‘52-year-old has pursued his goal religious, got his dream fulfilled today, he hardly visited his ancestral house at Bakshiabad, Anantnag’
Anantnag, July 29: Silence filled air led to the Bakshiabad area of main town of South Kashmir’s Anantnag—the native village of Rafale jet pilot who led the first consignment of five jets from Paris, France to Ambala, India on Wednesday. At the ancestral house of Hilal Ahmed Rather, son of a police officer, there are no celebrations, no jubilations for obvious reasons as the district falls in the sensitive category on the security front.
But locals, neighbours, and friends of Hilal, who spoke to news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO), on the condition of anonymity, said that Hilal has been a dreamer since his childhood and he would always talk about aeroplanes, helicopters and jets, when he was a kid. “He studied hard. He was an intelligent student and today he got what he yearned for. Today, his parents both father and mother must be happy in their graves as their last child has made them feel proud,” said a close relative of Hilal, requesting anonymity.
The Rafale hero, as Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh called Hilal, arrived with five Rafale jets, at Ambala air base today. The Rafale pilot became the first Kashmiri pilot to fly Rafle jet but also the one who has led the team that brought the first batch of five jets to India from Paris, France. All five jets landed safely at Ambala air base today.
The 52-year-old first Kashmiri pilot who brought Rafale jets on Indian soil. An elderly next-door neighbour of Hilal, told KNO that the Rafale pilot is the son of a retired police officer Muhammad Abdullah Rather. “He is the youngest son of his parents among five children,” he said “Hilal did his schooling from Hanfia School Anantnag and later joined Sainik School Nagrota Jammu after which he joined National Defence Academy (NDA).”
He said that Hilal passed out from Air Force Academy as best pilot and won many awards and honours in the field. “He got distinction in Air War College United States,” he said. “In 1988, he was commissioned in IAF and in 2004 he became wing Commander followed by group captain in 2010. In 2016, he became air Commodore.”
One of the cousin brothers of Hilal while talking to KNO, said that the Rafale pilot has also received Vayu Sena Medal and Vishisht Seva Medal. “Hilal was a very hardworking student from childhood. He would study hard and often talk about flying in skies with a plane. Today, all of us are feeling proud of him,” he said.
At his ancestral house, Hilal’s elder brother lives along with his family members.
Meanwhile, social media is also flooded with wishes for Hilal. His friends have congratulated him for bringing Rafale jets from France to India. “Proud moment, for the people of J&K. First pilot to fly Rafale is Wing Commander Hilal Ahmed Rather of Sainik School and is from Anantnag, Kashmir. Presently he is Indian Defence Attaché in Paris France. He won the Sword of honour in NDA when he passed out and is the finest fighter,” one of Hilal’s friends tweeted. Another friend wrote: “Hilal has an impeccable record of 3,000 accident free flying hours in mirage-2000 MIG-21 and Kiran aircraft and will be associated with Rafale in India forever.” Pertinently, the Rafale Jets are the first batch of the 36 supersonic combat aircraft that India has bought from France. So far 12 IAF fighter pilots have completed training on the Rafale fighter Jets in France and few more being trained to fly the jet—(KNO)