The incredible journey of Sonali – an acid attack victim regains her life and finds love

By Sai
March 7, 2017Stories
The incredible journey of Sonali – an acid attack victim regains her life and finds love

Warning: This article contains graphic images which may disturb sensitive viewers

A girls face is her fortune, so they say. This lovely fresh faced teen suffered the most terrible fate imaginable.  Driven by jealousy and hatred, thugs planned a horrific act of revenge that would change their victim’s life forever.

Student Sonali Mukherjee, was bright, beautiful and successful. At 17 she was elected President of her University Student Union and was studying for a PhD in Sociology. Her future ahead looked sunny and she was full of hope for the future.

Then, the unimaginable happened—everything she had worked towards, was destroyed in a matter of minutes.

One night, while Sonali was alone at home, sleeping, she was attacked.   Three men had broken in. Miss Mukherjee recognized them as the men who often harassed her on her way to school.  She had rejected their advances. A complaint was made to the parents of the boys and to the school. While she was fighting them off, she suddenly felt as though a bucket of fire had been thrown onto her face, “there was a horrible burning feeling,” Sonali said. Sonali said she could no longer see, then, she could no longer hear. The pain so was so intense that she became unconscious. Sonali was a victim of an acid attack, also called a vitriol attack.

When Sonali regained consciousness, she was in hospital. The doctors were at a loss at first. She had no skin on her face. She had no ears, or eyelids. The challenge was to reconstruct her face, and try and give her a new face.

Sonali could not see, or move, or eat. She had been the victim of an acid attack.

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For months Sonali suffered the most agonising pain. It was a like a night terror from which she could not escape.

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Over a period of 10 years, Sonali would undergo 27 facial reconstructive surgeries. Her father lost everything, even selling the family home to pay legal fees to have the criminals brought to justice. The money was also needed to pay for the cost of his daughter’s surgeries.

The criminals who committed the atrocities were sentenced to 9 years and got off after serving 2 years of their prison sentence. It was so shocking to Sonali that she appealed the decision.

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Sonali’s body and soul were broken, and she appealed to the Indian government to allow euthanasia. Then, miraculously, her pure Indian spirit broke through all of her pain.  She got up and made the choice to live and fight for her right to life.  She would not let what happened to her destroy her soul. She went on a TV Show and proceeded to show India and the world what happens to acid attack victims. Sonali then participated in India’s popular TV program “Who wants to be a millionaire,” and won $40,000 in prize money.

Image result for Sonali Mukherjee

Thousands of people reached out to her and sent donations to help with her pursuit of justice.

Sonali was able to pay for her surgeries.  One day, a young man heard about Sonali and her brave spirit. He really wanted to meet this incredible lady. His name is Chittaranjan Tiwari. They met and before long they were hopelessly in love with each other. They married, and are now the proud parents of a stunningly beautiful baby. They named her Pari, meaning “face of an angel.”



Chittaranjan and Sonali are making a home and raising their ‘angel.’ As the young mom says, “I feel complete. This is the best feeling, after all those years of pain and desperation, I have been rewarded for all the pain I endured.”

In spite of the barbaric acts by the three men, Sonali’s amazing spirit has triumphed against all odds. India’s laws have become much harsher towards acid attacks, hoping they will cease. Anyone suffering from these kinds of attacks now receive all the financial compensation and moral support they need from the government. Through Sonali’s tireless and brave work, we hope other young girls will not have to face this terror and pain that she experienced.

Acid attacks happen all over the world, they aim to maim, torture or kill the victim. Even during 2017, there have already been reports of vitriol attacks.

Sonali is the living embodiment of the gracious spirit of her country, India. She is truly like the national sacred water animal of India, the beautiful river dolphin.

Watch Sonali’s whole story here:

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