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Chhapaak, the upcoming movie of Deepika Padukone is based on the life struggles of Laxmi Agarwal, the acid attack survivor. However, Laxmi Agarwal needs no introduction as she is the face of the 'Stop Sale Acid Campaign'. Her disfigured face after the acid attack didn't shake her strong determination, and eventually, she chose to raise her voice against the injustice. Read on the article to know more about Laxmi Agarwal, the brave woman who is fighting against acid attacks.
Laxmi Agarwal was born on 1 June 1990 in a middle-class family in Delhi. As a teenage girl, Laxmi wanted to pursue singing but her family members advised her to look for some other career options. She was barely 15 when she was attacked by acid after she declined the marriage proposal of a 32-years-old man in 2005.
Laxmi says that the guy was the brother of her friend. It was in an episode of Ted Talk when Laxmi Agarwal said, "I was attacked in Khan market (a local place in New Delhi). A girl and the guy who was stalking me for months and eventually, approached me for marriage pushed me on the ground and threw acid on my face. Due to the burning sensation and pain, I fainted at the moment."
She also said that the onlookers were quite eagerly waiting for 'what will happen next' but didn't extended their helping hand. However, one man came and poured water on her face and rushed to a nearby hospital.
"As soon as I was brought to the hospital, 20 buckets of water were thrown at my face. The moment my father came and I hugged him, I saw his shirt burning due to the acid's effect," she described her condition after the attack.
Also read: 5 Acid Attack Victims Who Are Amazing
Laxmi Agarwal's Struggle After The Attack
According to Laxmi, it was quite painful for her to accept her new face as it seemed disfigured to her. She said, "I wanted to commit suicide as I didn't want to live anymore." However, after realising the pain and grief of her parents and other family members would go through after her demise, she chose to live.
It was in 2012 when her brother fell ill and doctors told that he won't be able to live. Hearing this, her father suffered a heart attack and he passed away. This was the most difficult time for Laxmi as her father was the breadwinner of the family. She went in search of a job but nobody agreed to keep her as an employee.
Laxmi Agarwal As An Acid Attack Survivor And Activist
It was in the year 2006 when she had filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in which she asked for forming a stricter law, making amendments in the existing law and requested for imposing a ban on the sale of acid. After eight years of relentless fight, in the year 2013, the Supreme Court has passed a law that restricted the sale and purchase of acid.
Laxmi joined the Stop Acid Attack Campaign and helped those who were attacked in the same manner. Today Laxmi leads her own campaign StopSaleAcid which is intended for bringing awareness about acid attacks and the sale of acid. She is currently working as a host on Udaan, a television show which airs on New Express.
In the year 2014 she received International Woman of Courage Award from Michelle Obama, the then First Lady of the US. She also received the International Women Empowerment Award 2019 from UNICEF, Ministry of Women and Child Development and Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation.
According to Laxmi Agarwal, external beauty doesn't matter, and it is the nature and perspective of a person that matters the most. She says, "Usne mere chehre pe acid dala hai, mere sapno pe nahi (He threw acid on my face, not on my dreams)."
In the movie Chhapak, Deepika is playing the character of Laxmi Agarwal and we are eagerly waiting for it.
Over the years, Laxmi Agarwal has emerged as a source of inspiration for many other acid attack survivors. We salute such a powerful woman who didn't give up and is leading her life like a true fighter.
Disclaimer: All images have been taken from Laxmi Agarwal's Instagram.