For empowering women and educating their children, besides providing emotional, legal, and financial counselling to them, Bangalorebased Subhashini Vasanth was bestowed with Neerja Bhanot Award during an event held at Stephen’s School, Sector 45, on Wednesday.
Sonam Kapoor, chief guest during the event, conferred the award on Vasanth. The award consisted of `1.50 lakh, a citation and a trophy.
On receiving the award, Vasanth said, “I fell proud to receive the award as it represents the spirit of Neerja Bhanot’s determination and grit in the face of overwhelming obstacles. A woman must always face all adversities in life and ensure she comes out winner and is treated with respect. I survived after my husband’s death, but Neerja faced the death herself in a bid to save several others.”
Actor Sonam Kapoor said the true courage and compassion shown by both Neerja and Subhashini were highly inspiring. “In 1986, a young girl was faced by a force of terror that a few people will face at any age. She was just two days away from her 23rd birthday. Her determination made her do something she would never have thought she was capable of, and exchanged her life for the 359 other lives. She sacrificed something that most of us believe can’t be sacrificed. I am humbled to be present here and I salute Neerja, Vasanth and all award winners for their incredible work.” Ram Madhvani, director of a forthcoming film on Neerja Bhanot and producer Atul Kasbekar were also present.
The annual Neerja Bhanot Award was instituted in 1990 in the memory of brave senior flight purser Neerja Bhanot, who had saved hundreds of lives while sacrificing her own, during a Pan Am plane hijack at Karachi airport in September 1986.
Subhashini Vasanth is founder trustee of Vasantharatna Foundation, started in the memory of her husband Colonel Vasanth V, who was awarded Ashok Chakra (Posthumous) in 2008 for his sacrifice while fighting terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir. Her personal loss motivated her to start the foundation to create a support system for well-being of the families of jawans martyred in the service of the nation.