Faridkot Express: Space is the Place
Mangalyan shifted another orbit around Earth today, going into the final cycle before it heads out on it’s long journey towards Mars. There are a lot of articles in the press and the internet regarding this amazing effort by ISRO. Most praising it, but some critical of it. “It is only a publicity stunt” some say, other demand why the money is not being put to better use.
I am amazed at the audacity of such reports. The budget for Mangalyan is a paltry Rs 450 Crore, compare it to our last year’s defence budget…Rs 1.93 Lakh Crore or even our last biggest reported scam, the 2G scam which was a staggering Rs 1.76 Lakh Crore. It is not even worth noticing beside those massive numbers. We can clearly afford to pump much more money into our space program. People have said that our ability to get proper new readings on Mars is limited by our equipment and this mission is a publicity stunt, is that a surprise considering our shoestring budget? Even if we assume the worst and accept that yes this Mars mission is nothing but a publicity stunt, the ramifications of it being successful are immense. Imagine an India focused on getting to space, imagine an India galvanized by this Mars mission, imagine Space once more captured in the public’s dreams like it was so long ago. Not only should we be participating in the Space Race, we should be the one’s leading it.
After all, do we not claim with pride that Aryabhatta invented the concept of zero and that our Sages knew of the planets and their orbits far before Galileo or Kepler had their say? Would our ancestors have balked at the chance of establishing these new frontiers? Space is the only salvation for humanity, because resources on our Earth our limited. One day we will all have to venture out there, the sooner we realize that the better it is. Because most countries across the world have already realized it and we should not be left behind once again.
I pray for the day our music can reach the red sands of Mars under the shadow of Mount Olympus.