Panther Red One: Memoirs of a Fighter Pilot


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This book originally began as a series of articles, at the behest of the author’s son, for the website Bharat Rakshak. As the articles flowed, the author was then persuaded by his children to expand these articles into something that more resembles a book. It was (and is) intended for his grandchildren to know about one part of their heritage—a part that will likely not recur in the family tree. It was not intended for general publication, but the children convinced the author otherwise. Perhaps the first couple of chapters could be a reader for all grandchildren of today because every family came from similar villages all over India. It also gives a feel for the motivation, and the acceptance of the environment and facilities that were far from adequate to achieve the goal of being a fighter pilot. It is more “episodic” than such works usually are, as it has been written at the age of 80, from the heart and from memory. It is hoped that you will enjoy it.

Raghavendran Air Marshal S. Raghavendran was a member of the small group of future fighter pilots who joined the Indian Air Force in 1947 – the year of independence from Great Britain. During his 41-year career in the Indian Air Force, he participated in two wars, was a Commander of Squadrons and Air Force Stations, and ultimately rose to be Vice Chief of the Indian Air Force before retiring in 1988.

This book of memoirs covers the period from 1930 to 1971 – an extraordinary time in Indian history. He was a participant in, and eyewitness to, some of the great cultural and social changes in India. And, of course, he was a young fighter pilot at a time of great hope and adventure in India. This book covers his “field” appointments. He plans to write another one covering his “executive” appointments.

The book is not ghost written and is presented in unvarnished form. The Air Marshal has a unique and captivating authorial voice, as readers will discover. The title of the book is the Air Marshal’s radio ‘call sign’ during the 1965 War with Pakistan.



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