Rishi Sunak takes PM oath on Bhagwad Gita; heralds a new era in British history. Lights the Diwali Diya outside the 10 Downing street. The global Hindu has arrived. If not already with Sundar Pichchai, Satya Nadella etc., etc…
When India lost the 4th wicket I switched off tv in yesterday’s world cup T20 cricket match at MCG, Melbourne against arch rival Pakistan. Then a quick browse put the score at 80/4 with 70+ runs to score in 39 balls. Impossible but achievable I thought and went back to watching the match online. What a game of cricket that was. Virtual feast of batting from Virat Kohli who has been out of form lately. The pressure was building up immensely and the 90,000+ crowds in the stands jeered flagwaving adding to the tension in the air. After a point, it didn’t matter to me. The match was worth the money and time. Ravichandran Ashwin’s quickfire intelligence missing the wide won the match for India in the last ball. Exalted but I am no more that gung ho over cricket like I used to be once upon a time. I know this is still big Diwali 5000 wala for Indians glued to their tv screens across India. A win in the world cup mattered and more importantly against Pakistan. And today came the icing in the cake. Rishi Sunak becomes the first Indian origin prime minister of UK and media celebrates it as ‘reverse imperialism.’ Moment to cherish. 10000 wala nothing less! What a Diwali pataka!!! Brilliant fireworks. ISRO also, not to be outdone, launched a batch of 36 satellites including its heaviest for UK into space late last evening as Diwali gift for the nation! What a Deepavali India! Good job, well done! Proud of you Bharat! Happy Diwali everyone! Jai Hind!
Last night was Shiv Rathri for us Indians across the globe. Not only did the resident Indians stay awake, but also NRIs and PIOs spread across continents. The entire Indian diaspora if I may say so. Chandrayaan 2 launched July 22nd from Sriharikota, almost created history. The Lander Vikram separated from Rover Pragyan from the Chandrayaan 2 (the mother satellite in good shape orbiting the Moon) stage by stage in text book precision absolutely following the trajectory of projection. The Rough Break phase was torturous wait for even those of us with not much of astrophysics knowledge. Stage 1 of clearance success, stage 2, success, stage 3, overwhelming success… only stage 4 remained of the tension filled 15 seconds that was more like one hour when we waited with our bated breath for a signal from Vikram … but then followed a lengthy silence from the ISRO Control Room at Bangalore as the radio communication from Vikram snapped… (the landing time was calculated at 1.53 am September 7th)… a billion hearts broke as the nation plunged into despair. The grief was writ large in the faces of ISRO scientists and engineers. Chairman Dr. K Sivan who was in tears was embraced by an emotional Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi ji. What a moment to live for. The final crowing glory that was denied, no more mattered.
So is Chandrayaan 2 a failure? No way! Only 5% of the Mission was lost with losing contact with the Lander Vikram. Chandrayaan 2 will be orbiting the Moon for the next one year, its estimated life. The orbiter has already beamed pictures of space, Earth and Moon back to ISRO center. India was attempting in this second Moon Mission of ours to soft land on the polar end of the Moon where so far no other nation (of the four to five countries that have their flags on the moon already) had dared to venture. It was risky and the probability of failure was very high. It is almost the dark side of the moon. India’s first Moon mission Chandrayaan 1 landed its probe near the equator of the moon, favourite landing spot for astronauts and other landers.
Chandrayaan 2’s lander Vikram was as close as 2.1 km from the surface of the moon where it should have landed. Whether it crashed or what happened to it will be revealed only through the scientific data. It is impressive that our scientists, technicians and engineers have given us such a precision in landing. Down there lies mystery that so far mankind has not known of. Unexplored space. Simply anything is possible.
ISRO needs no intro and is much written about. So, just a pictorial journey here with ISRO that has captured the imagination of every single soul in this one billion club nation. From humble beginnings in Thumba to the present launch of Chandrayaan 2, India’s second Moon Mission to the darker side of the Moon, on the heels of Mangalyaan the Mars Mission, ISRO has come a long way. From being ridiculed and chastised for ambitious missions to being denied legit credit for original discoveries (such as water on the lunar surface by Chandrayaan 1), ISRO has not walked a bed of roses. After all, India’s first rocket was carried by bullock cart and on the pillion of a bicycle when we embarked on our space mission. ISRO has proved many critics wrong and in the interest of humanity, continues with its tradition of nationalistic and scientific pursuits undeterred by setbacks (such as a couple of unsuccessful attempts). ISRO’s Moon Mission 2 (Chandrayaan 2) cost India less than 50% of production costs for Hollywood’s ‘Avengers.’ (To be edited)