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India’s hero Wing Commander trims iconic moustache, Twitter rends garments in despair (PHOTOS)

India’s hero Wing Commander trims iconic moustache, Twitter rends garments in despair (PHOTOS)
India’s air force hero, Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, has returned to the cockpit of his MiG-21 fighter jet Monday, but promotional photos from the event have caused gasps of despair across Twitter.

Varthaman became a national icon and was awarded the Vir Chakra gallantry award for reportedly downing a Pakistani F-16 fighter jet during an aerial dogfight in February. 

Also on rt.com ‘Hero’ Indian pilot inspires countrywide mustache trend

He was captured by the Pakistani military after he was forced to eject from his fighter, but was subsequently released by Islamabad as a gesture of peace. 

Both he and his signature handlebar moustache captured the public imagination in India and beyond.

READ MORE: Indian hero pilot’s facial hair must be declared ‘national mustache’ – Congress leader

On Monday, he flew alongside Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa in a 30-minute sortie which took off from Pathankot Air Base.

Eagle-eyed observers quickly noticed that he had ditched his iconic handlebar moustache, opting instead for a more conservative chevron shape.

“He should not have truncated his distinct and symbolic Moustache. Hope, he restores it in due course,” one commenter wrote. Another, seemingly distraught, person added: “NOOOOOOOOOO! Why Abhi, why?”

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