Gunslinger Mooch! The Face of New India
   08-Apr-2019
India’s young hero Abhinandan Varthaman has kicked off a new trend. The Gunslinger mooch! And India’s youth are lapping it up
Devdas Shivam
 
India’s Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, who recently shot to national fame, has sparked off a fashion frenzy among the fashionable Indian youth brigade. His trade mark “Gunslinger” mooch has become a rage in the country, with young Indian men proudly sporting his famous moustache. 

 
The Gunslingers. The face of New India 
 
35-year-old Abhinandan from Chennai emerged as a national hero, when his MiG-2000 Bison was shot down and he was held captive by Pakistan Air Force in Pakistan Occupied Jammy & Kashmir (PoJ&K) last month. Millions of distraught Indians watched him nervously when he was paraded on Pakistani TV. Later, his video went viral on social media. Millions of people, who watched him all over the world, were impressed with his uber cool and devil-may-care attitude to his tormentors.
People who used to ask for Bollywood star Ajay Devgan’s Simha moustache are asking for Abhinandan’s GunslingerIn the face of extreme danger to his life in enemy territory, Abhinandan captured the imagination of millions of people all over the world. His exemplary courage and his ‘presence of mind’ catapulted him to the stratosphere of fame in India and abroad, including Pakistan. Abhinandan has been hailed as a hero by many after his jet was shot down over PoK. He reportedly downed an advanced F-16 fighter jet of the Pakistan Air Force, though denied by the Pakistanis.
 
 
Mooch nahi toh, kuch bhi nahi, declared an Amul commercial 
 
India was shocked by a video on social media that showed him captured and punched by a local mob. The video was deleted shortly after twitter exploded with adverse comments from India and elsewhere. But in another video Pakistan’s interior ministry released of him in custody. He appeared cool and calm and sipping tea. When asked by the Pakistani army about his mission, a cool and confident reply, “I am sorry! I am not supposed to tell you this, Major!” has became an instant hit in India with many followers tweeting about in parody. Despite his 24 hours ordeal at the hand of his tormentors, he has become a symbol of peace between the two countries for many on both sides, while his ‘gunslinger’ mooch has become a symbol national fervour for many twitter users replacing their profile pic with his moustche or even his pic.
  
His trademark moustche has inspired many men to redesign and sport a new look after India’s newest hero’s handlebar moustache. One couple even named their newborn baby after Abhinandan.
Today, India's fashionable youth brigade are smitten by his Abhi's trade mark mooch, which has kicked off a fashion trend among Indian men.
 
Inspired by Mr Varthaman’s whiskers, even the irrepressible Amul ran a commercial showing a girl drinking a glass of Amul milk and ending up with an Abhinandan ‘milky mooch’ on her face. The commercial ends with the slogan, “Mooch nahin toh, kuch nahi.” That explains why so many of our youth have to his handlebar mooch in a big way.
Just like PM Modi’s “Main bhi Chowkidar Hun’ hugely popular campaign, with twitter users changing their name to chowkidar, Abhinandan’s fans too were taking to his distinct mooch in a big way, photoshopping their new twitter profile. There were even a scores of fake or parody accounts of Abhinandan which prompted the government to issue a warning recently asking them desist from creating fake accounts after Abhinandan.
 
The hashtag #GunslingerMooch trended briefly after his video went viral on the internet. And so did hundreds of twitter profiles with many twitter users proudly sporting his 'gunslinger' moustache on their profile pics.
An enterprising barber shop in Bengaluru is now offering “Gunslinger” moustache to its customers. People who once asked for Bollywood star Ajay Devgan’s Simha moustache are now asking for ‘Gunslinger’ moustache, thanks to Abhinandan popularity.
 
When Abinandan was released after an inordinate of seveal hours late at night, there waited a huge a festival crowd at the Wagah border waiting to welcome the hero back home. As usual,
inspired by his nonchalant demeanour towards his captors, PM Modi tweeted, “Welcome home, Wing Commander Abhinandan! The Nation is proud of your exemplary courage.”
 
Fuelled by nationalist fervour, patrioritic Indians are now identifying themselves with Modi’s Hindutva, to express their deep anger at fake media and the pseudo seculars leftists holding the country to ransom. After a brief downward trend in Modi’s popularity in eary January, when Congress President Rahul Gandhi registering an upward swing, the Modi juggernaut seems unstoppable. Clearly, the nation is very gungho about Modi and Naya Bharat has fuelled the counry’s imagination. And the youth see in Modi an able and decisive Prime Minister who can destroy the terror factories in Pakistan, Abhinandan is the new face of a Naya Bharat.
(The writer is a consultant, based in Chennai)