by Muhammad Younis
SRINAGAR: Farhan is a sensational name in South Kashmir’s Awantipora at the moment. A 20-year-old boy, he has become Kashmir’s youngest ever male pilot.
Farhan said, ever since his childhood, he used to get fascinated by the sound and sight of the aeroplanes taking off and landing in the nearby army airbase in Awantipora. And he always cherished a dream to be one running these big apparatuses. “And finally now, the same has taken place,” he said. “I thank God to let me see this day.”
Four years ago, a secondary class pass out of Mantaqui Memorial School Awantipora, Farhan geared up for his dream. However, given his young age and being the first student in his vicinity with such a dream, his initial steps were tasking. “To find a good flying club was a challenge for me given the fact that I had no one to guide me.”
In 2017, he went to Delhi for the Airforce Medical Cell Examinations (AFCME), a compact and specialised medical evaluation centre for aircrew of all the three services of the Armed Forces, the paramilitary organizations, Government agencies and Civil Aviation. After passing through this first stage, he returned to Kashmir with whatever information he could get related to the field to prepare for the admission.
A year alter, in 2018, he took admission in Global Connect Aviation Uttarakhand. Last year November, after passing the commercial pilot training course, he again returned home; this time with the license of flying a commercial aircraft.
The maximum time to pass the course is up to five years; it took him two and a half years. He worked hard to pass the mandatory six papers. “I don’t brag about the Kashmiri youth, but people outside accept the fact that we are talented; they say we just need a platform; my own flying training chief always used to say this to me,” he said.
Farhan said that in bringing his dreams to fruition, his parents had a huge role to play. “They helped me financially, and always used to shore up my morale. Actually, the big motivation was my father’s wish to see me do something different.” His father is a school teacher.
Farhan said he is heavily grateful to Jammu and Kashmir Bank which helped him financially to realise the dream. “I spent around Rs 40 lakh, which was provided to me by the bank as a loan.”
Now Farhan has a wish to fly the own aircraft of Jammu and Kashmir if Lieutenant governor Manoj Sinha could help him realise this dream also, he asks.