Abhinandan is a Hindi word which means “welcome” in English. It also means salutation or congratulations. In India, many Hindu people also have their names as Abhinandan. The word became very famous recently on February 27, 2019, following a dogfight between the two air forces of Pakistan and India in which an Indian IAF Wing Commander Abhinandhan Varthaman who was arrested by Pakistan while he ejected from the MiG-21 fighter which came under the attack when it entered Pakistan territory. Indian government claimed that Abhinandan had destroyed Pakistani F-16 fighter which had entered Indian territory to strike in response to Indian airstrike in Pakistan on JeM camps. F-16 is a very advanced fighter and it is claimed that Abhinandan destroyed the fighter by using comparatively a less advanced fighter MIG-21. Abhinandan became famous also because it came to news in India that he destroyed all the evidence before he got arrested and when Pakistani army sought some sensitive information from him he boldly refused to tell them anything. Abhinandan was instantly released by Pakistan to respect Geneva Convention and to dampen the heightened war-situation between the two countries.
Subsequent to his release Indian prime minister Narendra Modi said in an apparent reference to IAF Wing Commander Abhinandhan that India has the power to change the meaning of words and the word Abhinandan would now mean something else to the world.
“The world takes note of what India does … India has the strength to change the meaning of words in the dictionary.” Modi said at a housing ministry event in Delhi.
“Abhinandan once used to mean welcome. And now the meaning of Abhinandan will change,” he said
Abhinandhan turned overnight fade for many young people in India. His gunslinger moustache became a sign of bravery and courage among many young people. Even some women posed with the do on social media. Several men’s salons offered discounts for customers emulating his moustaches. His calm and composed face became craze everywhere. Many newborn babies were named after his name.
He became pilot of focus after Pakistan carried out an airstrike on 27 February 2019 and claimed to have captured a pilot.
Pakistani interior ministry also released a video of the pilot but soon deleted it.
India claimed that its air force pilot was missing in action but did not reveal his identity.
Indian officials advised Pakistan to ensure their pilot’s immediate return.
It was made clear that Pakistan would be well advised to ensure that no harm comes to Indian defence personnel in its custody.
India also expects his safe and instant return.
A day after Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan said Abhinandhan will be released.