Proving the mettle, sharing the credit

Shiban Khaibri
Can we not safely deduce that despair and despondency in the wake of ”barely missing though being near to it” in 2019 space expedition of landing on the moon , had inherent lesson of “try try again” – the lesson which the brave, talented, hardworking and highly inspired treat as more than success. Recall when on July 7, 2019 – ISRO Chief K .Sivan cried and even sobbed for not meeting with the planned success of landing of Chandrayan-2 , how the Prime Minister present on the spot gave a tight hug to and consoled him and advised the scientists there not to get disheartened by the hurdles faced as “there will be a new dawn”. Having got inspiration , support and encouragement as also recognition, the scientists there and then, pledged to make it to the target in a splendid way. Indian scientists are really talented. Failures and mistakes and errors experienced last time in 2019, therefore, only proved the proverbial strength and success as the adage is that “Failures are the stepping stones to success”. Churchill had aptly said that “Success is an ability to go from one failure to another , without any loss of exuberance and failure is not falling down but staying down” and failure is an opportunity to look at our mistakes and areas we lag. Our scientists proved it and asserted that they would make the country proud and they did it this time . We, the countrymen, are , therefore, proud of them especially looking to women scientists , 109 of whom are said to have played a critical role in conceptualising , designing , testing, executing and following up closely the recent very successful mission. They have , undoubtedly left their mark on ISRO’s Lunar Mission of Chandrayan-3, deserving to be known as “Vaigyanik Veeranganas” or scientist amazons – scientist adventuresses . That way , we could also showcase to the world the extent of empowerment of Indian women and the heights of the levels of science , technology , research and knowledge reached by them in every field including Indian Defence .
Chandrayan-3 splendidly landing on Moon, as billions across the world watched, second by second , on August 23, especially in the context of the ISRO’s aim to tread a path ”less (read not ) travelled by and that made all the difference..” It can , therefore, authoritatively be said that all Indian scientists are talented. They proved their mettle even during the century’s worst challenge to human lives – COVID -19 by making two indigenous vaccines at shortest notice , the success of which really baffled the world . Anyway, who could believe that India could have such a scientific talent and technical dexterity and in abundance in the country to create history of the sorts by accomplishing a feat which no other country has so far been successful in or even in having attempted at all. Yes – landing on the “unexplored” most challenging South pole of the moon could be possible because of our scientists of whom the entire country is proud. The fact of the matter is that while the entire nation plunged in celebrations as the feat increasingly enhances our prestige internationally coupled with providing the country an entry into the exclusive elite club of countries of moon explorers as its 4th member but the only and the first country in having been successful in landing on the south pole of the moon, but at the same time , though in the instant case unexpectedly, cheap politics and un-accrued credit game took place which even sporadically continues even now .
The reason is the deep rooted and ingrained hate for the Prime Minister and the BJP. The hate is to this extent that even for such a superb national achievement , not a single political leader in the opposition proved magnanimous and even less munificent in congratulating the PM along with the ISRO scientists since the PM happens to be directly overseeing its functioning and operations . Mr. Nehru , the country’s first Prime Minister , undoubtedly, had preference for adopting science and technology as a means of development and in 1962 , on the advice and much efforts by Dr. Vikram Sarabhai , The Indian National Committee for Space Research (INCOSBAR) was set up. However, at that stage, the organisation, the infrastructure , financial / budgetary support like fundamental factors were in quite infancy , if not in a disorganised manner and there was no dedicated ministry either to look into the space programmes and wide research in the field but still the fact cannot be sidelined that efforts to build rockets were initiated and upper atmospheric research made a start. Even such elementary steps and efforts cannot, by any logic, be trivialised. That is and should be the analysis with an open mind and sans any prejudice.
Having said that, still how can the name of Mr. Nehru only be drawn by Congress leadership for the stupendous and enviably magnificent achievement of ISRO scientists through the launch and successful landing of Chandrayan -3 on the moon especially in the context of Nehru having left for heavenly abode 59 years ago. Why is Congress repeatedly harping on Nehru and family even to the extent of causing irritation – be it getting independence from the British, Nehru got it. Be it medical institutes – Nehru did it. Be it Planning and Development- Nehru did it. Be it education and Universities – Nehru did it. Be it sports and sports stadiums – Nehru did it. The list is too long to be detailed out in these lines. One fails to comprehend as to how Nehru Ji is accredited for Chandrayan-3 successful space mission looking to the statements of Congress leaders. Why not PM Narendra Modi under whose motivational and inspirational leadership the space mission met with such a success, of course, through the efforts of our scientists ? Can anyone clarify as to whether ISRO or the scientists on their own could have decided about the mission and the launch? Is it that the PM and his government had no role , absolutely no involvement , no participation and no activity in the instant space mission? Was it not asked for and directed by the government under PM Modi? Did not the present government provide reasonably sufficient budgetary allocation of nearly Rs.13000 crore in 2022-23 as against Rs. 4074 crore in 2008-09 ? It would not be any exaggeration to admit that the space mission meeting with such a success has , perhaps, upset many opposition leaders who are in conglomeration in I . N . D . I . A .
One “Veteran” Congress leader and former Union Minister found the occasion , instead, to discover that P. V . Narsimha Rao was the first BJP Prime Minister of India who according to him led the country from the secular path to the communal path. Another Congress leader found the opportunity to say that the engineers who made Chandrayan -3 launch vehicle were not paid their salaries for months together. Another Congress leader in Rajasthan says , ” I salute all our passengers who have been sent in Chandrayan” . So much upset were some leaders that the conceptualize(r) and architect of I .N. D. I. A. – Nitish Kumar was found completely clueless about the successful mission and had to be “aided and advised” for rolling out a statement. He cannot be blamed as “more important mission” of dislodging electorally PM Modi in 2024 is looked after by him “to save India and Indian democracy”. Mamta Ji recalled how in Indira J’s time Rakesh Roshan described India from the spaceship. Sharma she described as Roshan. Dynamic RJD leader and Deputy Chief Minister Bihar lamented that Modi Ji had cut the budget of ISRO. Another RJD leader hailed and congratulated NASA. Samajwadi Chief said, “Chand Mubarak” only looking to 2024 massive challenge. So, all the sympathies are not for the PM who remotely was not mentioned by anyone in the context of such a great national event and achievement but for all those who did it intentionally out of hatred.
Looking to the other side, had the mission again failed like Chandrayan -2 (God forbid) , in that case the position would have been the obverse – all blame only on PM Modi . It would have been argued that PM Narendra Modi for gaining publicity albeit moon landing is wasting national wealth. This amount Rs.615 crore , the budgeted cost of Chandrayan 3 , (though lower than Chandrayan-2) could have been spent on the poor people – on “Mehengai, Berozgaari , Petrol, Tomatoes,” etc etc . The fact is that the successful mission has enhanced the prestige and importance of the country globally but side by side also enhanced the popularity of the PM and his leadership. However ,it appears as if Modi Ji is saying, ” Surma-e- mufut nazar hoon , meri qeemat hai yeh , ki rahe chashem -e- khareedar pa ehsaan mera ”. Trying to interpret , “I am antimony , given free of charge . However, the gratitude of the buyer’s eye is my recompense.