Dr. Avnish Jolly, Chandigarh, 5th October, 2008 :Chanda Asani was honoured with the Neerja Bhanot Pan Am 2008 award for her exemplary courage by Dr A.R. Kidwai, Governor of Haryana at an award ceremony held at St Stephens School, Sector 45, Chandigarh.
The women who face social injustice like dowry, desertion, etc with courage and overcome it with guts and grit and also help other women in social distress are nominated for this award. This year a jury comprising Vijaya Pushkarna, Vivek Atray and R.K. Thaman decided to confer the award on Chanda Asani. H.K. Dua, Editor-In-Chief of The Tribune was also present on the occasion. The Neerja Bhanot Award was instituted in the memory of senior flight purser Neerja Bhanot, who saved hundreds of lives while sacrificing her own, during a Pan Am plane hijack at Karachi Airport in September 1986. The award consists of Rs. 1,50,000, a citation and a trophy.
A.R. Kidwai, Chief Guest said that Chanda Asani is a story of tremendous courage, compassion and audacity. She deserves the award as she has lived her life with the same boldness as Neeraja Bhanot had shown 22 years ago. She was married at the young age of 15 but had to face the social stigma of a broken marriage. She passed MA in English literature and did programmes on women studies from the Research Centre for Women’s Studies, SNDT Women’s University with Indian perspective and Institute of Women’s Studies, Lahore.
After receiving the award Chanda Asani shared that every woman has the courage to fight with the circumstances as well the society alike. But she has to recognise it correctly during the times of crises.