India has launched a mission to land a probe to planet Mars. Worldover, only five countires including USA, USSR, European Union, China and Japan have undertaken similar mission. We shall know only after another 11 months, if Indian spacecraft will land on Mars. We cannot, however, undermine the hard effort, the ingenuity, innovative thinking and courage to dreame of scientists of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). Indian mission was cost effective because it was achieved spending 450 crore rupee, a fraction of budget allocated for space programs of developed countries. The mission was launched in a record time of fifteen months and followed an innovative trajectory.
Many have criticized indian dare in space exploration. Should a poor country like india spend money on esoteric scientific ventures, when a bulk of her population still do not have access to clean drinking water, sanitation, education and electricity. Indian poor suffer from hunger, malnutrition, disease among others. There is urgent need to overcome social and gender inequalities, female foeticide, dowry death, and general ill treatment of women. One international news paper went to the extent with headlines that Indian rocket is funded by British taxpayers. So much for paltry 100 Mn pounds British donate in charity for Indian poor!
I realize Indian society is riddled with problems. India has been trying to address them as much as she can. India has attempted to create an inclusive society and tried to feed her population even by stretching her national budget to the maximum possible extent.
We cannot undermine the direct benefits of space exploration in the areas of telecommunication, weather prediction, navigation among other things. When cyclone hit Indian east coast, only 21 people actually lost their lives because people were evacuated based on advanced warning.
Experiments like exploration of space, breaking down of atoms etc, may be useless from utilatirian point of view, but life cannot be lived simply on bread alone. Humans are curious being. Unless intellectual hunger of Indian scientists are quenched, scientists will move to countries or places where they can satisfy intellectual hundger. If man-kind had waited till all his earthly needs had been fulfilled, we would not have electricity, locomotives, motor cars, aeroplanes etc as inventions.
India has been trying to eliminate poverty since past sixty years. Despite subsidies and affirmative action, problems remain. Money government spends somehow does not reach real needy. It is time we move on. There is need to develop other aspects of life. Simply crying about poverty, one may not be able to eradicate poverty. There has to be fresh approach and fresh vision. India must not desist from attempting space missions. We may not be able to fathom the significance of such exploratory research today because we lack vision, our posterity will never forgive our short sightedness, if we so act.
Tags: ISRO. Mars Mission, Space Exploration, Poverty, Illiteracy, Malnutrition, Gender Inequality, Female Foeticide, Subsidy, Affirmative Action