India has done it. Third time lucky. Chandrayaan-3, the Moon Mission of ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation) has successfully landed on the designated spot on the moon’s South Pole. It is an achievement attempted but not achieved by any other country in the world. As if to mock Russia, a pioneer in space research and technology, India’s Chandrayaan-3 successfully landed on the moon days after Russian Luna-25 spacecraft crashed into the surface of the moon during preparations to attempt a landing at the lunar South Pole. Landing failed. Rest is space history for India.
A I watched the moon odyssey of Vikram the lander, carrying Pragyan the rover, there was anxiety and hope like when I watched the earlier Moon Mission Chandrayaan-2 on July 22, 2019. It was watched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at ISRO Bengaluru. K. Sivan was the Chairman of ISRO. The ambitious mission looked headed for success. But at the last moment it failed as the lander landed with a heavy thud, not as much on the moon’s surface as on the hearts of the then ISRO Chief Sivan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the ISRO team that worked on the project and the people of India. It was a moment of despair and great disappointment.
I remember the face of Sivan writ large with sadness and eyes welling up with a sense of loss. However, it was Prime Minister Narendra Modi who rushed to console the ISRO Chief and hugged him. That was the confluence of two rivers of human emotion one rarely saw these days. Sivan was overwhelmed by the gracious gesture of the Prime Minister. In an uncontrollable emotion, tears rolled down from his eyes. So also from my eyes as I watched the happenings on my TV in July 2019.
The same emotion I experienced this time (Aug. 23, 2023), but it was positive and restrained. My eyes getting wet with joy.
I remembered the opening lines of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru’s famous Independence Day speech: “Long years ago we made a tryst with destiny and now the time comes when we shall redeem our pledge…” Yes. ISRO, now headed by its Chairman S. Somanath (Sreedhara Panicker Somanath, to give his full name) has redeemed ISRO’s pledge to ‘conquer’ moon that began with the launch of Chandrayaan-1 on Oct. 22, 2008.
Without an iota of doubt, absolutely, we Indians, 140 crore of us, must feel an amazing sense of great achievement. The scientific and technological capabilities seemed incomparable when we saw the clock-work precision with which the Chandrayaan-3 mission was executed and accomplished — to the dot. Such perfect manoeuvre, specially during those final 15 minutes of its descent, described as “15 minutes of terror.” The mission team members themselves seemed wonderstruck.
When I began to reflect on India’s performance in the field of Science and Technology after Independence in 1947, I realised that excepting Jawaharlal Nehru, we were failed by our successive Prime Ministers. Even for 1974 first Nuclear test, credit must go to Nehru, not his daughter Indira Gandhi.
Nehru took the advice of the Indian Nuclear Physicist Homi J. Bhabha and set up the Atomic Energy Commission with Bhabha as its first Chairman. The result was 1974 Nuclear Bomb Test. It was again Nehru who took the advice of the Indian Physicist and Astronomer Dr. Vikram Sarabhai and set up Committee for Space Research Organisation in 1962 which became Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in 1969. The result was Chandrayaan-3.
No Prime Ministers after Nehru had done anything worthwhile in the field of Science and Technology. It was only after 2014, when Narendra Modi became the Prime Minister, that we began to see our country, Soft State, a sleeping Asian tiger that India was, wake up and show to the world what it is capable of doing in the field of Science and Technology.
The success of Chandrayaan-3 is one such proof.
Fortuitously, now the ring master has lashed his whip and the tiger is awake! Beware, those who mock at India and those impede its unity and progress. Today the national hero is ISRO, according to the Chairman of ISRO S. Somanath. Not our film actors or politicians. And there is an upstart film hero, who is busy mocking India’s Moon Mission, auguring its failure with a cartoon titled “1st image” showing a chaiwala whose image has the likeness to former ISRO Chief K. Sivan whose Moon Mission had failed.
Yes, there are those who do not like Modi, they even hate him. It is okay. It is their choice. But should they dislike and hate the country that gives them good earth to stand on, a livelihood, liberty, opportunity and freedom to pursue their profession and happiness? No.
These people use all the avenues available under the Constitution to belittle and mock Modi and our country on frivolous grounds. They are inventing half truths, lies and spreading canards. What they can’t see with their eyes, they invent with their tongues and pen. They are intolerant of Modi and the country. God knows for what reason.
Having no achievements to show when they were in power, they are intolerant of those who achieve for the country. If they do not like Modi let them throw him out in the 2024 Parliamentary election. But let them spare the country, India that is Bharat. Let them not throw the baby out with the bath water.
March of India as a powerful country among the comity of nations has begun. Stop it if you can, you the detractors who bite the very finger that feeds you.
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