BHUBANESWAR: In a huge honour to the daredevil aviator and former chief minister Biju Patnaik, whose exploits as a pilot during the country’s freedom struggle and also Indonesia’s fight for independence have become folklore, the iconic Delhi Flying Club has decided to celebrate his birth anniversary on March 5 as the ‘Legendary Indian Pilots Day’ every year.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Monday thanked the club for the recognition. “Today I am delighted that Delhi Flying Club is celebrating the 105th birth anniversary of Biju Babu by dedicating March 5 every year to honour and recognise legendary pilots of India,” he said while addressing a function to mark the occasion through video conference.
Stating that Biju Babu’s tryst with Delhi Flying Club created an epoch in the aviation history of India, Naveen said among many of his dare devil actions in the air, his role in Indonesian freedom movement is the most celebrated. “His heroic act at Srinagar during Pakistan aggression in 1947, his help to Soviet Red Army during the Second World War and his support to leaders like Jay Prakash Narayan and Aruna Asaf Ali by ferrying them to different places during freedom struggle are a few instances of his undaunted spirit,” he said.
Biju Babu is probably the only person who participated in the freedom movement of three countries, India, Indonesia and Russia, Naveen said. The people of Odisha and the country owe to the Delhi Flying Club for his adventures in aviation. “Delhi Flying Club is an iconic flying institution of India from where Biju Babu received his flying license,” he said.
Biju Babu continues to be a great source of inspiration for all of us, Naveen said and added that he always encouraged us to use our potential to stand strong for the weak and disadvantaged in the face of strong adversity. “We will always endeavour to fulfill his dreams, his ambition to recreate the glory of Kalinga,” he said.The Chief Minister thanked BBL Madhukar, president of the Delhi Flying Club for revitalising the memories of Biju Babu as an aviator.