NEW DELHI: As Indian Air Force Group Captain Abhinandan Varthaman was conferred with the Vir Chakra in a ceremony at the Rashtrapati Bhawan on Monday, netizens took a trip down memory lane recalling the officer’s iconic swashbuckling gun-slinger moustache that had become a sensation during early 2019.
People took to social media to congratulate the war hero who shot down a PAF F-16 fighter aircraft during a dogfight in February earlier this year, but they also expressed disappointment at not being able to see the famed handlebar moustache, which had left everyone awestruck. “I miss his moustache #abhinandan,” one user tweeted.
“The new Abhinandan Varthaman: Handlebar moustache is walrus now, Blue-collar tabs and Vir Chakra suffix,” another Twitter user remarked on the IAF ace pilot’s now thick and drooping moustache.
“Heartiest congratulations Wing Commander Abhinandan on the award of Veer Chakra. You deserved it. The country is proud of you. We would have loved to see you in your moustaches,” another user wrote on the micro-blogging site.
Abhinandan Varthaman shot down a Pakistani F-16 fighter aircraft during aerial combat on February 27, 2019 a day after the Balakot airstrike.
After that some salons had offered customers who wanted to sport similar signature moustache styles, free cuts. A lot of people began sporting the IAF hero’s look and it became a rage across the country.
Even Congress leader in the Lok Sabha, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury had then proposed in the Lower House of Parliament that the moustache of Abhinandan should be given the status of “national moustache”.
During Pakistan’s counter-attack on India on February 27 in response to the Balakot airstrike, Abhinandan had flown a MiG-21 Bison fighter into Pakistan-administered Kashmir (PAK).
The pilot was capturd by Pakistan troops after he ejected from his MiG-21 that had been shot down in the aerial conflict with Pakistan Air Force F-16s.
He was released by the Pakistan government on March 1 after extensive pressure was put on their Army.
Abhinandan Varthaman was a short while later seen flying a sortie with the then IAF chief BS Dhanoa in which he sported a trimmed moustache. Since then he has not been seen with a similar spectacular stache, netizens often dig up old photos to express their love for the iconic look. (ANI)
Shaurya Chakra on Lance Naik Sandeep Singh
President Ram Nath Kovind conferred Shaurya Chakra (posthumously) on Lance Naik Sandeep Singh of 4 Para (Special Forces) for killing one foreign terrorist and injuring two others in an operation in Jammu and Kashmir in 2018.
His wife Gurpreet Kaur received the award. President Ram Nath Kovind, who is the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, conferred two Kirti Chakras, including one posthumous, one Vir Chakra and 10 Shaurya Chakras, including two posthumous, to the personnel of Armed Forces and Paramilitary Forces during Defence Investiture Ceremony (Phase-1) at Rashtrapati Bhawan, New Delhi in the morning of November 22, 2021.
The Gallantry awards were given to the personnel for displaying conspicuous gallantry, indomitable courage and extreme devotion to duty.
Ministry of Defence, in a press release, informed today that the President also conferred 13 Param Vishisht Seva Medals, two Uttam Yudh Seva Medals and 24 Ati Vishisht Seva Medals for distinguished service of an exceptional order. (ANI)