June 19, 2024

The institute was initially set up within the campus of the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. One may be reminded that the origin of the Indian Institute of Science can be traced to the conversation between Swami Vivekananda and Jamshedji Tata on the ship they took to the US in 1893 where Swami ji made this suggestion for starting the research Institute for Fundamental Science Research in India and Jamshedji followed that up. So, coming back to Nehru and space.

There is a lot of sound and fury over the role of the omnipresent and omniscient Jawaharlal Nehru who Congress keeps on reminding us was the father of anything to do with science.

But is it true?

The truth with respect to space program is something very different? Let us look at the Indian Space Research Organization and our space program, the Indian National Committee for Space Research or (INCOSPAR) was set up by Dr Vikram Sarabhai to create an Indigenous Space Program. This committee at that time was part of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) and the TIFR was founded on the insistence of Dr. Homi Bhabha who wrote to Sir Dorabji Tata Trust asking for financial assistance. JRD Tata at that time, supported Dr. Homi Bhabha’s idea and TIFR was set up on June 1st 1945, before independence, before Nehru was making any decisions for India.

The institute was initially set up within the campus of the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. One may be reminded that the origin of the Indian Institute of Science can be traced to the conversation between Swami Vivekananda and Jamshedji Tata on the ship they took to the US in 1893 where Swami ji made this suggestion for starting the research Institute for Fundamental Science Research in India and Jamshedji followed that up. So, coming back to Nehru and space. Well, it so happens that Nehru explicitly rejected the request for TIFR founder Dr Homi Bhabha for funding research in the five-year plan.

Nehru had stalled the funding for that space program at that time. He writes on 30th June, 1960. My dear Homi, Your letter of the 28 June also your letter to Trivedi it may be rather late to make any change in the draft of the five year plan. I’ve written to Trivedi to see what can be done. But apart from this, you need not attach too much importance to the draft at this stage, it is supposed to be very provisional.

I don’t think there is much point in you coming here now. I’m going away to Kashmir for a few days on the second morning for the rest. We are very busy now with the threat of a general strike. If at all, Nehru did not want to fund the space program further at that time, the progress and funding of this work was done via Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) and not the government of India.

It was in 1969. Finally, that INCOSPAR became Indian Space Research Organization or ISRO.

Nehru died in 1964. So, when Nehru did not start INCOSPAR or ISRO and deliberately and cautiously impacted its funding and had very little input into the overall operations of Indian Institute of Science. Then pray, how did Nehru become responsible for the Indian Space program?

Courtesy – https://twitter.com/drishtikone/status/1695416001414803732

https://spaceks.ca/

https://tanjunglesungbeachresort.com/

https://arabooks.de/

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