It was Gabbar Singhs third time being trapped in a tunnel.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday praised the leadership of tunnel foreman Gabbar Singh Negi, who was among the 41 workers rescued on Tuesday after 17 days in the collapsed Silkyara tunnel in Uttarakhand.
Speaking with the workers a day after their rescue, the Prime Minister said Mr Negi can be the subject of a case study as he led by example and kept the spirits of the labourers high while they were trapped in the tunnel for over two weeks.
"You should be the subject of a case study by some university. It should analyse the leadership qualities of Gabber Singh Negi, an ordinary man from a village, who kept his team together even in a time of crisis," PM Modi said.
The Prime Minister also praised the "team-spirit" shown by Mr Negi and his colleague Saba Ahmad by keeping the rest of the workers calm and safe while they were stuck inside.
It was Gabbar Singh's third time being trapped in a tunnel. The experience helped as Mr Negi tried to keep the others calm and engaged during the more than 400 hours they spent in the confined space. He taught his colleagues yoga and meditation, kept them physically active and mentally engaged while efforts were on to rescue the group. On the their way out of the tunnel, Mr Negi chose to be the last to leave to ensure all his colleagues were rescued safely.
"'I am senior-most... I will be the last to come out...', this is what he told me," his brother Jaymal Singh Negi told NDTV.
Several of the rescued workers told NDTV that Mr Negi kept their hopes high while they waited patiently to be rescued. Trapped since November 12, all 41 men were safely pulled out Tuesday night after "rat hole" miners dug through the final 10-12 metres of rock and debris to reach them.