New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday paid rich tribute to Group Captain Varun Singh in his last ‘Mann ki Baat’ of the year, sharing a letter the IAF pilot wrote to his school to inspire children who tend to think they are “mediocre”.
Grp Capt Singh, who had been awarded the Shaurya Chakra, was the sole survivor of the helicopter crash in Tamil Nadu that killed Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat, his wife and 11 other defence personnel. The officer, who suffered severe burns, later died in hospital.
“While Varun was in hospital, I saw something on social media that touched my heart… he had written a letter to his school principal. After reading that letter, my first thought was, he did not forget his roots despite touching the heights of success. And, when it was time to celebrate, he wanted to celebrate with the children from his school,” Modi said.
In his letter, Grp Capt Singh wrote: “It is ok to be mediocre. Not everyone will excel at school and not everyone will be able to score in the 90s. If you do, it is an amazing achievement and must be applauded.”
“I was a very average student who barely scored 1st division in Class 12. I was equally average in sports and other co-curricular activities. But I had a passion for airplanes and aviation…,” the officer wrote.
“… I always thought I was meant to be average and there was no point in trying to excel. (But) after commissioning as a young Flight Lieutenant in a fighter squadron, I realised I could do well if I put my mind and heart to it…” he wrote.
Paying him tribute, Modi tweeted, “Group Captain Varun Singh served the nation with pride, valour and utmost professionalism. I am extremely anguished by his passing away. His rich service to the nation will never be forgotten. Condolences to his family and friends. Om Shanti.”