Laxmi Agarwal is not an acid attack survivor; instead, she is the symbol of courage, hope and strength. She has shown tremendous strength and courage to stand against the crowd of teasers. Her story is an inspiration for all as it is difficult to fight for the rights and Laxmi has done this effectively.
In such a man-dominated society, women are always advised to be quiet. Laxmi has proved that women also have the dignity and worth to establish their standards as it is important to empower women globally. The incident with her could not ever affect her internal soul. She fought for her identity and at last proved that the “acid attack survivors are the real heroes, not the accused”.
Laxmi stated in an interview that “the acid attack could not shake her dreams and willpower”. Today she has broken the stereotypes and beauty norms of many beauty brands and is the face of many fashion and beauty brands. The core essence of a woman's body is inner beauty.
So let’s begin with Laxmi Agarwal’s inspiring story!
Laxmi Agarwal and Acid Assault
Laxmi Agarwal was born in New Delhi on 1 June 1990. When she was 15 years old and in 7th grade, she was attacked by acid. This brutal act was done by a man named Naeem Khan (32 years old) also known as Guddu. He threw the acid on Laxmi Agarwal when she refused his proposal.
One day when Laxmi was passing through a market in New Delhi, Guddu came with his brother’s girlfriend Rakhi and attacked her with acid. She was attacked so brutally that her skin melted down and started dropping on the road. No one came to help her as there was a lot of smoke lifting from her body due to an acid reaction.
Then a man came and called the ambulance and she was taken to the hospital. The doctors immediately poured many buckets of water on her, but the acid was powerful as it ruined her whole skin.
Laxmi was terrified and did not see her face in the mirror for many days. She even decided to commit suicide, but the unconditional love of her parents supported her. She underwent seven surgeries in seven years.
This is not enough because of her physical health, her mental health was also affected. Laxmi had to face a lot of unacceptance from society. Many people could not understand her feelings. They hated her and blamed her for this attack.
Like many other girls, Laxmi did not give up. Rather she stood up again for her rights and decided to navigate her life. She started to pursue a diploma. Despite the criticism, Laxmi completed her diploma from Open schooling with the support of professors and family.
“The survivors are bigger than the attackers”. Laxmi has proved this by fighting for her rights and dignity. She filed a case against Naeem Khan in court. He was sentenced to ten years imprisonment, while Rakhi was sentenced to seven years in prison.
This is not enough as Laxmi filed a PIL in the Supreme Court for seeking new laws and amendments that dealt with acid attack crimes. She also claimed that there should be a ban on the sale of acid.
In July 2013, the Supreme Court issued the decisions on Laxmi’s PIL and ordered to restrict the sale of acids, compensation for victims, rehabilitation for survivors, government compensation, reservation in educational institutions and better access to jobs.
Stop Acid Sale
The battle of Laxmi Agarwal is very long and she supported the movement “Stop Acid” Sale. This movement was started to bring into light how acid can affect the lives of girls. To stop this violence the movement was started. Although women empowerment workshops are also helpful in encouraging females and their rights. Thus to solve the issue at bud this movement was initiated.
Family and Career
Laxmi completed her 10th class at Sarvodaya Kanya Vidyalaya School. Well, she could not complete her further studies due to this awful action. In an interview, Laxmi said that “My father has been my biggest strength.” Due to some colonial diseases, her father and brother could not live long.
Laxmi hosted a television show Udaan in 2014 and is a mother of a daughter. She constantly posts pictures of her daughter on social media.
Achievements and Awards
Endless efforts and extreme struggle brought Laxmi in limelight. Today she is a renowned name of women empowerment all over the world. Her victory can be seen by the awards she achieved. Some of her great achievements are as under:
In 2014, Laxmi was awarded the “International Courage of Women Award”, Presented by Michelle Obama.
In 2018, she was given the “Mother Teresa Award”.
In 2019, Laxmi was awarded the “International Women Empowerment Award” from UNICEF, Ministry of Women and Child Development and the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation.
In 2020, there was a movie named “Chhapaak '' released. It was based on the autobiography of Laxmi, and the role was played by Deepika Padukone. The movie gave a strong message to society.
Laxmi Partnered with Naykaa, for the “What makes you Beautiful” campaign. This ad challenges the so-called beauty standards of society and encourages women's empowerment
Pandemic Initiatives of Laxmi Agarwal
During the LockDown, Laxmi took the initiative to use social media and to empower the women who are facing Domestic violence or need any kind of help. “I want to tell these women that they are not alone, they are warriors in their ways,” she says.
In the pandemic many women were staying at home, so the cases of domestic violence were increased. So Laxmi hosted live sessions on social media to promote women's empowerment and strengthen those by creating awareness.
Laxmi is also a part of the group PARI (People against Rape in India) to support the women who are coping with any kind of domestic issue.
The story of Laxmi is inspirational for all the women's community. She is the ambassador of women empowerment groups. This is all because of her sacrifice, dedication and courage. Acid can affect the body but it can’t affect your whole life and dreams.
Therefore to fall is not in your hands but to raise is surely in your hands only. So please whenever you fall do not panic, Get up again and run with the optimum potential. This brings success and growth to your life. Don’t forget that life with hurdles is life with opportunities too.
Always look into the opportunities, as challenges are a part of life. So be the fighter and chase the goals!
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