Captured fighter pilot sparks handlebar moustache trend in India after he was shot down by Pakistan and released to a hero's welcome
The Indian pilot captured in Pakistan who was released to a hero’s welcome on Friday has become an unlikely trendsetter after sparking an increase in handlebar moustaches.
Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman was at the centre of cross-border tensions after his plane was shot down last month - prompting pleas from world leaders for the two countries to step back from the brink of war.
The pilot was praised for his stoic professionalism after he ate sensitive documents so they would not fall into his captors' hands and has been hailed as a national hero.
So much so, that men across India have rushed to mimic the pilot and his signature moustache in tribute to his actions.
The design, which joins the style of a gunslinger-styled moustache with a mutton chop beard, has been dubbed the Abhinandan throughout India, with men sharing their best looks across social media.
Wing Commander Varthaman was handed over at the Wagah border crossing on Friday in what Pakistan's PM called a 'peace gesture', intended to defuse military tensions between the nuclear-armed nations.
Thousands of flag-waving supporters gathered at the border to welcome him home on the morning but crowds had dwindled by nightfall as the handover dragged on for hours without explanation.
Shortly before 9.30pm Indian time (4pm GMT) he finally appeared at the border checkpoint escorted by military officers and crossed the frontier into India.
As Islamabad released him they also published another video of the pilot, in which he apparently praised his 'very professional' Pakistani military captors, who had rescued him from a mob.
Despite the move to de-escalate the crisis both sides fired barrages of shells across the frontier on Friday, with reports of attacks on Indian police officers in the province.
In a brief statement after his release the Indian Air Force, who greeted him on his return, said they were 'happy to have him back'.
'Wing Commander Abhinandan he has just been returned to us as per the standard operating procedure of the IAF,' they said.
'He will now be taken for a detailed medical check up, particularly because he had to eject from an aeroplane which would have put his entire body under great stress.'
Abhinandan was shot down over Kashmir after a dogfight in the skies over the disputed Himalayan region, and footage of the pilot being beaten by locals went viral in both countries.
A video released by the Pakistani military later showed Abhinandan sipping tea, his face swollen and sporting bruises but otherwise collected and calm.
His father, a retired air force officer, told the Times of India newspaper, 'Just look at the way he talked so bravely... a true soldier... we are proud of him.'
While India has consistently accused its neighbour of supporting extremist groups, Pakistan has equally vehemently denied any role in attacks in India.
Kashmir has been claimed by both India and Pakistan since almost immediately after their creation in 1947. The countries have fought three wars against each other, two directly dealing with the disputed region.
译文来源：三泰虎 http://www.5763157.com/47172.html 译者：Jessica.Wu
Yollo, London, United Kingdom, 5 days ago
Why is he considered a hero? After all, his plane was shot.
James, Surrey, United Kingdom, 5 days ago
I have to say, it's one of the most majestic moustaches I've ever seen and makes the pilot look like an action film star from the 90s. Top bloke.
Mohammed Arif Ullah, London, United Kingdom, 5 days ago
Only the leader educated from oxford imran Khan can do like this
Texan Chick, Fort Wurth, United States, 5 days ago
ElReyDelNY, NYC, United States, 5 days ago
That's not a handlebar mustache. Probably considered a fu manchu.
NEEBLAMMERS, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 5 days ago
Professionalism? A fighter pilot should not be allowed any facial hair due to the need for a hermetic seal between his face and oxygen mask during high g manouvres in combat. An airline pilot would be excused this restriction .
RAF4ever, London, United Kingdom, 5 days ago
No hero....he got shot down in a dog fight....
Anna010, London, United Kingdom, 5 days ago
How is he a hero? His plane was shot down and he was taken into captivity. He was lucky enough to be released! Does it make him a hero?!
Gimpy, North Yorks, United Kingdom, 5 days ago
That is NOT a 'handlebar moustache'. It's a 'cut-down' beard.
agoodmistress4u, USA, United States, 5 days ago
That mustache is horrible.
Rainmam, Houston, United States, 5 days ago
That is not a handlebar mustache, it is more like a horseshoe mustache.
ignoramus, aurora borealis , Western Sahara, 5 days ago
Good job Pakistan
ArranLaPaul, Todmorden, United Kingdom, 5 days ago
Pakistan HAD to hand him over otherwise they would have been demolished again by India.
catrin16, Gwalchmai, United Kingdom, 5 days ago
Pathetic followers of fashion.
kab46, Somewhere, United States, 5 days ago
That mustache is a crime against humanity and should never be worn again.
Byron jones, London, United Kingdom, 5 days ago
That's an epic moustache...
Dave, Surrey, United Kingdom, 5 days ago
I once sat next to a really boring Indian Air Force Officer on a plane. Eventually he told me he was a hero. I replied that I always thought heroes were modest. End of that conversation, thank God.
ImeanwhatIsay, Shangri-la, United States, 5 days ago
The Pakistanis were more intimidated by his mustache than his fighter jet
zain , Abbottabad, Pakistan, 5 days ago
How he became hero if Pakistan handed him over to India as a peace gesture!!! He was searching the target but never shot down any Pakistani fighter jet.... He accepted the fact that he was searching the target, but couldn't shot any jet down.
Lord Zod, The Phantom Zone, United Kingdom, 5 days ago
Haha brilliant! hope it goes viral worldwide
Sencho, Gulf Coast, United States, 5 days ago
That is not a handlebar mustache.
Britishvalues , York, United Kingdom, 5 days ago
Allegedly the pilot has lost his job because he said how respectfully the Pakistani army was with him in his 60 hour captivity The Indian government now believe that he has turned and could be a potential spy.
Sally Forth, Bath, United Kingdom, 5 days ago
That is not like any handlebar moustache I've ever seen before!
Bwj, Sawtry, United Kingdom, 5 days ago
Journalistic licence, since it is hard to describe such a moustache. :-)(