MP Rajeev Chandrashekar’s gesture makes Air force veteran father proud by refurbishing and handing over a DC3 Dakota to the Indian Air Force. M Raghuram spoke to the MP and his father on the occasion.
How often do we hear about large contributions from Indian Citizens to the Indian armed forces? Very few, and certainly none in the recent years. Rajya Sabha MP from Karnataka Rajeev Chandrashekar, now seeking a second term from Karnataka, is not cut from the same cloth and in a rare gesture, he completely refurbished a second world war DC3 Dakota aircraft and handed it over to the Indian Air Force at a simple function held at Delhi recently (13th February 2018) to become the first MP to perform this feat in Independent India.
It was a historic piece of aviation and an equally historic event. The aircraft bearing the Tail Number VP 905 and called “Parashurama” will be a part of the Indian Air Force Vintage Fleet. “On 27 October 1947, three Dakotas of No. 12 Sqn. took off from Wellingdon airfield (Safdarjung) at 05-00 hours for Srinagar signalling the start of the IAF operations in the 1947-48 Indo-Pak War. Before the end of the day, 28 Dakota sorties were flown (including 6 civilian sorties).
The aircraft sporting the tail number VP 905 was a part of this operation. “It is such a pleasure for me as Member of Parliament and a member of the family of an Air Force officer who took part in these operations to get the DC3 Dakaota refurbished and hand it over back to IAF for its vintage fleet” the MP told Karnataka today.
What motivated you to choose this particular aircraft?
“My father Air Commodore M K Chandrasekhar VM VSM (retd) had flown DC3 Dakotas himself at various points of time during this tenure as an Air Force Pilot which is one of the reasons. But most important is that the Dakota aircraft carrying tail number VP 905 was the first Dakota Aircraft to take off and land at Srinagar piloted by Wing Commander K L Bhatia and carrying the first batch of troops of 1 Sikh Regiment under the command of Lt Col Dewan Ranjit Rai. The Tail No. VP 905 - this holds special significance for the Dakota squadron and the Indian Air Force. When I was young my father had flown DC 3 Dakota aircrafts all over the country and I used to be immensely proud of the aircraft and my father. The aircraft is now being refurbished and will be flown to India once ready”.
The gifting deed has already been signed between Air Chief Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa, PVSM, AVSM, YSM, VM, ADC, Chief of the Air Staff of the Indian Air Force and Air Commodore M K Chandrasekhar, VM VSM (Retd)- Rajeev Chandrasekhar’s father who was a Dakota Pilot himself at a function at Delhi.
Air Commodore (retd) M K Chandrasheker VM VSM said “This aircraft VP 905 is dedicated to all Air Warriors and their families who served and flew the Dakota in various IAF operations in the remotest parts of India from 1947-1971”
Why name an aircraft Parashurama?
When asked Rajeev said “The Dakota DC3 was named Parashurama - to signify the eternal warrior – after Saint Parashurama - the sixth avatar of Vishnu. Like other avatars of Vishnu, he appears at a time when overwhelming evil prevailed on earth to correct the cosmic equilibrium by destroying the evil forces.”