Author: Sunil Kumar Banerjee

Musings on Martyrdom: Ibaadat sey Shahdat!

Reading Time: 7 minutesThe Cellular Jail, in Port Blair, completed in 1906, is a National Memorial and a place of pilgrimage for all freedom loving people. Many today would be proud to know that it was in these infamous “cells” great sons of India preferred to perish unknown and unsung, to court a ghastlier form of slow death in fighting for […]

Udta Punjab: Rising like a Phoenix from its Fractured Past!

Reading Time: 9 minutesPunjab had won it’s its statehood some years after India’s Independence but this had not entirely satisfied the Sikh majority. The Green Revolution of the sixties had given the Jat Sikhs and the landowners the first taste of rapid growth and modernisation. A small but important section had climbed up the social ladder and soon spread out to Europe, USA, […]

Akashganga: They also Serve, who Just Stand and Wait – XV

Reading Time: 7 minutesBehind the risk of life and limb stood the woman by his man. Running from sick quarters to banks and schools, buying groceries riding cycles or by walk, receiving and seeing off loved relatives all by themselves, while her loved man was away is a quality taken for granted and an unwritten part of the wife’s job description. […]

Akashganga: Daffodils in the Sky and Butterflies in the Belly – XIV

Reading Time: 7 minutesAkashganga never had it so good. Enthused and awed by the sense of spectacle, for the first time in the history of the Air Force, a full load of 37 skydivers in spanking new and fancy dungarees jumped to join an assembled parade contingent on ground consisting of nine Squadrons of three flights each of about a thousand […]

Akashganga: Trails of Stardust and Swirling Black Holes – XIII

Reading Time: 7 minutesMembers of Akashganga moved on to multi-tasking and become a lean mean fighting machine. Sport and military parachuting complemented each other. But, behind all of these unique achievements paradoxically, an equally important conflict raged on. The ‘sporty’ blitzkrieg led by the imaginative daring of Thapar, a veritable ‘one-man- Army’ from the House of Adventure was a frontal, daylight assault […]

Akashganga: The Old Maketh way for the New- XII

Reading Time: 6 minutesThe Adventure Foundation had no skydiving equipment like parachutes, riggers, trainers or a training infrastructure. The shrewd Thapar used his niche knowledge to influence the unscrupulous but powerful Dolly Yadav. The latter used his connections and prevailed upon the Operational Headquarters (Transport& Maritime) at Delhi to compel CI PTS to share its invaluable resources of select Dhartiputras (PJI’s), parachutes […]

Akashganga: The D-Day and Lift-off – XI

Reading Time: 6 minutesThe An-32 got airborne with 37 Dhartiputras on board for the inaugural jump of Akashganga. Chugh was the Devaputra, who did the honours in getting this fortunate bunch aloft over Malpura Dropping Zone, Agra, at a speed of about 220kms per hour to a height varying from 1250 ft. ground level to 6000 ft. to spray the rather […]

Akashganga: A new Star in the Galaxy – X

Reading Time: 6 minutesGomes worked silently to convert into reality the ambitions and aspirations of the illustrious predecessors – to make an Air force Skydiving Display Team. The go-ahead strangely came from the fledgling Air Force Adventure Foundation. Ten names befitting for the proposed team were asked for. Indradhanush, Meghdoot, Rainbows, Dhoomketu, Dancing Butterflies, Ashwamegh were some of the ones. Banjo […]

Akashganga: The Unsung Backroom Jumping Jacks – IX

Reading Time: 7 minutesInto the melting pot of trial and tribulations at ADR&DE the baby-faced but stylish, dexterous and skillful Ajoo, our very own whiz kid brought his medicine chest of magazines and manuals, of rigging lines, fabric pieces, to repair and restore the bruise and boils of the hurt canopies. There was no formal training or education in the […]

Akashganga: From Rounds to Squares, a Mann-Date! – VIII

Reading Time: 6 minutesAfter the solid cloth round canopies had been modified with low porosity, turn and drive slots, an apex with additional steering lines for better stability and forward drive in the sixties came the ‘parawing’ parachute designed for maximum lift as opposed to maximum drag. This device was primarily used in sport parachuting during the 1970s. The parawing was […]