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Autobiography of an Air Force Officer

“Harbans, my friend, I congratulate you for your fine effort. I am confident that all air warriors, the serving, the aspiring, the veterans, as well as admirers of warriors will enjoy partaking of your remarkable journey through life. It is educative, inspirational and motivational. It will be a most welcome addition to the slowly, but steadily growing list of biographical works by veteran air warriors.”

Anil Yashwant Tipnis
Former Chief of the Indian Air Force

Harbans Singh Sahota begins his autobiography, narrating to us fragments of his life’s journey by taking us through every stage of his life; his childhood back in the village of Garhdiwala, full of harmless playfulness surrounded by the love of his family; his boyhood, when days seem simpler while helping father find fodder for the Johri or while listening to Dadi Ma’s Gurbani or learning the team-spirit in the game of Annar Choochi and Gulli Danda; and his teenage, when discipline, goal and academic sincerity paves the way for the man to make a choice. While he is expected to take over the spade and axe from his father, he seems to grow another wish—a wish quite drastic for a farmer’s son. The boy, instead, pursues to touch the sky, quite literally. From being the farmer’s boy from the village of Garhdiwala in the district of Hoshiarpur, he, with years of hard work, dedication and perseverance, chooses to become as an Indian Air force Officer, Group Captain and leader of Squadron, Harbans Singh Sahota—a name that reverberates through the past decades at the Indian Air Force.

It is a story told by the man himself, allowing us glimpses of the simple times and simpler rural life in Punjab when mango-picking with a stone was an art and outdoor sports were more essential than hours buried in school textbooks. In fact, the long-forgotten, age-old tradition of learning alphabets on a Fatti or the native games with exceptional strategies will leave you only fascinated. It’s a story that will make you want to live in those times in rural Punjab when life, games and studies were much simpler and fascinating, where faith in God and respect for elders was primary. We get to see the gradual growth of brave heart Harbans Singh Sahota, who, with sheer discipline, humility and valour, takes over the Indian Air Force, inspiring every man he has ever met and establishes his name in the country and abroad. With the telling of many enthralling anecdotes and life experiences of an IAF officer, it’s a story about a farmer’s son who had dared to fly.

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