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The Ladder of His Life: Biography of Air Chief Marshal Idris Hasan Latif, PVSM Hardcover – 1 Dec 2013
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About the Author
I would call this book a gift of love by Mrs Bilkees Latif to her husband , Air Chief Marshal Idris Latif , the much respected Chief who headed the Indian Air Force from September 78' to Aug 81.' Mrs Latif has captured the essence of the Air Chief Marshal's life from childhood to his step by step rise to the uppermost echelons of the Indian Air Force and thereafter as he steps out in civvies to serve his Country as the Governor (Maharashtra) , the Lieut Governor (Goa )and finally as the Ambassador to France. Idris and Bilkees both trace their ancestry to distinguished families of Bombay and Hyderabad. Idris's family belonged to the Sulaimani Bohra community with roots going back to Arab blood . Bilkees' father was Nawab Ali Yavar Jung , Vice Chancellor , Osmania University and one time Ambassador to France. Her mother was a French national. It did help that Mrs Latif herself is well versed in writing . She has not only authored a number of books earlier, but has also lectured at a number of international forums. As an Air Force wife and later when the Air Chief Marshal was the Governor and the Ambassador, Mrs Latif has always been at the fore-front of welfare and social upliftment causes. The book is spread over thirty concise chapters with quite a few photographs of each phase of her husbands life . Of special interest to the aficionados of aviation history are the many photographs of various planes ;Tigermoths , Wapitis, Spitfires , Hurricanes to the jet era of the SU 7's and the MIG variants.The Air Chief Marshal has flown 25 different types of aircraft. Fast forward to 1940 , the war is raging in Europe and Idris , an impressionable 17 year old applies for a career in the Air Force . He goes for the preliminary interview by the British Resident for joining the Indian Air Force Volunteer Reserve (which later became the RIAF) .Selected , Idris is sent to the Madras Flying Club before proceeding to Walton , Lahore and then to the Elementary Flying Training School Begumpet for further flying .Here young Idris is awarded the trophy for 'best' simulated forced landing.Idris finishes his training at Ambala (Audax and Hart) and is commissioned on 26 January 1942 .His first posting is to Karachi , Drigh Road .It was here that the future Chief of the Indian Air Force gets a 'severe reprimand ' and a fine of Rs 35/-for losing his service revolver (stolen with his bag from under his seat while travelling by train on leave).
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