There has been a lot of sound and fury over the role of the omnipresent and omniscient Nehru who, Congress keeps reminding everyone, was the father of anything science.
This is a good time to remember the visionary move of India's first PM Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru to fund space research through INCOSPAR in1962 which later became ISRO. And also Dr. Manmohan Singh for sanctioning the #Chandrayan2 project in 2008. pic.twitter.com/2Tje349pa0
— Congress (@INCIndia) July 22, 2019
The truth however is very different.
Let us look at the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) and our space program.When Nehru did not start INCOSPAR or ISRO, and infact stalled funding the space program - then how did Nehru become responsible for the Indian space program? #chandrayaan2 Click To Tweet
The Indian National Committee for Space Research (INCOSPAR) was set up by Dr. Vikram Sarabhai to create an indigenous space program. This committee was, at that time, part of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research. TIFR was founded on the insistence of Dr. Homi Bhabha, who wrote to Sir Dorabji Tata Trust asking for financial assistance. JRD Tata supported Dr. Homi Bhabha’s idea and TIFR was set up on 1 June 1945. Before independence. When Nehru was NOT making any decisions for India. The institute was initially within the campus of Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore.
One may be reminded that the origin of Indian Institute of Science can be traced to the conversation between Swami Vivekananda and Jamsetji Tata on the ship they took to US in 1893, where the Swami made this suggestion for starting a research institute for fundamental science research in India.
So coming back to Chacha Nehru and Space – well, it so happens – as the amazing True Indology shares – that “Nehru explicitly rejected the request of TIFR founder Homi Bhabha for funding research in the Five Year Plan”! Nehru had stalled funding for the space program!
If at all, Nehru did not want to fund the space program further.
The progress and the funding of this work was via Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) and not the government of India.
Initially, Thumba Equatorial Rocket Launching Station (TERLS) in Thiruvananthapuram for upper atmospheric research. It was in 1969, that INCOSPAR became Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). Nehru died in 1964.
So, when Nehru did not start INCOSPAR or ISRO, deliberately and consciously impacted its funding, and had very little input into the overall Indian Institute of Science operations, how did Nehru become responsible for the Indian space program?