Wing Comander of the Indian Air Force Abhinandan Varthaman who has returned to a hero’s welcome upon his release from Pakistan’s custody after being taken prisoner, has been inspired as much by his father Air Marshal Varathman as his mother Dr Shoba Varathaman, who worked the world over in many conflict zones as part of Medecins Sans Frontier (Doctors without border).
Deccan Chronicle, quoting Captain Tarun Kumar Singha, a retired IAF fighter pilot, says Dr Shoba, a graduate of the Madras Medical College and masters in anaesthesiology from the Royal College of Surgeons, England, has served in, Iraq, Haiti, Laos, Liberia, Nigeria and other strife-torn countries.
As a volunteer of the MSF, she served as medical director on the Iran-Iraq war during the 11-year war and was witness to the raw courage of the Iranian youths who lost their lives in the land mines but who were willing to accept that common Iraqis were also affected like them . by the decisions of leaders of the two countries.
She had treated victims of rape and the consequent infection of HIV in Papua New Guinea” Her stay in Papua New Guinea gave her an opportunity to know tribals who still wore grass skirts, had feathered hats and carried a scabbard and chopped people for pigs and women”, writes Captain Tarun.
Her next exploration mission was Laos where she travelled 1,800 km in a four-wheel drive to areas where there were no roads and no healthcare.
Says Captain Tarun:” Abhi’s mother always perfectly played the role of a wife. She once turned down an offer to train anaesthetists in Trinidad and Tobago with the UN because she felt her obligation as wife of a senior IAF officer on a diplomatic mission in Paris was important”.
Air Marshal Singhakutti Varathaman was involved in the upgradation of the Mirage fighter jets after the Kargil war.
When the Varathaman couple boarded the flight from Chennai on Friday to Delhi to receive Abhinandan, all passengers stood up as a show of respect to them.