Bikers’ balance leaves Obama breathless


NEW DELHI: At 22, Jeetendra Singh revved up his 100CC bike in Morena, Madhya Pradesh, trying to impress locals. Fourteen years later, riding a 350CC bike as a constable with BSF’s motorcycle contingent at the R-Day parade, he impressed the most powerful man in the world, Barack Obama.

Obama was so impressed with the acrobatic skills of the contingent that he gave the team thumbs up during the parade and later at the Indo-US business meet, said, “I’ll not ride another bike again after watching those incredible acrobats.” Singh says he never imagined the fantasy that drew him to BSF’s bike unit would culminate in such a grand recognition.

But before Obama’s thumbs went up on Rajpath, 67 men from the contingent called Janbaaz went through 335 hours of gruelling training suffering 60 injuries and countless nervous moments.

Such was the pressure that despite extra hours of practice and meticulous upkeep of the bikes, a puja was performed to get the Gods on the team’s side.

“Two Brahmin jawans from our team performed a puja. You need luck on your side for the kind of stunts we perform,” said team leader Inspector Amit Kumar. Stunts such as 39 men riding nine bikes in pyramid formation or seven forming a peacock on a bike require concentration, skill and practice.

The team has an entry in the Limca Book of Records.

Started in 1990 to showcase the brave and adventurous spirit of BSF men Janbaaz performs every alternate Republic Day. This rule was broken for Obama. “The DG (DK Pathak) was insistent that we perform,” said BSF IG (operations) Rajiv Krishna.