We have grown up listening to its name, we have heard its legend through the years and like every Indian, our chests filled with pride whenever the name, INS Vikrant was talked about. On this Republic Day, we bring across for you the brief history of an icon, history of Indian Navy's first Aircraft Carrier in 1961. Born by the name Hercules, and designed for the British Royal Navy during the times of the World War II, the aircraft carrier destiny had an Indian flag in it. When after the end of the World War II and thus she never did duty for the British, the work on the then Hercules was suspended for future use, it was bought by India for its Navy.
Indian Navy, purchased the aircraft carrier in 1957 when it's construction was incomplete and ordered modifications on the original design which took 4 more years to complete with addition of an angled deck, incorporation of steam catapults alongwith a modified island. It was commissioned to the Indian Navy after being renamed 'Vikrant' on March 4th, 1961 by the then Indian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Vijaylakshmi Pandit in Belfast. Vikrant was captained by Captain Pritam Singh who became the first commanding officer of the carrier.
The name Vikrant was taken from the word, "VikrДЃnta" meaning "stepping beyond", i.e. "courageous" or "bold" and it was a Majestic-Class aircraft of the Indian Navy. INS Vikrant played a major role in creating a Naval blockade on East Pakistan during the Indo-Pakistan war of 1971, and that too after fighting the war with a despite a cracked boiler about which you can read in detail on INS Vikrant R11 page on Wikipedia. The iconic war hero, INS Vikrant got major additions through her time of service with the Indian Navy, in fact Vikrant was India's only aircraft carrier for over twenty years, however, by the time early 1990s arrived her constantly degrading condition meant she was effectively out of service and after a legendary time in service, she was finally formally decommissioned on 31 January 1997.
Then onwards from 1997 to the year 2012, Vikrant was preserved as a museum ship in Cuffe parade, Mumbai, however, unfortunately it was formally closed in 2012 due to safety concerns. Then came a rather sad but expected turn in the history of INS Vikrant when in January 2014, a company by the name Darukhana Ship-Breaker bought the Naval legend through an online auction, and she was sent for preparations to be broken up. There were a number of PIL's filled in the Honourable Supreme Court of India that challenged Vikrant's sale and subsequent scrapping, but on August 14th 2014, the PIL was rejected and that cleared the way for the scrapping of an old war hero. After all clearances, Supreme Court gave the final approval for the scrapping of Indian first Aircraft Carrier on November 12th, 2014 and its scrapping began on November 22nd, 2014 and was completed in later part of 2015. But it was not the end of the legend for there was more to its destiny, for the Pune based Motorcycle Manufacturing behemoth wanted to have a say in the story of the legend that was, INS Vikrant......
Today, on January 26th, 2016 when India celebrates its 67th Republic Day, Bajaj has released a teaser video for what is going to be an unveil on February 1st, 2016 and as per Bajaj Auto, the all new bike has been inspired not just by the Legend of the INS Vikrant but the bike has born out of the metal from the Aircraft Carrier itself, meaning that the 'Bajaj V' bears in itself a small but significant part of the iconic history of Independent India and we are not just proud of Bajaj Auto but are also thrilled for what is to come.
Not much is evident about the bike from the teaser Image, but it is for certain looks a lot like the rumoured 150cc commuter Bajaj has been testing for some time now, and which has been spied quite a lot of times recently. The bike seems to carry a retro laid back classic naked style and we could not help but wonder that the silhouette of the bike resembles a lot to the Bajaj Boxer 150 Cafe racer concept that Bajaj had showcased at the Turkey Motor Expo back in March 2015. The similarities do not end there, as this all new bike with an all new name (that is being rumoured to be 'Champion') is said to arrive with a 150cc engine which is a detuned unit from the Discover 150.
All this has not just touched our Patriot chords big time but also marks a turning point in the recent history of Bajaj Auto as a motorcycle maker who has lost decent market share over last couple or so years ago and if this is how Bajaj a decided to declare its all out war for market domination, then this is going to be a great story to watch unfold.