Views of Indian Air Force History & Government in Sikh Aviator-Lawyer’s Memoirs

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A.S. Ahluwalia provides studies of his life as it has traveled through the many turning points and events in the subcontinent’s political life

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A. S. Ahluwalia, Group Captain (Ret.) of the Indian Air Force and a stalwart of the fourth largest air force in the world joined his beloved service a few years after its inception as an air force of free India, and went on to fly different kinds of aircraft in its service (transport, bombers, reconnaissance, night-fighters), and became a sterling figure in the Department of the Judge Advocate after starting his law career within the IAF. All these and the diverse stories that are part of history of the IAF are in Airborne to Chairborne, Ahluwalia’s paean to an India that he has served humbly and well and illustrated in a memoir that spans more than three decades of his professional air force life.

Airborne to Chairborne starts with the former Sikh air force officer’s early life, followed by his distinguished career in the IAF. He has served as a combat aviator during his early years, after training on a pre-World War II Tiger Moth biplane to become an aviation frontliner during the arduous border wars between India and Pakistan following the first, hard fight that officially separated the former British colonies and turned them into a regional powder keg that politicians on both sides have struggled long to contain.

Later, he would transfer to the Department of the Judge Advocate, “promoted” to a desk job to become “chair borne” rather than fly in “bad weather, bad terrain” that is a given in the IAF aviator’s navigation dictionary. Thus, the transition from serving his country by patrolling its beautiful skies to serving it via being a functionary in the legal department of the air force are the two points of his life being given mileage in this book. It is a very apt metaphor for a life that has seen two distant jobs in the armed force and carefully assimilated to form an unbroken thread of service and hard work for the author’s great country.

About the Author
A. S. Ahluwalia dedicates his memoirs to his parents Sardar and Sardarni Partap Singh Ahluwalia and to the ever-loving Harjit Ahluwalia, his wife of fifty-four years. He now resides with her in the United States, where he emigrated to after his retirement from the IAF.

Airborne To Chairborne * by A. S. Ahluwalia
Memoirs of a War Veteran Aviator-Lawyer of the Indian Air Force
Publication Date: June 28, 2012
Trade Paperback; $23.99.xx; 699 pages; 978-1-4691-9656-5
Trade Hardback; $34.99; 699 pages; 978-1-4691-9657-2

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