IT was with great sadness that I received the news of the passing away of Air Cdre. (r) M.M. Alam (March 19). As we know, he was an ace pilot who had made history by shooting down five Indian planes within 60 seconds single-handedly in a dogfight during the 1965 war.
I had known him for nearly a quarter of a century through my elder brother who had been a junior colleague of his in the PAF. Mr Alam was not only a legendary pilot but also an exceedingly well-read person and a storehouse of professional and other knowledge.
Every year a couple of our military officers at the one-star level get sent to Britain to attend the very prized course conducted at the Royal College of Defence Studies (RCDS).
I was told by my brother that when Air Cdre. Alam was sent there, he impressed his teachers tremendously and was hailed as the most brilliant officer out of the many countries to have ever attended that programme! This should be a source of enomous inspiration to our younger generation.
Apart from that, he always treated me affectionately. The last time I met him was when I had gone to see him in hospital about six months back.
He seemed to be slipping in and out of consciousness at the time. But then he was able to talk for quite a while and his one great wish was to see Pakistan come out of its present difficulties, about which he had appeared to be surprisingly optimistic.
He was indeed a very capable, patriotic and enlightened gentleman who had a good grasp of religion as well, being a devout Muslim. May Allah rest his soul in peace. Aameen.
The Pakistan sky, Held up by mountains so high, Forming the beautiful canopy Which M.M. Alam had guarded so jealously, Has lost its brilliance today, ’Cause the ace pilot has passed away.
For him we’d proudly sounded out trumpet When he’d shot down five planes within a minute.
Now, only a sad tune we can blow.
Who knows, like him there mayn’t be another hero.
KHALID CHAUDHRY Karachi
Remembering the legend AIR Commodore M. M. Alam would always live in the hearts of Pakistanis. His courage and bravery would always be remembered by the generations to come. There is an M. M. Alam Road in a busy area of Lahore. This is laudable on the part of the authorities in Lahore as they realised his exponential status while he lived.
I suggest that the provincial governments of Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan and Gilgit Baltistan should also follow suit and name one of their busy roads after him.
Similarly, all the authorities concerned should issue a commemorative stamp in the name of Air Commodore M. M. Alam while a PAF base should also be named after him.
Alam’s larger than life figure and extraordinary personality does not need any such steps, but it would be just a small way to remember him by his fellow countrymen.
M. ASIF Karachi