New Delhi: Indian Air Force (IAF) pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman displayed exemplary courage in face of adversity, yes, but his parents are no less.

Abhinandan Varthman comes from a family of uniform, with his father Air Marshal Varthaman having served the Indian Air Force for nearly 40 years and having played a significant role in the Kargil war- but few know that his mother is a titan herself.

Dr Shobha Varthaman, is a well known doctor, who has served in conflict-ridden areas like Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Liberia, Iraq and Iran. She has volunteered with Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF or Doctors without borders).

An alumna of Madras Medical College, Dr Shobha Varthaman (66), an anesthesiologist, did her specialization from the Royal College of Surgeons of England.

A friend close to the family told media that Dr Varthaman served as the MSF medical director on the Iran-Iraq border and was involved in providing healthcare services in Haiti after the devastating 2010 earthquake.

Group Captain TK Singha, a retired fighter pilot who knows the Varthamans, in an article written for the Northeast Now, said, “During the Second Gulf War, in Sulemaniyah, Iraq, Dr Shobha encountered life-threatening experience of a suicide-bomb blast. In Iran, she taught Pranayama to her patients for promoting healing.”

Dr. Varthaman is a specialist in anesthesia, intensive care and pain management.