‘Bachao… Bachao’ (help…help!). As soon as the scared screams got closer, it took Nilanjana Chatterjee less than a second to ask her husband, Deep Satpathi, to stop the car in the Anandapur area of South Kolkata.
What followed was a moment of supreme bravery and compassion for another person, culminating in a moment that has sparked pride, joy and praise from across Kolkata and West Bengal.
On 5 September, the duo was returning from a social gathering along with their daughter late in the night when they heard a woman shouting for help from a car parked on the secluded road.
After seeing a woman being pushed out of the car, Nilanjana leapt from her vehicle and ran towards her to help. That’s when the man at the wheel mercilessly ran over the 47-year-old’s leg, and she suffered fractures in the tibia and fibula of her left leg.
Deep immediately called the police, and in no time, an ambulance reached the spot to take her to the hospital.
Meanwhile, the 31-year-old woman who was attacked got a few stitches, and the accused has been taken into custody by the police as per Telegraph.
Impressed by Nilanjana’s brave efforts of risking her life to save another woman, Chief Minister Mamta Banerjee said the state government would cover all of Nilanjana’s medical expenses including the surgery.
Apart from the government, congratulatory messages and prayers have poured in from several citizens in the last few days.
“We were bombarded with calls, and there are many unread messages from strangers praying for my wife’s well-being. Among all those, there was a gentleman called Robin Patra who came to see Nilanjana on a bicycle from Beleghata, (a neighbourhood in Central Kolkata). He was glad that we were able to save a woman’s life. He wished speedy recovery and left the note with me. It was very kind of him,” Deep wrote on his timeline while sharing Robin’s note.
My Mother is a Superwoman
Shreyasi Chatterjee, Nilanjana’s daughter, told The Better India that the braveheart is responding well to the surgery, “She is making good progress and today she walked with the help of a walker. The doctors have said the recovery period is anywhere between 15-18 weeks.”
As a doting daughter, Shreyasi narrates the night when a few minutes after the accident, it all seemed a blur and by the time she could gather what was going on, they were on their way to the hospital.
For the next couple of hours, Deep and Shreyasi were worried sick until the doctors assured them everything would be fine.
“We were scared, but eventually, we were extremely proud of what she had done. To ensure her valiant efforts do not go in vain, we relentlessly spoke to the authorities regarding punishing the accused, and within 72 hours he was arrested,” she says.
Shreyasi further shares how her mother’s upbringing has made her strong.
“She always taught me to be courageous and to never back down in the face of adversities and stand up for what is right. What has happened is unfortunate, but this doesn’t mean we keep thinking about the outcome of our actions.”
Nilanjana’s efforts are not only a reminder to us that incidents of molestations are very much prevalent in society but also a lesson that it takes only a moment of courage to do the right thing. It can go a long way in saving a life.
What about Nilanjana? As her daughter proudly shares, “This is neither the first time she has gone out of her way to help a stranger nor will be her last.”
(Edited by Vinayak Hegde)