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Posted at: Mar 22, 2015, 12:26 AM; last updated: Mar 21, 2015, 10:45 PM (IST)

Bringing alive martyrs’ lives through sculptures

Bringing alive martyrs’ lives through sculptures

Artist Manjit Singh gives final touches to a statue of Neerja Bhanot. A Tribune photograph

Gurdeep Singh Mann

Tribune News Service

Bathinda, March 21

To draw attention towards the sacrifices made by unsung heroes, a Moga-based artist, Manjit Singh, has begun preparing their life-size statues.

The most recent statuette is of the youngest recipient of India’s civilian award for bravery, Neerja Bhanot.

“Listening to my heart, I left my government job to completely dedicate my time to the purpose,” said Manjeet Singh.

“The sole purpose of making these sculptures is to inspire the youth and to make them aware of the role played by martyrs,” he said.

While interacting with young children in Bathinda, Manjit announced to showcase his work at his village Gill-Kalan in Moga. The endurance of the carbon fibre used in the work is more than 150 years old.

When asked how the idea of making the statue of Neerja Bhanot struck him, he replied: “I read about her a long time ago and failed to find even a single memorabilia anywhere, including Chandigarh where she was born,” he said.

The daughter of a Mumbai-based journalist, Neerja, played a crucial role in saving the lives of many passengers when the Pan Am flight-73 was hijacked on September 5, 1986. She was the senior flight purser on the ill-fated flight.

“She not only clandestinely informed about emergency doors to the passengers but also hid a large number of them,” Manjeet said.

He added that Neerja could have escaped easily but she chose to save the lives of three children and guarded them from the volley of bullets that hit her.

The sculptor said the statue would be installed at the Shaheed Park in Moga where such sculptures have already been installed.

Manjeet said he was working on a project to show the sacrifice by the Sikhs during the Saka Panja Sahib in 1922.

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