On Wings of Courage Summary, Explanation, Theme



Maharashtra State Board Class 10 English Lesson On Wings of Courage Summary, Line by Line Explanation, along with difficult word meanings from English Kumarbharati Book


On Wings of Courage – Are you looking for Theme, Summary and Lesson Explanation for Maharashtra State Board Class 10 Chapter On Wings of Courage from English Kumarbharati Book. Get Chapter Summary, Theme, Explanation along with difficult word meanings.

On Wings of Courage Maharashtra State Board Class 10 English 



On Wings of Courage Introduction

The chapter “On Wings of Courage” tells the inspiring story of Air Marshal Arjan Singh, a legendary figure in the Indian Air Force. It tells us about his remarkable career, highlighting his exceptional skills as a pilot, his astute leadership, and his unwavering dedication to his country. The chapter explores his achievements, including his role in leading the IAF during war, and the recognition he received for his service. 




Theme / Central Idea of the Lesson On Wings of Courage

Arjan Singh’s exemplary leadership, courage, and dedication transformed the Indian Air Force into a powerful force, making him a lasting symbol of inspiration.

The central idea of the lesson is as follows- 


  • Leadership –  The chapter emphasises Arjan Singh’s leadership qualities, particularly during the 1965 Indo-Pak war where he led the IAF to victory despite limitations.
  • Courage – The chapter highlights his bravery and determination throughout his career.
  • Dedication – His long service career and continuous contributions even after retirement showcase his dedication to the IAF and India.
  • Inspiration: By showcasing Arjan Singh’s achievements, the chapter aims to inspire future generations to be courageous and contribute to the well-being of the country. 




On Wings of Courage Summary 


Arjan Singh is a legend in the Indian Air Force. He reached the highest rank possible, becoming a Marshal of the Air Force!  He was a fantastic pilot who could fly over 60 different types of aircrafts. Under his guidance, the Indian Air Force became a force to be reckoned with around the world.


His journey began early when he was chosen to train at the prestigious RAF Cranwell in 1938.  By 1944, he was already a Squadron Leader in the IAF and even earned the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) for his bravery.


During the 1965 war, Arjan Singh skillfully led the Indian Air Force to victory against Pakistan.  His leadership was so impressive that he was awarded the Padma Vibhushan, a prestigious honour.


Even after retiring from the Air Force in 1969, Arjan Singh continued to serve his country.  He held important positions like Ambassador to Switzerland and Lieutenant Governor of Delhi.  Finally, in 2002, he received the ultimate recognition – becoming the first and only officer with the five-star rank of Marshal of the Air Force.




On Wings of Courage Summary in Hindi 


अर्जन सिंह भारतीय वायु सेना में एक किंवदंती हैं। वह वायु सेना के मार्शल बनकर सर्वोच्च पद तक पहुंचे। वह एक शानदार पायलट थे जो 60 से अधिक विभिन्न प्रकार के विमान उड़ा सकते थे। उनके मार्गदर्शन में, भारतीय वायु सेना दुनियाभर में एक ताकतवर ताकत बन गई।

उनकी यात्रा तब शुरू हुई जब उन्हें 1938 में प्रतिष्ठित आरएएफ क्रैनवेल में प्रशिक्षण के लिए चुना गया। 1944 तक, वह भारतीय वायुसेना में एक स्क्वाड्रन लीडर बन गए थे और यहां तक ​​​​कि अपनी बहादुरी के लिए विशिष्ट फ्लाइंग क्रॉस (डीएफसी) भी अर्जित किया।

1965 के युद्ध के दौरान, अर्जन सिंह ने कुशलतापूर्वक भारतीय वायु सेना को पाकिस्तान के खिलाफ जीत दिलाई। उनका नेतृत्व इतना प्रभावशाली था कि उन्हें प्रतिष्ठित सम्मान पद्म विभूषण से सम्मानित किया गया।

1969 में वायु सेना से सेवानिवृत्त होने के बाद भी अर्जन सिंह अपने देश की सेवा करते रहे। वह स्विट्जरलैंड में राजदूत और दिल्ली के उपराज्यपाल जैसे महत्वपूर्ण पदों पर रहे। आख़िरकार, 2002 में, उन्हें सर्वोच्च पहचान मिली – वायु सेना के मार्शल की पाँच सितारा रैंक वाले पहले और एकमात्र अधिकारी बने।




On Wings of Courage Lesson Explanation

Air Force Marshal Arjan Singh, an icon of India’s military history, will always be remembered as a war hero who had successfully led a young IAF during the 1965 Indo-Pak war.

Word Meaning
Icon: A person or thing that is widely admired and considered to be typical or representative of something.

Explanation: Air Force Marshal Arjan Singh, a highly respected figure in India’s military past, will forever be remembered as a brave leader. During the 1965 war between India and Pakistan, he skillfully commanded the Indian Air Force, which was new at the time. His leadership during this crucial moment in history is a major reason why he is considered a hero.

The only officer to attain the highest post of Marshal, the Air Force equivalent to the Army’s five star field marshal, Singh was a fearless and exceptional pilot who had flown more than 60 different types of aircraft.

Word Meaning
Attain: To achieve something.
Equivalent: Something that is the same or nearly the same as something else in meaning, function, or value.

Explanation: Arjan Singh became the only officer in the Indian Air Force to ever reach the highest rank, Marshal of the Air Force. This position is equal to the five-star rank of Field Marshal in the Army. Singh wasn’t just a leader, though. He was also a skilled and courageous pilot who had the experience of flying over 60 different types of aircraft throughout his career.

He played a major role in transforming the IAF into one of the most potent air forces globally and the fourth biggest in the world. “His contribution to the Indian Air Force is monumental to the least. The IAF grew with him. He was the epitome of military leadership in classical sense and it is, therefore, not surprising that he was honoured with the rank of Air Force Marshal,” former Vice Chief of IAF Kapil Kak said.

Word Meaning
Potent: Having great power, force, or effectiveness.
Monumental: Very impressive or important.
Epitome: A perfect example of a particular quality or type.
Classical: Traditional or typical.

Explanation: Arjan Singh significantly improved the Indian Air Force (IAF) and made it a very powerful force on the world stage. In fact, under his leadership, the IAF became the fourth largest air force globally.
A retired high-ranking IAF officer, Kapil Kak, stated that Arjan Singh’s contributions to the IAF were huge. He said that the IAF grew and developed alongside Arjan Singh’s own career. Mr. Kak also described Arjan Singh as a perfect example of what a military leader should be, which is why it makes perfect sense that he was ultimately given the highest rank of Marshal of the Air Force.

Singh was honoured with the rank of Marshal on the Republic Day in 2002. Sam Hormusji Framji Jamshedji Manekshaw and K M Cariappa were the only two army generals honoured with the rank of Field Marshal.

Explanation: Arjan Singh received a very special honour on Republic Day in 2002. He was officially recognized as a Marshal of the Indian Air Force. This is the highest rank achievable in the Air Force. This rank is similar to the honour of Field Marshal in the Indian Army.
In the past, only two army generals, Sam Manekshaw and K M Cariappa, had been awarded the prestigious rank of Field Marshal. So, Arjan Singh’s recognition as Marshal was a very special event, making him the first and only person to hold this highest rank in the Indian Air Force.

Known as a man of few words, Singh was not only a fearless pilot but also had profound knowledge about air power and applied it in a wide spectrum of areas. Singh had assiduously led the IAF during the 1965 war and denied success to Pakistani Air Force though it was better equipped with American support. “His most outstanding contribution was during that war,” said Kak.

Word Meaning
Assiduously: In a careful and persistent way.
Spectrum: A wide range of something.
Denied success: Prevented from achieving something they wanted.

Explanation: Arjan Singh was known for being quiet. He was not only a fearless pilot, but also possessed a deep understanding of how to use air power effectively. This knowledge was valuable in many different situations throughout his career.
During the 1965 war, Singh’s leadership was crucial. Even though the Pakistani Air Force had better equipment and American support, Singh’s determined leadership prevented them from achieving their goals. A former colleague, Kak, even said that Singh’s contributions during this war were his most impressive achievements.

Commending his role in the war, Y B Chavan, the then Defence Minister had written: “Air Marshal Arjan Singh is a jewel of a person, quite efficient and firm; unexcitable but a very able leader.”

Word Meaning
Jewel: A valuable or precious person or thing.
Unexcitable: Calm and not easily upset or worried.

Explanation: Praising Arjan Singh’s contribution to the war, the Indian Defense Minister at that time, Y B Chavan, wrote very positively about him. He described Air Marshal Singh as an excellent person with strong qualities.Minister Chavan said that while Arjan Singh remained calm under pressure, he was also a very skilled leader.

In 1944, the Marshal had led a squadron against the Japanese during the Arakan Campaign, flying close air support missions during the crucial Imphal Campaign and later assisted the advance of the Allied Forces to Yangoon (formerly Rangoon).

Word Meaning
Squadron: A small group of airplanes or warships that operate together as a unit.
Close air support missions: Air attacks that provide support to ground troops.
Crucial: Extremely important.
Allied Forces: The countries that fought together against Germany, Italy, and Japan in World War II.

Explanation: The passage describes Arjan Singh’s significant contributions during World War II, specifically in 1944. It highlights his leadership role, stating that he commanded a squadron of airplanes. These forces fought against the Japanese during the Arakan Campaign. They participated in critical air support missions during the Imphal Campaign. Their efforts continued beyond that battle, as they later assisted the Allied Forces in the city of Yangoon, formerly known as Rangoon.

In recognition of his feat, he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) on the spot by the Supreme Allied Commander of South East Asia, the first Indian pilot to have received it. Singh was selected for the Empire Pilot training course at Royal Air Force (RAF) Cranwell in 1938 when he was 19 years old. He retired from service in 1969.

Word Meaning
Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC): A prestigious medal awarded to pilots in the British Commonwealth air forces for bravery and skill in combat flying.
Supreme Allied Commander: The highest-ranking military leader of a group of allied forces.
Empire Pilot training course: An advanced pilot training program offered by the Royal Air Force (RAF) during the British Empire era.

Explanation: Arjan Singh was awarded the prestigious Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) medal for his contribution in World War II. This award was given directly by the high-ranking military leader in Southeast Asia during World War II. Arjan Singh was the first Indian pilot to receive this honour.
At the young age of 19, Arjan Singh was selected for the esteemed Empire Pilot training program at the Royal Air Force (RAF) Cranwell. He retired from his long and dedicated service in 1969.

Singh was born on April 15, 1919, in Lyalpur (now Faislabad, Pakistan), and completed his education at Montgomery (now Sahiwal, Pakistan). His first assignment on being commissioned was to fly Westland Wapiti biplanes in the North-Western Frontier Province as a member of the No.1 RIAF Squadron.

Word Meaning
Biplanes: An airplane with two sets of wings, one above the other.
North-Western Frontier Province: A historical region in present-day Pakistan.

Explanation: Arjan Singh was born in 1919 in Lyalpur, a city that is now the city of Faislabad in Pakistan. He also received his education there, in Montgomery (now Sahiwal).
When Arjan Singh was formally appointed as an officer, his first assignment involved flying Westland Wapiti biplanes. He flew them as part of the No. 1 RIAF Squadron in the North-Western Frontier Province.

After a brief stint with the newly formed No. 2 RIAF Squadron where the Marshal flew against the tribal forces, he later moved back to No.1 Sqn as a Flying Officer to fly the Hawker Hurricane. He was promoted to the rank of Squadron Leader in 1944.

Word Meaning
Hawker Hurricane: A British fighter aircraft used extensively during World War II.

Explanation: Arjan Singh’s career in the Indian Air Force progressed quickly. After a short period serving with the newly created No. 2 RIAF Squadron, where he flew missions against tribal forces, he returned to No. 1 Squadron. There, he held the rank of Flying Officer and flew Hawker Hurricane airplanes. His accomplishments were recognized in 1944 when he was promoted to the higher rank of Squadron Leader.

For his role in successfully leading the squadron in combat, he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) in 1944. On August 15, 1947, he achieved the unique honour of leading a fly-past of over a hundred IAF aircraft over the Red Fort in Delhi.

Explanation: In 1944, Arjan Singh was awarded the prestigious Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC). This medal is given to pilots who demonstrate exceptional bravery and skill during combat.
On August 15, 1947, India gained independence. Arjan Singh had the unique honour of leading a spectacular fly-past over the Red Fort in Delhi. This fly-past involved a very large formation of over one hundred Indian Air Force aircraft.

After his promotion to the rank of Wing Commander, he attended the Royal Staff College at the UK. Immediately after Indian independence, he commanded Ambala in the rank of Group Captain. In 1949, he was promoted to the rank of Air Commodore and took over as Air Officer Commanding (AOC) of an operational command, which later came to be known as Western Air Command.

Word Meaning
Commanded: Led or was in charge of a military unit or location.
Air Commodore: A commissioned officer rank in the Air Force, senior to Group Captain.
Air Officer Commanding (AOC): An officer in charge of an operational command within the Air Force.

Explanation: After receiving a promotion to Wing Commander, he further distinguished himself by attending the esteemed Royal Staff College in the United Kingdom. After India’s independence, he was entrusted with the command of Ambala city, holding the rank of Group Captain. His dedication and skills were further recognized in 1949 with a promotion to Air Commodore. He was now the Air Officer of an operational command within the Air Force. This command later became known as Western Air Command.

Singh had the distinction of having the longest tenure as AOC of an operational base, initially from 1949-1952 and then again from 1957-1961. After his promotion to the rank of Air Vice Marshal, he was appointed as the AOC-in-C of an operational command.

Word Meaning
Tenure: The length of time someone holds a position.
Operational command: A unit within the Air Force responsible for active military operations.
AOC-in-C: An abbreviation for “Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief,” a senior officer in charge of a major operational command.

Explanation: Arjan Singh held the record for serving the longest time as the Air Officer Commanding (AOC) of an operational base in the Indian Air Force. This impressive achievement happened twice. His first term as AOC lasted from 1949 to 1952, and then he returned to the position again from 1957 to 1961.
After Arjan Singh was promoted to the higher rank of Air Vice Marshal, he was given the even more important role of AOC-in-C of an operational command. This means he became the overall leader in charge of an entire operational area within the Air Force.

Towards the end of the 1962 war, he was appointed as the Deputy Chief of the Air Staff and he became the Vice Chief of the Air Staff in 1963. He was the overall commander of the joint air training exercise “Shiksha” held between IAF, RAF (Royal Air Force) and RAAF (Royal Australian Air Force).

Word Meaning
Joint air training exercise: A military training exercise involving air forces from multiple countries.

Explanation: As the 1962 war neared its end, Arjan Singh was entrusted with the significant position of Deputy Chief of the Air Staff. His dedication and leadership continued to be recognized, and just a year later, he received an even higher promotion. In 1963, Arjan Singh was appointed Vice Chief of the Air Staff. He was the overall commander for a joint air training exercise known as “Shiksha.” This training exercise involved forces from India, Britain’s Royal Air Force (RAF), and Australia’s Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).

On August 1, 1964, in the rank of Air Marshal, the Marshal of the Air Force Arjan Singh took over reins of IAF, at a time when it was still rebuilding itself and was gearing up to meet new challenges.

Word Meaning
Reins: Control or leadership (Here, it refers to taking charge of the IAF)
Gearing up: Preparing for something

Explanation: On August 1, 1964, while holding the rank of Air Marshal, Arjan Singh was given the important responsibility of leading the Indian Air Force.This was a crucial time for the Air Force because it was still recovering and preparing for new challenges that might arise in the future.

Singh was the first Air Chief to keep his flying currency till his CAS rank. Having flown over 60 different types of aircraft from pre-World War II era biplanes to the more contemporary Gnats and Vampires, he has also flown in transport aircraft like the Super Constellation.

Word Meaning
Currency: Up-to-date skills or knowledge, especially in flying
Biplanes: Airplanes with two sets of wings. These were early types of airplanes
Contemporary: Modern or from the same time period

Explanation: Arjan Singh was the first Air Chief of the Indian Air Force to maintain his flying skills (known as “currency”) all the way up to this high rank. He flew over 60 different types of aircrafts in his lifetime.These included not only old-fashioned biplanes from before World War II, but also more modern jets like the Gnats and Vampires. He also has experience with transport aircraft like the Super Constellation, demonstrating the wide range of his flying experience.

In 1965, when Pakistan launched its Operation Grand Slam, with an armoured thrust targeted at the vital town of Akhnoor, Singh led IAF through the war with courage, determination and professional skill. He inspired IAF to victory, despite the constraints imposed on the full-scale use of Air Force combat power.

Word Meaning
Armoured thrust: A forceful attack using armoured vehicles like tanks
Constraints: Limitations or restrictions

Explanation: In 1965, Pakistan launched Operation Grand Slam aimed at capturing the important town of Akhnoor using armoured vehicles. In the face of this threat, Arjan Singh took charge of the Indian Air Force (IAF). Throughout the war, he demonstrated immense courage, determination, and exceptional professional skill in leading his forces. His inspiring leadership motivated the IAF to achieve victory despite limitations that may have restricted their full combat power.

Singh was awarded Padma Vibhushan for his astute leadership of the Air Force during the war. Subsequently, in recognition of the Air Force’s contribution during the war, the rank of the CAS was upgraded and Arjan Singh became the first Air Chief Marshal of the Indian Air Force.

Word Meaning
Astute: Intelligent and having good judgement
Subsequently: Happening afterwards

Explanation: Arjan Singh received the prestigious Padma Vibhushan award in recognition of his skills in leading the Air Force. Furthermore, in appreciation of the Air Force’s overall contribution during the war, the highest rank within the force, Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), was upgraded. Arjan Singh became the first person ever to hold this new and distinguished position of Air Chief Marshal in the Indian Air Force.

He remained a flyer to the end of his tenure in IAF, visiting forward bases and units and flying with the squadrons. He retired in August 1969, thereupon accepting Ambassadorship to Switzerland. He was Lieutenant Governor of Delhi from December 1989 to December 1990.

Word Meaning
Forward bases: Military bases located near the enemy territory
Squadrons: Groups of airplanes with pilots
Ambassadorship: The position of an ambassador, a high-ranking official representing their country in another country
Lieutenant Governor: A high-ranking official who governs a state or territory

Explanation: Even towards the end of his term in the Indian Air Force, Arjan Singh remained passionate about flying. He continued to visit air bases, connected with different pilot units, and even flew with them whenever possible. In 1969, he officially retired from the Air Force. His distinguished career, however, continued. He was appointed as the Ambassador to Switzerland, a position that required him to represent India in a diplomatic role. Later, he served as the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi for a year, from December 1989 to December 1990.

Having been a source of inspiration to all the personnel of Armed Forces through the years, the government conferred the rank of the Marshal of the Air Force upon Arjan Singh in January 2002, making him the first and the only ‘Five Star’ rank officer with Indian Air Force.

Word Meaning
Conferred: Awarded or bestowed an honour or title.
Personnel: The people who work for an organisation.

Explanation: Arjan Singh’s remarkable career continued to inspire generations. In recognition of his lifetime of service and achievements, the government awarded him the highest possible rank in the Air Force – Marshal of the Air Force, in January 2002. This marks his place in history as the very first and the only “Five Star” ranked officer within the Indian Air Force.



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