It’s stated that artwork mirrors life, and finds inspiration in it. So, when just lately Deepika Padukone put up a publish on her social media, revealing her search for her upcoming film, it made for an arresting piece of artwork, which compelled the spectators to search for its real-life inspiration. And when the inspiration itself is bigger than life, then it’s no marvel that the art work it impressed is producing such waves. I’m speaking in regards to the real-life shero who’s behind Padukone’s latest reel-life avatar — Lakshmi Agarwal.
A Childhood That Was Taken Away Too Soon
Imagine your self at 15. What have been your considerations then? Probably the classmate you had a crush on, or the pimple that surfaced at each inopportune alternative, or perhaps the board exams that you simply needed to take.
Lakshmi too had related considerations, however greater than that she needed to commit herself to the world of artwork. Sharing her story with a newspaper, she stated “I had all the time needed to be a singer or a Kathak dancer, however my father was a cook dinner and we didn’t have the funds for for classes. When I took up the job, I believed I’d put some cash apart to study music. The day earlier than the incident, I had spoken to the didi who performed the music lessons. I used to be imagined to attend my first lesson the following day. That day by no means got here. (1)”
This is as a result of a number of males determined her life was inconsequential. She had been on her technique to the bookshop, the place she labored part-time, when a person, who at 32 was greater than twice her age, accosted her together with two of his companions and threw a big beer bottle stuffed with acid at her for refusing his proposal. That was in 2005. But this was not the tip for Lakshmi. Far from it, her story was simply starting.
The Struggle That Yielded A Leader
While she was nonetheless fighting the aftermath of this horrific incident, and in want of rapid medical intervention — she got here to want seven medical surgical procedures in an effort to reduce the severity of her burns and reconstruct her face, which had change into badly misshapen in consequence of the acid burn — she took on the battle to get the federal government to note the plight of her and others like her.
In 2006, She filed PIL (Public Interest Litigation ) within the Supreme Court asking for an modification within the legal guidelines meting out punishment for such offenses, together with compensation for the victims. She additionally requested the court docket to place a ban on the sale of acid throughout the nation citing the rising incidence of such crimes everywhere in the nation. This finally led to the banning of the sale of the substance to anybody beneath the age of 18 within the nation and in addition imposing a set of restrictions on its sale (2).
The Laurels That Followed
Deciding that the battle was greater than her, Lakshmi went on to work as a coordinator for the Stop Acid Attacks basis, which is the place she met the love of her life, Alok Dixit, a social activist. Joined collectively by a trigger greater than them, the dynamic duo based the Chhanv Foundation, an NGO devoted to the rehabilitation of acid-attack victims. She even went on to co-own two cafes, referred to as Sheroes, in Agra and Lucknow, together with Dixit.
Lakshmi went on to win laurels corresponding to International Women Of Courage award, offered to her by Michelle Obama, in 2014, and NDTV Indian of the Year, which was offered to her by Ranbir Kapoor. She was even given the chance to be a TV presenter, when she was requested to host a present referred to as Udaan, on New Express. A dream, which she nurtured since childhood, got here true within the unlikeliest of circumstances (three).
Perhaps, the largest laurel amongst these was when Lakshmi obtained an opportunity to have her circle of relatives. She obtained right into a live-in relationship with Dixit and was blessed with a daughter, Pihu (four). It appeared that fortune lastly had Lakshmi in good stead. But it wasn’t meant to final.
Like A Phoenix, She Rose From The Ashes
In 2018, the main every day, Hindustan Times, printed a report that detailed how Lakshmi had fallen upon laborious instances. Separated from her live-in accomplice, Alok Dixit, over some variations, she was struggling to make a livelihood and was on the verge of eviction from her residence (four).
Following this, a wave of help on-line and offline got here to her rescue, with the likes of well-known actors, corresponding to Akshay Kumar and different non-public residents coming to her help, with provides of monetary help, and job alternatives (5). This was quickly adopted by the provide of a biopic, on her life, directed by the well-known director, Meghna Gulzar.
Today, she will be seen pursuing her trigger with a renewed vigor, her personal venture “Stop Sale Acid” marketing campaign. One solely has to take a look at her social media profile to see a flurry of posts the place she will be seen actively urging her followers to help her trigger, which additionally gained her the International Women Empowerment Award for 2019, given by IWES, UNICEF, Ministry of Women and Child Development, and the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation. Needless to say, for Lakshmi, image abhi baaki hai (6).
Be it dismissing patriarchal norms, or discovering the energy to offer different victims a voice, Lakshmi has constantly confirmed that she is not any sufferer. And for this timeless spirit of hers, we salute her.
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