As anticipated Prime Minister Narendra Modi flew down directly to Bengaluru from Greece, where he had gone on a day-long bilateral visit after the BRICS meeting at Johannesburg to meet scientists at the Central command centre of the Indian Space Research Centre (ISRO) and congratulate them for the Chandrayaan 3’s successful landing on the Moon’s South Pole and India becoming the first nation to do so. The Opposition parties, especially the Congress, may dub the Prime Minister’s visit to the ISRO as yet another political optic. But, neither the people of the nation nor space scientists view it that way. Many consider it a great gesture as a leader who inspires the space scientists, who deserve such acknowledgment from their Prime Minister. Even after so many decades Jawaharlal Nehru is being credited for the success of ISRO as the then PM, the same way Modi also deserves to be praised as he is heading the country now. The fact remains that scientists of then and now should receive all accolades.
His emotion-filled and inspiring speech in fact shall work as a morale-booster to entire space scientists of the present and the past. This, despite the Opposition, especially the Congress unable to digest the Chandrayaan-3 success, saying it would not have happened, if the first PM, who belongs to their party, Jawaharlal Nehru, had not taken the initiative to set up institutions like the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) or ISRO and given needed impetus to the space programme. What a ridiculous and bizarre argument! Wouldn’t any other Prime Minister have shown such a gesture or initiative? Moreover, these institutions were set up close to a decade and a half or so after independence? Shouldn’t Congress also be answerable for the reasons behind Homi Baba’s suspicious death? As if this was not enough, the same Congress party has also chose to declare Jawahar Point or Jawahar Sthal, near the Shackleton Crater where the Moon Impact Probe struck the lunar surface. Later, the same party also did it again shamelessly when the first Indian Expedition to Antarctica (1981–82) discovered a rock while moving from Mauritius to Antarctica and chose to name it Indira Mount.
On the contrary, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-headed National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government of Modi, has declared that Chandrayaan-3 successfully touched the ground as the Shiv Shakti Point, and the earlier mission Chandrayaan 2, as Tiranga, explains the difference between the two political parties ‘self-interests’, minus national. Added to that, the Prime Minister declaring August 23 will be hereafter observed as National Space Day has come as icing on the cake. Never in the past, any prime minister in independent India has chosen to personally go and express his greetings as well as on behalf of the entire populace’s gratitude to the scientists who accomplished this unique feat and made India proud. This was evident from the leaders from across the globe complimenting Modi at Johannesburg during the BRICS summit. Never, such events took place nor have the Prime Ministers in the past shown such keen interest to compliment any Indian’s achievement, whether in sports or science or any other field. Can anyone dare deny the fact that it was Modi, who happens to be the first Prime Minister, who made personal calls to compliment the Olympic, or any other sportsman or sportswomen, medal-winning accomplishments? Also hosting high tea or dinners for victorious teams on their return!
Against that backdrop, none should dare politicize the new approach of the present government and its leaders at the Centre, who chose to celebrate every moment of success by all and sundry with great pride. Is it a crime to do that? How can it be construed and misconstrued as political mileage? It’s time to shun such an attitude. Or else, many Indians may be forced to understand the hatred being practiced and spread by the Opposition parties. Look at the way the Prime Minister hugged every scientist who made the Chandrayaan 3 successful. And, saluting their commitment and dedication, is commendable. In the same spirit, when Chandrayaan 2 failed he witnessed and personally consoled the sobbing the then ISRO Chief K Sivan. Adding to that, his decision to appeal to the state governments to make use of the space technology, for betterment in providing good governance to their people, shall also be welcomed if they are interested to see India scaling new heights.