Wagha: The brave son of India, Abhinandan Varthaman is back home. Today, the whole country is not just celebrating his return but also the courage of the officer who kept his dignity and poise even under extreme pressure in the custody of the enemy.
For two days India was praying as one for the release of Abhinandan who was captured and kept in the custody of the Pakistani army.
When Pakistan conducted a failed airstrike targeting Indian military installations, Abhinandan was piloting one of the MiG-21 that was dispatched to intercept the more advanced F-16 fighter jet of the Pakistani strike force.
However, after downing the enemy, Abhinandan’s MiG-21 was hit and he had to parachute out to safety. He fell into enemy hands when he landed on Pakistan Occupied Kashmir.
Reports suggest that he exhibited the highest degree of courage and valour behind enemy lines. He is said to have destroyed sensitive documents and tried to ward off civilians approaching him. He used his pistol to scare the locals away but as a true gentleman officer he did not harm the unarmed locals who tried to capture him.
After the Pakistani army took him into custody a video of his interrogation surfaced over social media that shook the consciousness of India.
Though, every Indian feared for his safety, the officer was seen answering the Pakistani interrogator with poise and dignity without once flinching. He had no trace of fear in his voice or his demeanor. His face was half covered, probably to hide the wounds inflicted upon him on capture.
The Pakistani leadership thought of using the IAF pilot as a bargaining chip with India. However, India’s strong stand and diplomatic maneuverings made Pakistan realize that prolonging the custody of Abhinandan is more of a liability.
Yesterday, when Pakistan Prime Minister was finally forced to declare his decision to release Abhinandan, India cheered as one.
The bravery of Abhinandan Varthaman will be forever etched in the collective memory of India. He has made each of us proud with his show of courage at the hands of the enemy.
India has send a strong message not only to Pakistan but to the whole world. India is one and will be one.
And Abhinandan Varthaman became the face of that unity.