Dr Sobha Varthaman, Abhinandan Varthaman, IAF pilot, Pakistan custody

It was a big sigh of relief when Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman returned to India after being captive for three days in Islamabad’s custody. But, it was Abhinandan’s family who felt so much pride and relief on his return.

Abhinandan is not the first IAF pilot in his family. His father is a former decorated fighter pilot Air Marshal Simhakutty Varthaman.

Also Read: Abhinandan subjected to a lot of mental harassment, though not physically tortured’

The absolute love for his nation and undying spirit of patriotism that he displayed during his captive days in Pakistan is something he has perhaps inherited from his heroic parents especially his mother.

Abhinandan’s mother, Dr Sobha Varthaman is a doctor with ‘Doctors Without Borders’ (Médecins Sans Frontières), an international humanitarian NGO. She is an inspiration for many as after her education, she volunteered to provide free service to people in need of medical help and consultation.

Also Read: Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman meets Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman

Dr. Shobha has worked in Liberia, Iraq, Ivory Coast, Papua New Guinea, Haiti, and Laos, and has healed wounded soldiers and civilians in some of the worst conflict zones across the world.

Here are some instances from Dr. Sobha Abhinandan’s life where is has been serving as a true soldier:

  • As a volunteer at ‘Doctors Without Borders’, Dr Shobha ensured that new mothers survive post-delivery complications in the conflict areas.
  • Dr. Shobha is a graduate from Madras Medical College and a post-graduate in Anaesthesiology from the Royal College of Surgeons of England.
  • In Nigeria, she helped to set up a blood bank and an intensive care unit. According to the reports, during the second Gulf war, she had encountered life-threatening experiences.
  • In Iran, she taught ‘pranayama’ to her patients to promote healing involving three major projects on surgical, sexual violence and HIV.

During the 2010 Haiti Earthquake, she aided the patients while at ground zero.

‘Service before self’ has been the sole motive of the Varthaman family and India and the rest of the world has witnessed this all in the past few days.


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