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Sonali Mukherjee, India Acid Attack Victim, Wins 'Who Wants To Be A Millionaire' (PHOTOS)

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SONALI MUKHERJEE
In a picture taken on December 6, 2012, Indian acid attack survivor Sonali Mukherjee adjusts her headscarf in New Delhi. (SAJJAD HUSSAIN/AFP/Getty Images) | Getty Images

Money doesn't solve all of life's problems, but for the victim of a horrific acid attack, the top prize on "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire" may help her find some peace of mind.

Sonali Mukherjee, 27, was permanently scarred nine years ago when three fellow students in the town of Dhanbad broke into her room as she slept and poured acid on her face, according to ABC News. The attack was meant as revenge for Mukherjee spurning the students' advances, and left her blind and partially deaf.

"I felt hopeless and helpless," Mukherjee told ABCNews.com. "I didn't want to live anymore. The conditions for my treatment were very difficult."

The horrific attack took not only a physical toll on Mukherjee, but a financial one on her family as well. To fund the 22 surgeries the young woman has already endured, Mukherjee's family sold its land and her mother's jewelry before running out of money to fund her treatment, the Daily Mail reports.

According to the South China Morning Post, Mukherjee appealed to the Indian government for funding to repair the damage, or for the right for doctors to kill her, as euthanasia remains illegal in India.

But as media attention and support surrounding Mukherjee's public appeals grew, producers of "Kaun Banega Crorepati," the Indian version of "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire," invited the young woman to compete on the show. The show previously drew notoriety as the centerpiece of the 2008 film "Slumdog Millionaire."

Not only did Mukherjee appear on the show -- she answered 10 questions correctly and took home a prize of 2.5 million rupees, or $45,000, Agence France Presse reports.

"Once everything else had failed, I decided to use my face," Mukherjee told AFP. "If you can stare at a picture of a pretty woman then you can look at my burnt face too."

According to the Daily Mail, Sonali's appearance on the game show was part of a one-off event called Doosra Mauka, or Second Chance, that featured contestants who showed courage in the face of adversity.

Mukherjee will spend her winnings on further surgery, the Times of India reports, though her plans aren't merely cosmetic.

"I've had 22 operations and nine more are remaining, so that at least my eyes and ears are functional," Mukherjee told the newspaper. "If I recover, I want to help people like me."

"It's very easy for victims of acid attacks to swallow poison but I made the choice to stand up and scream and shout against the violence," Mukherjee told AFP.

Also on The Huffington Post

Acid Victim Sonali Mukherjee
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