The Daily Nash-on

a mindstream from just another statistic…

Something lacking…

with 3 comments

Yes, I know, as a country we are successful. But when you look at other countries that are just as successful in any field, do you feel there is something that Indians lack ? Something that allowed us to come this far since the independence, but it still too rare to give us the edge?

Why is it that there are activists like Medha Patkar interfering with any project that will obviously benefit more that it causes inconviniences to?
Here is an interesting story, which is at best an insightful true story about the Indian spirit that I am talking about, and at worst, untrue but a good read.

Right back in 1947, when India became independent, there were a few young Indian scientists, who were looking far beyond the then almost achieved goal of independence. One of them was Dr. Vikram Sarabhai who we today herald as the Father of the Indian Space Program. To those who do not know, only a handful of nations possess technology to provide access to space and it is to Dr. Sarabhai’s that we are one of those nations.

His greatest contribution was the establishment of the space program in its infancy. The first thing he required was a research facility. Of course making such a large facility involved a lot of space, and the most ideal location (in terms of equator-relative position, climate, logistics etc. ) had a problem, there was a village of about 40 houses in the middle of it.

Dr. Sarabhai , in a manner unknown to today’s government workers, personally went to the village to find out what could be done. But Indian villages being what they are, he could not find any forum to address the people of the village. He roamed the village unsucessful at communicating and finally a little frustrated. Finally he met the church pastor , who asked him to come on Sunday, where the Kerelite-Christian villagers would gather for mass.

Dr. Sarabhai, ignoring the fact that Sunday was in fact a non-working day did turn up at Sunday mass and waited until it was over. People stared at stranger, who came in a government car , dressed in a shirt and suspiciously English trousers.
The Doctor, in turn expected a long afternoon, full of argument and negotiation.
The pastor called him to the front after the mass and spoke “This man here is Dr. Sarabhai. He is a great scientist of our country and wants to make a facility so that our country may study and reach the stars. There is only a problem, he insists he must build this facility right here, on our village, and that means we must move away. Are you ready to give up your homes so that he may build his facility here ?”

Dr. Sarabhai was about to begin his speech to convince the villagers, fully expecting a commotion to begin at the mention of giving up their homes.

Instead , he heard the villagers’ unanimous decision. The church air resonated with one word : “Amen.”

This unquestioned support of the villagers and Dr. Sarabhai’s dedication has resulted in the “Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre”, ISRO’s single largest facility, near Trivandrum providing the technology base for launcher & propulsion development.

Is this willingness to progress and to support progressive paths missing in the India of the 21st century? People of the Narmada Bachao Aandolan genre, do you see what you are doing ?


Written by Nash

April 1, 2005 at 1:43 am

Posted in Uncategorized

3 Responses

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  1. hey..
    infact the church still is a part of the complex…


    April 1, 2005 at 12:19 pm

  2. Cuzz…things are showing up..its not as bad. I am not too sure about the research institutes. But the fact remains is that the IT industry coupled with others is really giving hope. Secondly the progressive reforms that the Indian government has passed about dual citizenship etc will benefit the country. Now India only needs to market itself better…and we are headed towards a powerful economy. Lets see how it goes. Rugved.


    April 1, 2005 at 2:44 pm

  3. I completely agree with your stand on the narmada issue … not just because of what you’ve said .. but, because I’ve been constantly reading a lot of matter on this issue …

    P.S.: some time back I read a book on this narmada issue .. very critically written , i remember telling you about it .. i’ll get it for you some day.


    May 22, 2005 at 12:24 pm

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