the handlebar moustache club
Support for Joynath Victor De

Handlebar Club member Mr. De was, and hopefully will once again become, a flight purser with Indian Airlines Limited.  However, in January 1999 he was withdrawn from flying duties because of his handlebar moustache.  Then, in January 2001, he was forced into compulsory retirement by the airline because he continued to refuse to reduce the size of his moustache.

As a result, he was forced to take his employers to court, and the good news was that he won, as reported in the following press cutting, taken from the Indian newspaper "The Telegraph" dated 8th February 2002.

Press Clipping

A fuller report can also be found on the BBC web site

However, the bad news is that, although Mr De appeared to have won the legal battle against Indian Airlines Ltd. when the Calcutta High Court was pleased to quash all the actions of Indian Airlines Ltd against him, that was not the end of Mr De's problems.  Mr De has NOT been reinstated, because Indian Airlines Ltd. have acquired a stay on the order of justice Aloke Chakravarty, which means that they have been able to go ahead with retiring Mr De and he is now without income while proceedings continue.  He is going to be involved in more costs, while I.A.L. of course are financed by the public exchequer.

We are therefore requesting that as many people as possible should send e-mail messages to the Chairman of Indian Airlines Limited at asking that the airline should accept the court ruling, and that the action against Mr Joynath Victor De should be halted and that all the privileges and facilities that he was enjoying until January, 1999 should be restored.
( It would be nice if you would also send a copy of your message to Mr De at )


Some further information that you might like to include in your e-mail:-

We know that the other employees of Indian Airlines Ltd. are fully in sympathy with Mr De, but we believe that he is the victim of a personal grudge.  Due to the action taken against him by Indian Airlines Ltd. for keeping his moustache, Mr De and his family have suffered tremendously, mentally as well as financially.

The Handlebar Club has members world-wide, and exists to encourage the wearing of the handlebar moustache.   We have members who hold positions in a wide variety of occupations for whom a handlebar moustache is an asset to their business life.  Many of us find that our moustaches make us readily recognisable and hence more easily able to strike up a positive relationship with customers.  We feel that, in the same way, Mr De's moustache can only help to make him a big asset to the airline.

Another of our members who is a policeman in the United States, faced a similar court action with his employers for wearing a long moustache.  The courts there also found in his favour and he was re-instated and continues to make a success of his career.

It seems particularly surprising that antipathy to the moustache should arise in India, because, according to the Guinness Book of Records, the holders of the record for the longest moustache in the world have for several years been Indian Gentlemen.  While in no way seeking to achieve such an extravagant outcome, Mr De is following in a respected Indian tradition.

We feel sure that , when re-instated, Mr De with his impressive moustache will be a great credit to Indian Airlines.
click for e-mail to Indian Airlines

UPDATE  6th January 2003
I have received an e-mail message from Mr. De thanking us for the our support.  He writes:-

"My dear friends,

Happy new year & seasons greetings.

You may be aware that after more than thirty-three years of service I have been suffering unemployment since March 2002 - for sporting a handlebar moustache.  Can some kind person show a feeling of sympathy and offer any kind of employment enabling me to fight this insult and to help with the bringing up of my 13 year old son.

Please contact <> or <>

Warm regards

Joynath Victor De"

If you haven't sent a message to Indian Airlines yet, please do so NOW!  It isn't too late to help.  And, of course, if you can help Mr. De to find some temporary employment, that would be even better.