Laxmi Agarwal is an acid attack survivor who has braved the odds to emerge stronger and more resilient than ever. Ever since she was 15, she has endured the repercussions for turning down the advances of a 32 year old man.
As devastating as it was, to spring back up and fight against that injustice is an act of might.
The journey of Laxmi’s life will soon unfurl in Meghna Gulzar’s ‘Chhapaak’ set to release on 10th January 2020 and portrayed by Bollywood superstar Deepika Padukone. Deepika has also co-produced the film.
Watch our Movies editor Rummana Ahmed review the trailer of the film, in the video below:
As we eagerly await this special film, here are 10 things about Laxmi that makes her the inspiration that she is.
She found the light at the end of the tunnel
When Laxmi faced the horrific attack, she was initially heartbroken, to an extent that she even contemplated suicide. However, she picked her pieces up and decided to find the light at the end of this tunnel. She became a campaigner to bring about awareness and bust the stigma surrounding victims and became the voice of other victims of acid attack.
Beauty indeed lies in the eyes of the beholder
To have a colourful soul and a zeal for life is what makes her beautiful. Laxmi's attacker intended to ruin her life by taking away her 'beauty'. But time and again Laxmi has proved that physical appearances play a minute role in making someone beautiful.
Her fight against injustice
Not only has Laxmi raised her voice for justice, but she has also made sure that the future of other acid attack survivors is secure. In 2013, she began a petition against easy access to acids and raised about 27,000 signatures. The Supreme Court of India then ordered a regulation in the sale of acids, after which she initiated the ‘Stop Sale Acid’ campaign regulating the sale of acids.
Laxmi has always held her head high
Laxmi has never hesitated to be vocal, loud and clear. Neither has she ever compromised on living her life to the fullest. For her immense courage, she has received the prestigious International Women of Courage Award presented to her by Michelle Obama.
Her belief in calling survivors, fighters and not victims
Laxmi has always believed that a face can never be the only determining factor of one’s identity. For her, it is one’s fervor to achieve dreams, goals and ambitions that forms an identity. For her, acid attacks don't make people victims, but make them fighters who rise from adversity to empower themselves.
She is the Co-founder of Chhanv Foundation
Laxmi’s partner Alok Dixit and her co-founded an NGO called the Chhanv Foundation. She is the former director of this NGO, which continues to rehabilitate, counsel and fight for the rights of acid attack survivors. This organisation also aims to bring to light the brutality of acid violence.
Laxmi is a Ramp Walker
Laxmi walked the ramp at India Runway Week (season 1) for Laxmi Shriali Sood in March 2019. She was a part of the creation that showcased a range titled ‘Revolutionary Goddess’. She confidently walked the ramp as the showstopper in a Moroccan inspired lehenga and got the loudest cheer from the audience.
Laxmi is a mother of a 4-year-old girl
Laxmi’s daughter Pihu was born in 2015. Though initially Laxmi feared that her daughter would be scared of her appearance, Pihu loves her mother endlessly. Pihu does not have a surname because Laxmi did not wish for her daughter to be bound by a family name.
Laxmi has always wanted to be a singer
Fascinated by the glamour of shows like Indian Idol and Sa Re Ga Ma Pa, Laxmi wanted to save up money to join singing classes, although her family was not keen on letting her pursue this field. Instead, she got a diploma in vocational training from the National Institute of Open Schooling in Delhi.
Laxmi is the true embodiment of inspiration for all
Besides being a pillar of strength was thousands of acid attack survivors globally, Laxmi’s resilience and strength is an inspiration to all. She had her own TEDx talk in Jaipur, where she spoke bravely of her struggles and how she battled every challenge thrown her way.
Laxmi has indeed proved that nobody can drag her down.