Viral sensation, Indian Air Force (IAF) pilot Abhinandan Varthaman, is back in the headlines after the leader of the Indian National Congress called for his facial hair to be declared the ‘national mustache.’
“Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman should be awarded and his mustache should be made ‘national mustache,’” Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, leader of the Indian National Congress in the Lok Sabha (India’s parliament), said Monday.
Many online were quick to deride the outlandish comments. “National Mustache?? What else next – National Beard? BTW Why Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury himself not sporting the Abhinandan mustache??” wrote one perplexed Twitter user, with many in agreement, with one user adding that it’s not even the most absurd thing they’ve seen in the Indian parliament. Even Omar Abdullah, a former MP took to Twitter to make a comment on the suggestion.
The Congress wants India to have a ‘national moustache’. I look forward to seeing all my friends in the Congress sporting Abhinandan ‘taches 😀 https://t.co/XCg38R6IsR
— Omar Abdullah (@OmarAbdullah) June 24, 2019
Chowdhury argued that Varthaman should receive national honors for allegedly shooting down a Pakistani F-16 fighter jet during a dogfight in the skies above the border region between the two rival countries in February, just moments before his own aircraft, a MiG-21 Bison, was downed and he was captured by the Pakistani military.
Abhinandan’s capture heightened tensions between the neighboring countries, with many analysts expressing fears that war might be imminent. The claim of shooting down an F-16 was vehemently denied by officials in Pakistan, multiple international publications have agreed with Pakistan’s version.
He was released as a “gesture of peace” by Pakistan on March 1 and received a hero’s welcome back in his native India and quickly becoming a viral phenomenon thanks, in part, to his distinctive mustache.
Interest in Varthaman was renewed recently when an advertisement aired on Pakistani television appearing to mock the pilot, ahead of the bitter rivals’ cricket world cup match.
RT with additional input from GVS News desk