Source: Humans of Bombay
“I was a pilot in the Indian Air Force, during the 1965 War against Pakistan and 1971 Bangladesh Liberation. I knew I wanted to be a pilot and serve the country since the age of 5, so I worked towards it and found myself a place in the IAF without an army background.
During the 1965 war, we were a group of 6 army men stuck in a near death situation, and one small manoeuvre saved our lives — but we weren’t happy to be alive, we wanted to press on to win the war for our country. For us, the country has always come first, but these bureaucrats and government officials have made it all a money game.
Just recently, I met a man who was the Army General during our time and because he wasn’t given any pensions on time – he had been reduced to begging. India is the only country who treats its Armed Forces and War Veterans so shabbily – it’s shameful, utterly shameful.
When Prince Charles came to India, before first visiting the Raj Bhavan, he went to the cemetery to pay respects to those who had lost their lives during war — and that’s the kind of respect they deserve. The air you’re breathing today, doesn’t belong to you; it belongs to those who have given up their limbs, their families and their lives for your freedom.
And still, we fight with our brothers because of religion, but to tell you the truth, all these divides are created between us by the bureaucracy.
I started the Institute of Aviation and fought with the chancellor who insisted on having the ‘religion’ column on application forms. I fought against it and made sure that there was only one question asked – Indian or Non-Indian, and that’s how it should be.
I’ve fought wars with my Muslim brothers side by side, and never once questioned differences in our religion, because we’re Indian first. It’s your country before religion, it’s your Nation before the bribes and it’s your duty to raise your voice when they’re wronging our people.”