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Experiences of a POW – AVM Pethia

July 5, 2011 divider image

Air Vice Mshl (Retd) A V. Pethia. Vir Chakra awardee was the speaker in the club meeting on 9th June 2011. He subject was ‘Experiences of a Prisoner of war’. This is for the first time he spoke on the subject in a close yet packed audience of club members who heard him with awe and yet inspiring way he faced the enemy for 4 months, 3 days and 5 hours of captivity in Pakistan.

AVP Pethia earlier gave an insight of his family and his preference for serving the country as a fighter pilot. He participated in the 1965 & 1971 Indo-Pak wars. After a series of successful sorties in Pakistan albeit his last which saw his plane hit by Pakistani armory on return flight. He bailed out in Pakistan territory and was taken as POW. Being a fighter pilot he was brutally tortured in the POW camp against all International norms.

His expressions were slow, soft and controlled but conveyed in a very dignified manner. He said the presence of gracious ladies did not allow him to put everything straight but sufficing wording that  ‘he did not have even a ring to wear’ in many days of captivity. The Indian ethos in him showed glowingly in his last few sentences, that 40 years after the episode he had forgiven the enemy for their acts howsoever inhuman. And to cap it all, he said given a chance to serve the motherland, he would like to don the Indian Air Force uniform once again.

AVM Pethia is settled down in Bhopal. His wife Geeta is a celebrity in her own right having represented the country in Hockey and Volley Ball. The elder son is a fighter pilot and the younger is an ITian in the USA.

Rtn. Dr. Ravi Wankhede.

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