(Last Updated on : 17-05-2014)
Marshal of the Indian Air Force Arjan Singh had come out with flying colours no matter what life gave him; most of the time it gave him a good break. He effortlessly transcended stereotypes. This teetotaller gung-ho fighter was not only a committed soldier, but also a diplomat. He was out-and-out wedded to his profession, in the meantime also devoted to his family. During Arjan Singh's service in the IAF (Indian Air Force
), he had landed on 178 airfields and had flown 65 kinds of aircrafts and helicopters, the last one being a MiG 21. Even as Singh had soared in stature and rank, he was legendary for keeping his feet on the ground. Arjan Singh's competence and leadership have been emphasised by his warmth and a genuine interest in his fellow beings.
The person behind the persona underlines the legend. This truly personifies Arjan Singh, the Marshal of Indian Air Force, when his solo flying career is concerned. The officer's sublime determination and daunting spirit had made everybody notice him both during pre-independence and post times. Singh had fought three major wars during his tenure with the Air Force and built the Indian Air Force virtually from scratch. He then went on to diplomatic assignments to Switzerland, the Vatican and Kenya; Arjan Singh was a Member of the Minorities Commission and also served as the Lieutenant-Governor of Delhi. A multifaceted personality, this distinguished public sendee was remarkably balanced with his family life. As he recollects - "I have always been a family man-no matter how busy I have been, I have always managed to take time out for my family."
Early Life of Arjan Singh, DFC Marshal, Indian Air Force Marshal
: Early life of Arjan Singh was spent in happiness, never once worrying about being in poverty or lack in daily cash. His parents and grandfather resided in Kohali village in Lyallpur, now in Pakistan. His father had travelled abroad for further studies, during which Singh grew quite fond of his grandfather. Arjan Singh had received decent education for those times, attending both senior school and college. He was a perfect athlete in college and was from a tender age strangely attracted towards the sky to fly a plane. His dream had already started to come true, when he was chosen to be a part of a training course in Cranwell, England. From there, Singh's early life took on a dramatic turn, after which there had been no looking back for him to become an officer in British Indian Air Force.
Role Of Arjan Singh in British Indian Air Force, Indian Air Force Marshal
: It was during this period with the British Indian Air Force that Arjan Singh had taken his flying career to escalading heights, rising above everybody to prove his mettle. This was time of the imminent attack of China and Japan upon India, with Second World War looming in the distance. British forces had taken in several competent pilots to assist in times of turbulence, in which Arjan Singh was of immense help in places like Imphal, NWFP or even while fighting the Pathans from hiding. Ambala Air Force Base
was the only area from where Singh and his men could operate their plans, within which the extremely gifted man was promoted to much higher ranks, commanding a squadron. Significantly, Arjan Singh's role in British Indian Air Force had earned him the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC).
Role Of Arjan Singh in Indian Air Force, Indian Air Force Marshal
: Arjan Singh was announced the individual and group Captain in the freed Indian Air Force, commanding a separate wing, with a plush office in New Delhi. He had by this time, already been declared Wing Commander, making Singh's role even more substantial. After his marriage to Teji Singh, events took a dramatic turn, where Arjan Singh found himself promoted again to the rank of Air vice-Marshal, and dealing with the legendary and notorious war with China and Pakistan in the years of 1962-65. Several hardships and tricky situations had to be dealt with, including political interference. The issue of Jammu and Kashmir also had to be dealt with, which was partially perhaps cleared due to the only vital role of Arjan Singh.
Diplomatic Missions by Arjan Singh, Indian Air Force Marshal
: Arjan Singh had accomplished much in his extensive career in Indian Air Force, after which he had planned to retire. As a result, he was decided upon by the government to send this gifted man to diplomatic missions to several countries, which later turned out to be hugely successful. As a starter, Arjain Singh was appointed Ambassador of Switzerland, which was followed by serving as Ambassador to Vatican City. Later on, Singh was sent to even further countries to establish strengthened ties in diplomacy, where Singh was appointed High Commissioner to Kenya, which went on for a prolonged period of time. After serving as High Commissioner to Seychelles, Arjan Singh returned to India, to work with the Indian administration, where he was yet again chose to lead several prestigious positions in various grounds.
Coronation of Arjan Singh, Indian Air Force Marshal
: Arjan Singh had by the time of his coronation as the historic Marshal in IAF, had reached a prime position in life, where he had almost achieved everything. The year was 2002, the place being Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi. Several illustrious ex-armymen, political powers and other dignitaries had gathered together to felicitate this man, hidden with many wonders. The coronation was a time to reminisce, which was aptly described by the then President of India, K.R. Narayanan. Rashtrapati Bhavan had taken on a completely altered appearance, where Arjan Singh was the man to be talked about. Looking regal in his gentleman's dress, accompanied by his family, he finally took the steps majestically to receive the ultimate honour ever been presented to any Indian in the Air Force.