Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Squadron Leader Ajjamada B. Devaiah - Remembering a war hero

Squadron Leader Ajjamada Bopaiah Devaiah was born on 24 Dec 1932.

He was the only one among the members of the strike force who did not return to base in India after carrying out the task of attacking the Sargodha Airfield in Pakistan on September 7, 1965 .In a book titled “Battle for Pakistan” written by English journalist John Fricker, an episode narrated by the then Flight Lieutenant Amjad Hussain of Pakistan had aroused everybody’s interest in the happenings. After a series of careful research efforts and a number of interviews with the pilots who had flown other aircraft then, it was conclusively proved that the Indian pilot was none other than Sq. Ldr. A.B. Devaiah.

Going by the account of Flt. Lt. Amjad Hussain in the book, Devaiah was piloting a Dassault Mystere aircraft which was intercepted by a supersonic F104 star fighter piloted by him. Flt. Lt. Hussain fired air-to-air Sidewinder missiles at Devaiah’s aircraft, which was successfully evaded by the latter. The superior F104 aircraft again rapidly closed in on the Mystere and fired repeatedly at it, damaging Devaiah’s aircraft.

Undaunted at this, Sq. Ldr. Devaiah flew his damaged aircraft in pursuit of the F104 and shot down the Pakistani aircraft, but Flt. Lt. Hussain had managed to eject.

It was later conjectured that Sq. Ldr. Devaiah, who was unable to maintain control over his aircraft, was killed in an unsuccessful low-level ejection or in a crash because of the damage his aircraft had suffered.

Only after the book of the British author was published, the India came to know the bravery of the pilot from Kodagu who was conferred the Maha Vira Chakra posthumously during the Republic Day and the award was received from the President of India by Sundari Devaiah

Sundari, wife of late A.B. Devaiah, lighting the lamp at the private bus-stand in Madikeri on September 7, 2009

The private bus-stand circle in Madikeri was named after the war hero on September 7, 2009 . Squadron Leader Ajjamada B. Devaiah’s wife Sundari and her daughters were witness to the honor bestowed upon her husband by the Madikeri City Municipal Council (CMC). The circle was named Squadron Leader Ajjamada B. Devaiah Circle.

:-) Thanks to Nobel Aiyappa for emailing the details.

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