Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha, on June 24 proposed in the lower house that handlebar moustache of the brave Indian Air Force (AIF) Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman should be made 'national moustache'. Chowdhury also demanded that the IAF braveheart should be awarded for shooting down Pakistani F-16 fighter jet seconds before his plane was hit.
Earlier, his beard style became the talk of the town after his return from captivity in Pakistan. Youths wanted to sport the 'Abhinandan style' on their faces in a nod to the IAF pilot's emulable bravery and courage.
A day after Balakot airstrikes, on February 27, Varthaman, flying a MiG-21 Bison, was chasing Pakistani F-16 fighters which had transgressed into the Indian airspace, and in the process, his plane crossed over to the Pakistani side and was shot down. He ejected safely but was taken into custody by the Pakistan Army upon landing. Before his plane was shot, he had hit a Pakistani F-16.
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan had announced the release of Varthaman, calling it a "peace gesture". He was handed over to the Indian authorities through the Wagah-Attari border at around 9:20 pm on March 1.
After the Commander's returned to India, his swashbuckling gunslinger moustache and equally suave hairstyle have become the new fad among men across the country. A hair cutting saloon in Bengaluru had started giving free Wing Commander Abhinandan like moustaches and hairstyle to its customer.
(With ANI inputs)