vision and mission has been to promote Indian culture and civilization globally through a series of innovative social programs. We feel that Indians and Indian Diaspora personalities need to be honored and brought together to share and further our vision. Apart from the Bharat Gaurav Awards, Sanskriti Yuva Sanstha has been successfully organizing ‘The Grand Jaipur Marathon’ continuously from the last 7 years. The Sports carnival is attended by thousands of participants from all over the world.”