Saturday, October 24, 2009

Dear Citizens of India,
On September 10, 2009, Flt. Lt. Manu Akhouri took off in his MiG-21 from the Air Force station, Bhisiana in Bathinda district in the afternoon for a routine training sortie. While flying over the village of Bhalaina, his plane developed a technical snag and caught fire, leaving him with the last resort to bail out and save his life.

He didn’t. Eyewitnesses say that the plane was steered away from populated areas by the pilot, saving villagers from the mishap. He then maneuvered his plane towards the fields for a crash landing. He still had time to bail out. At the same time a bus appeared on the Bathinda-Muktsar main road. Apparently to avert accident with the vehicle, the plane was seen to veer away, and Flt. Lt. Akhouri lost his battle with death at last, hitting a tree. The jet was blown to pieces. His body was found in the fields , with the unopened parachute lying beside him.
Flt. Lt. Manu Akhouri was the fifth to lose his life this year in a MiG- 21 mishap. He was one of the most skilled pilots of his batch, and was among the selected fighter pilots of IAF who were sent to UK to receive training for the soon to be acquired Hawk fighter jets.

He was 24 years old, with his whole life lying in front of him. His one decision could turn fate the other way round, and keep his dreams safe.

He chose to die doing his duty.

Mr. Manpreet Singh Badal, Finance Minister, Punjab has requested the Government of India that highest civilian awards like Padma Visbhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shree be conferred posthumously upon Flt. Lt. Akhouri, for showing exemplary courage in saving many lives and public property, and sacrificing his precious life serving the cause of humanity. He has also urged the Chief Minister of Punjab and the Chief secretary Punjab to consider Flt. Lt. Akhouri for State and other gallantry awards.

The indebted villagers of Bhalaina have decided to rename the school in their village after Flt. Lt. Manu Akhouri. There is a bus stand called Shaheed Manu Akhouri bus stand.

It is not certain whether he would get this award or not.. it is possible that like hundreds of other unsung heroes, his final act is forgotten with time. And the frequency with which the news of MiG-21 crashes appears, there is a great possibility that he turns into a mere number on the list.

This is what we can change. We should come together to honor the courage of a young boy, who put his duty first and died saving the lives of his fellow countrymen. Mr. Badal has made a sincere request to the Govt. of India to honor Flt. Lt. Akhouri, and with the example he has set, he is bound to get what he deserves. But what is more important is that he should be known among the people of his country as a martyr, not as just another curve in the statistics. He should be remembered by the masses as the hero who had the right values inculcated in him by his worthy parents, which led him to do what he did for his country. Be it wartime or peace, the true duty of a soldier is to defend his countrymen. And having done just that, Manu Akhouri deserves every bit of respect as deserved by bravehearts who make supreme sacrifices in the battlefield.

If you, as responsible citizens of this country, feel that you owe something to Flt. Lt. Manu Akhouri and many other bravehearts like him , please contribute just half a minute of your time to pay tribute to him.

Kindly leave a comment, supporting our cause, that Manu Akhouri must be honored for his valor. The more positive responses we get, the stronger becomes the belief that we are the ones who shall decide who our real heroes are. Please forward the link to this blog to as many people , and make the issue known to as many people as possible.

Related Links:

MiG-21 crash kills pilot

MiG-21 crashes, kills young pilot

IAF begins probe in MiG-21 crash

Flying Lt. Manu Akhauri needs to be suitably honored

Orkut Users can pay tribute to Flt. Lt. Akhouri on his orkut profile :

NEW : dated 27.10.2009

Dear friends, it has been heart warming to see your response to this small effort. We started with a hope to involve people who could raise a voice for the young man in whose name we speak.

We have no big connections, no special friends in the bureaucratic system. We only rely on the support of our people, our fellow Indians.

We extend an appeal to you to register your support (make a comment) at least once on the blog with your name, and the place you are from (if possible). We also ask for your help in this cause. Please let the issue be known among your friends, your social circle, your aquaintances or even strangers who care to listen..

We need your advice on this campaign, how to take it to the next level.. Please give your ideas and suggestions regarding the promotion of this cause.

This blog belongs to everyone of you- you are the owners and responsible keepers of this blog, because you are helping it grow. Every comment counts as a vote, Please spread the word.

Updated: 28.10.2009

we found some links related to the Mig-21 issue:

IAF claims reduction in Mig-21 accident rate

MiG-21 replacement likely to stay on tarmac

Old MiG-21 phaseout hit by fighter jet shortage

A 2002 article about MiG crashes-
MiG Accidents - Causes and Remedies