In a letter to the principal of his school in September, Group Captain Varun Singh, the lone survivor of the IAF chopper crash that killed CDS General Bipin Rawat and others, conveyed an important message to the students. “It’s okay to be mediocre,” wrote Group Captain Singh, who is currently fighting for his life in a military hospital in Bengaluru.
Singh was awarded the Shaurya Chakra in August for averting a possible mid-air collision after his Tejas light combat aircraft experienced a major technical malfunction last year. In a letter to the principal of the Army Public School in Chandimandir, Haryana, Group Captain Singh addressed the students as follows: “It is acceptable to be mediocre. Not everyone excels in school, and not everyone achieves a grade point average in the 90s. If you do, it’s an incredible accomplishment that deserves to be recognized.” He continued, “However if you don’t, don’t think you’re destined to be mediocre. You may be mediocre in school, but that is by no means an indication of your future success.”
The letter went on, “Discover your calling, which could be art, music, or graphic design. Literature, for example. Whatever you work on, be dedicated and give it your all. Never go to bed thinking that I could have done more.” The air warrior described himself as an average student who barely made a first division in 12th grade but had a passion for planes and aviation.
“I write to you with a mixture of pride and humility. “On August 15, this year, I was awarded the Shaurya Chakra by the President of India in recognition of an act of gallantry on October 12, 2020,” he said, adding, “I credit this prestigious award to all those I have been associated with over the years in school, NDA, and then the Air Force, as I firmly believe that my actions that day were a result of the grooming and mentoring by my teachers.” Over the years, I’ve had a variety of instructors and peers.”
In the letter dated September 18, Group Captain Singh stated that he was not trying to blow his own trumpet or write in order to receive a pat on the back, but rather that he wanted to share some of his life experiences with the children in the hope that they would be useful to them in the future.
“I was an average student who barely made first division in 12th grade. Despite being named Discipline Perfect in 12th grade, I was average in sports and other extracurricular activities. But I had a fascination with airplanes and aviation “He penned.
Group Captain Singh was awarded the Shaurya Chakra for his calmness and skill when his Tejas aircraft encountered a technical snag during a flight last year. “Despite being under extreme physical and mental stress in a life-threatening situation, he maintained exemplary composure and recovered the aircraft, demonstrating exceptional flying skill,” according to the award citation.
As the liaison officer for CDS Gen Bipin Rawat’s visit to the Defence Services Staff College in Wellington, Group Captain Singh was on board the Russian-made chopper.