‘Find your calling’: Modi recalls Group Captain Varun Singh’s letter to school

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The Prime Minister said that Group Captain Varun Singh never once boasted of his valour and instead referred to his failures in the letter to students. “It is okay to be mediocre,” wrote the IAF officer, talking about how he managed to turn his shortcomings around.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday paid his tributes to Group Captain Varun Singh, who sustained grave injuries in a military helicopter crash earlier this month and passed away after a week-long battle with death.

While addressing the 84th episode of his monthly Mann Ki Baat radio programme, PM Modi also remembered the valour of the other Indian armed forces personnel who lost their lives in the air accident in Tamil Nadu.

Prime Minister Modi said Group Captain Varun Singh was a decorated officer of the Indian Air Force (IAF) who did not forget his roots even after reaching the pinnacle of success.

“Varun Singh also fought death bravely for many days, but then he left us too,” said the Prime Minister. “When Varun was in the hospital, I saw something on social media that touched my heart. He was given the Shaurya Chakra in August just this year. After this honour, he had written a letter to the principal of his school.”

Talking about the humility displayed by Varun Singh, Prime Minister Modi said, “After reading this letter, the first thought that came to my mind was that even after reaching the pinnacle of success, he did not forget to nurture his roots. Second – that when he had time to celebrate, he showed concern for the generations to come. He wanted that the lives of the students of the school that he studied in should also be celebrated.”

The Prime Minister said that Group Captain Varun Singh never once boasted of his valour and instead referred to his failures.

“It is okay to be mediocre,” wrote the IAF officer, talking about how he managed to turn his shortcomings around.

“Not everyone will excel at school and not everyone will be able to score in the 90s. If you do, it is an amazing achievement and must be applauded. However, if you don’t, do not think that you are meant to be mediocre. You may be mediocre in school but it is by no means a measure of things to come in life. Find your calling – it could be art, music, graphic design, literature, etc. Whatever you work towards, be dedicated, do your best. Never go to bed, thinking, I could have put in more effort,” he wrote.

From Varun Singh’s letter to the students, the Prime Minister highlighted the ‘mantra’ that the officer delivered – a bolstering message inspiring the youth to rise from average to extraordinary.

“Never lose hope. Never think that you cannot be good at what you want to be. It will not come easy, it will take sacrifice of time and comfort. I was mediocre, and today, I have reached difficult milestones in my career. Do not think that 12th board marks decide what you are capable of achieving in life. Believe in yourself and work towards it,” Singh wrote in that letter.

PM Modi pointed out that Singh wrote that if he could inspire even a single student, it would be enough. “…but in doing so, he has inspired the entire country. Even though his letter talks only to the students, he has given a message to our entire society,” he added.

India’s first Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat, his wife and 11 others also died in the IAF chopper crash near Coonoor town of Tamil Nadu.