Bhubaneswar, Mar 15 (PTI) Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Monday thanked the Delhi Flying Club Limited for dedicating March 5, the birthday of his father and an ace pilot Biju Patnaik, as Legendary Indian Pilots Day.
'I thank (Delhi Flying Club president) Dr B B L Madhukar for revitalizing the memories of Biju Babu as an aviator,' Patnaik said in a statement.
Among many daredevil acts of Biju Patnaik in the air, his role in the Indonesian freedom movement is the most celebrated, the chief minister said.
Biju Patnaik, who would later become a chief minister of Odisha, had flown a Dakota plane to Java and rescued Sultan Sjahrir, the erstwhile prime minister of Indonesia, from a jungle hideout in 1947.
He had done this on the instructions of the then prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru, who viewed the freedom struggle of Indonesia from the Dutch colonial powers as parallel to that of India and viewed that country as a potential ally.
Biju Patnaik's heroic act in Srinagar during the Pakistani aggression in 1947, his help to the Soviet Red Army during the Second World War and his support to leaders like Jayprakash Narayan and Aruna Asaf Ali by ferrying them to various places during the freedom struggle are a few instances of his undaunted spirit, the Odisha CM said.
Biju Patnaik got his flying license from the Delhi Flying Club which recently announced that it will observe March 5 every year to honour and recognise legendary pilots of India.
Delhi Flying Club was established in May 1928. PTI AAM NN NN