Congratulations to ISRO
Hearty congratulations to Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) and its scientists on its successful launch of PSLVC-40 – Cartosat 2 on January 12, 2018. It was its 100th satellite. With this ISRO, one of the premier space agencies of the world has gatheredan additional feather in its already decorated cap. The entire Indian nation is proud of ISRO. This in keeping with the ISRO motto: मानव जाति की सेवा में अंतरिक्ष प्रौद्योगिकी - Space Technology in the Service of Humankind. PM Narendra Modi in his congratulatory message on the occasion said, “The launch of the 100th satellite by @isro signifies both its glorious achievements, and also the bright future of India’s space programme.”
My motivation to write and congratulation ISRO today is somewhat different which I would like to share here. I met an ISRO scientist Prof. V. Jagannatha recently on January 2 at the official residence of Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment Thawar Chand Gehlot in New Delhi. We both were invitees at the annual meeting and dinner of the Forum of Scheduled Caste MPs and MLAs. I was pleased to know that Prof.Jagannatha was closely and actively associated with the ISRO project of Mangalyaan. During our brief interaction in the waiting room of the Minister’s office, Prof. Jagannatha informed us of some interesting facts as to how the scientists and technical staff belonging to scheduled caste communities were contributing positively to the functioning and performance of ISRO. Many of us may not know that there is no reservation for scheduled castes in scientific and technical posts. ISRO is no exception. Prof. Jagannatha told, of the cuff, that there were more than 17% scheduled castes working in ISRO including many highly placed scientists. It was gratifying to know this. The Working President of the Forum of Scheduled Caste MPs and MLAs, Inder Iqbal Singh Atwal shared this good information at the formal meeting of the Forum while introducing and felicitating Prof. Jagannatha, amidst spontaneous appreciation and clapping. Hope both the opponents and proponents of reservation would listen. Scheduled Caste intelligentsia is no less, given the space and opportunity.
I recall with pride my own cursory inter-action and connection with ISRO is limited to hosting Minister MGK Menon in Stockholm as Charge d’Affaires of the Indian Embassy in Sweden and PresidentAPJ Abdul Kalam when he was the Scientific Adviser to the Minister of Defense. Both of them were the leading lights of ISRO. My direct approach to ISRO happened in Minsk as Ambassador of India to Belarus during the course of my duties and responsibilities to strengthen cooperation between the two countries.