Indian fighter pilot released by Pakistan sparks mustache trend in native country
© India Times

The Indian fighter pilot who was released by Pakistan after his plane was shot down is making the handlebar mustache famous in his native country. 

Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman received a stirring welcome after being handed over to Indian officials last Friday, according to the BBC. And his mustache, known now as the "Abhinandan," has since been propped up as a sign of bravery. 

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Amul, an Indian dairy brand which creates advertisements based on social trends, shared a video on Twitter celebrating the mustache. The advertisement concludes with the phrase, "Mooch nahin, toh kuch nahin," or, "without a mustache, you don't have anything," according to CNN.

Many other men across the country have shared pictures of themselves sporting a mustache similar in style to that of the fighter pilot. BBC noted that a hair salon in the southern city of Bangalore offered free hair cuts and mustache trimming to anyone wanting to sport the "Abhinandan" look. 

"Abhinandan has done so much for our country. I felt that I should try and make every face look like his," Nanesh Thakur, the salon owner, told the U.K. network. 

Most citizens of India became aware of the fighter pilot after Pakistan's information ministry released a video of him in custody and blindfolded with a bloodied face, BBC reported. 

His MiG-21 jet had been downed during a dogfight between Pakistani and Indian warplanes during raised tensions last week, according to CNN.

Another video reportedly showed him giving his name and military rank but declining to give details about the mission he was on.

The hashtag "BringBackAbhinandan" began trending on Twitter shortly after, according to BBC.