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06 SANDS OF TIME                                                VOL. XIV, ISSUE 2, 2017


equipment. Remember, thirty years ago, the Puss Moth            and achievement. I pray that I will have succeeded in this,
had no radio.                                                   even by the planting of a small seed of inspiration.“

October 15, 1962, was another important day in Indian           With this talent for extempore speech, JRD said these
aviation history. The ight itself was a nostalgic trip into     words a few minutes after his arrival at Juhu.
the past. JRD's ight was a near-exact reproduction of the
                                                                “Up to 6.25 am this morning (I.S.T.) we were dead on time.
 rst one – JRD took off from Karachi arriving at                 I was at the end of the runway at Karachi when for some
Ahmedabad for refuelling. Once again, a simple, humble          obscure reason the radio packed up. This only shows that
but digni ed bullock-drawn cart with its four-gallon            technical progress has its disadvantages, because thirty
petrol can was taken to the plane and the fuel hand- lled,      years ago, this could not have happened and did not
as it had been done 30 years ago. Thirty minutes later,         happen. The reason you will have guessed is because I did
without fuss or fanfare JRD took off for the last leg of the     not have any radio! And today, in fact, I did not have any
historic re-enactment. He touched down on the Juhu              radio, so in some ways I have perhaps re-enacted that rst
aerodrome strip at 4.40 pm.
                                                                 ight a little closer to the original than I had intended!”

                                                                “About the ight, there is very little to say. It was an
                                                                uneventful one except for the radio trouble. And it was
                                                                performed with the poise and the decorum expected
                                                                from an old lady of the age of this Leopard Moth and her
                                                                elderly pilot.”

                                                                “Some of you I’m sure will say, ‘Then, why do it?’ In fact,
                                                                quite a few friends asked me that before I left. And during
                                                                the ight I was thinking what answer to give.”

JRD in the cockpit of the Leopard Moth, after arriving at Juhu  “It is difficult for someone in whose life ying and aviation
after the 30th Anniversary re-enactment ight from Karachi.     has played such a considerable part to get across one’s
                                                                mind on the subject to people in whom aviation or ying

Before landing on the warm, clear October evening in                JRD Tata with the Leopard Moth, after the 30th Anniversary
Bombay, to a hero’s welcome of the thousands of admirers
who had gone out to Juhu, JRD ew low over the waving                           re-enactment ight from Karachi to Bombay.
cheering happy crowd and gave the traditional airman’s
salute of waggling the small airplane’s wings. Now was the      has played no part. And so, I can appreciate that to many
time to indulge in the airman’s symbolic act of triumph. It     of you this was perhaps a pointless and foolish
was a moment to remember. JRD’s lifetime of ying had            performance. Now that it has been done, I hope you will
come full circle. Flushed with a mixture of sunburn and         not feel that way. I think there was considerable
excitement (had he remembered to tape a small patch of          justi cation for this ight. It was not the ight itself, but
lint over his nose), JRD climbed out of the small plane’s       what it commemorates. After all, although the beginning
cockpit waving and smiling. Physically though a little          of the birth of air transport in India is hardly a historical
stiffer than he had been in 1932, his personality and mind       event of rst-class magnitude, it nevertheless is an
quick and alert as ever, now honed and sharpened with           historical event, and surely throughout the world,
thirty years of experience as a distinguished great             particularly the old world, it has been quite common to
industrialist, JRD represented the personi cation of            re-enact and re-live old events, be they battles or durbars,
successful modern, independent India.

“I want to symbolise, in a personal, modest way, that the
spirit of adventure was no less lacking in India than
anywhere else in the world. I also hoped it would be an
example, in a small way, to every young Indian, man or
woman, to break the shackles of India’s centuries old
traditions of thought and behaviour and reach out to
those new and ever-beckoning horizons of endeavour

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