Mathunny Mathews

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Mathunny Mathews
Bornc. 1936
Died20 May 2017 (aged 80–81)
Known forPlaying a key role in evacuation 170,000 Indians from Kuwait during Invasion of Kuwait

Mathunny Mathews (Toyota Sunny) (1936-2017)[1] was an Indian, a resident in Kuwait and was one of the people credited with the safe airlift evacuation of about 170,000 Indians from Kuwait during the 1990 Invasion of Kuwait, which is hailed as the world's largest civilian evacuation in history.[2]

Early life[edit]

Matthews was born in 1936. He hails from Kerala (Eraviperoor), Kumbanad, India and was popularly known as Toyota Sunny, owing to his work in Kuwait with the Toyota agency owned by the Al-Sayer Group. He retired in 1989 as its MD. During the early phase of industrialization in Kuwait, Matthews had reached Kuwait by ship in 1956 as a prospective immigrant for employment. He was also the chairman of the Jabriya Indian School in Kuwait and one of the founding members of the Indian Art’s Circle, a widely recognized cultural association of all Indian expatriates in Kuwait.[3]

Indian Airlift Evacuation[edit]

With the help of Mathunny Mathews, the airlift of Indians was carried out from 13 August to 11 October 1990 after the Invasion of Kuwait. Air India holds the Guinness Book of World Records for the most people evacuated by a civil airliner as a result of this effort. The operation was carried out during the Persian Gulf War in 1990 to evacuate Indian expatriates from Kuwait and Iraq. It is believed to be the largest civilian evacuation in history.[4][5][6][7] The Indians based in Kuwait also helped in the evacuation efforts.[8] Leading daily Times of India reported that Kuwait-based Malayali entrepreneur Mathunny Mathews (also known as Toyota Sunny) duly supported by Harbhajan Singh Vedi, played a stellar role in co-ordinating the evacuation operation by meeting Indian ambassador in Baghdad and overseeing the transport of thousands of Indians to Amman via Baghdad by bus after striking a deal with Iraqi transporters, Indian authorities and UN.[9] On 22 January 2016, Airlift, a Hindi film playing Akshay Kumar as Ranjit Katyal, a fictional character somewhat merged character based on Mathunny Mathews and Harbhajan Singh Vedi was released.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "Mathunny Mathews, the Real-life Hero of 'Airlift', Dies in Kuwait". News18. 21 May 2017. Retrieved 29 September 2021.
  2. ^ "Airlift: Akshay Kumar's next a thriller of the biggest human evacuation - Times of India". Retrieved 26 January 2016.
  3. ^ "Airlifted from Kuwait". The Hindu. 27 January 2016. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 1 February 2016.
  4. ^ Rohan Venkataramakrishnan. "The Berlin airlift was remarkable, but the largest civilian evacuation in history is by India The Berlin airlift was remarkable, but the largest civilian evacuation in history is by India". Retrieved 27 January 2016.
  5. ^ Singh, K.Gajendra (24 February 2003). PROPAGANDA WARS: The decline and fall of western media Archived 2012-03-08 at the Wayback Machine. South Asia Analysis Group.
  6. ^ "Did You Know That The Largest Air Evacuation In History Was Done By India?". The Better India. 18 February 2015. Retrieved 27 January 2016.
  7. ^ "Airlift: Akshay Kumar's next a thriller of the biggest human evacuation". The Times of India. Retrieved 27 January 2016.
  8. ^ " - Akshay Kumar's 'Airlift' recounts the real hero 'Toyota Sunny' in Kuwait". Retrieved 26 January 2016.
  9. ^