India writes history in space, Indians ecstatic


James Mathew

India has splendidly made its way to the moon, and I am one among the 1.4 billion Indians celebrating this giant leap made by India on an unexplored challenging territory on the moon. Amidst this ecstasy, the entrepreneur in me celebrates the fact that Chandrayaan’s journey to the moon started from an intentional crash in 2008. And ISRO had previously faced failures that the world watched minute by minute. Yet today, India sashayed its way into the league of superpowers by flying the Indian tricolor high on the moon’s surface. Till today it was only the United States, Russia and China who had made their way to the moon.

To me, India’s scientific expedition to the moon is a journey that has unraveled some of the most humane, humble, and empowering moments in the history of mankind. Let me share some of my favorites here:

  1. In 2008, a small Indian probe crashed into the moon only to make the biggest discovery ever, there were signs of water. Could it ever be imagined that the seed of thought about India’s mission to the moon was born from an intentional crash? Remember, the starting point of every peak of success is always a thought.
  2. On July 22nd 2019, Chandrayaan – 2 was sent to space but crashed on the Moon’s surface on September 7 due to a partial failure. This failure led to the witnessing of a humane moment when ace scientist and ISRO Chief K Sivan was emotional and found consolation on the shoulders of India’s Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi. A humble realisation that the best of us cannot escape the clutches of failure and in moments of failure, those in power can change the game, by simply showing up with empathy, grace and faith in a person’s capabilities and intentions.
  3. Nearly 15 years after the intentional crash and almost four years after Chandrayaan 2 was lost , ISRO successfully guided ‘Vikram’ through a tricky dance of gravity and speed to a soft landing on the south polar region of the moon. Sometimes we may get our facts right and processes in place, yet be exposed to risk. The only solution is to face the fight and push one’s boundaries over and above the failures.
  4. Think about it. Being a scientist in ISRO requires academic genius, and the team that took on the Chandrayaan-3 project included some of the sharpest minds in India – yet the crowd gathered in ISRO’s Mission Operation Complex waited with bated breath. It was only when the lander was merely 812 metres away from the moon, that the scientists at ISRO erupted in applause for the first time and showed hints of unbridled joy knowing their mission had finally made it to the moon.
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Not just any part of the moon — Chandrayaan-3 landed on unexplored territory of the moon peppered with thousands of craters and hundreds of obstacles rising out of the ground—one of the most challenging to land on when it comes to interplanetary locations.

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A magical mission to the moon indeed! India has done us so proud and how.

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The author is Chief Executive Officer and Managing Partner at UHY James Chartered Accountants, Dubai, UAE; ARISE UAE Board Member, Independent Non-Executive Director of GCC Healthcare Group; former Chairman, ICAI-Dubai Chapter; and former Secretary- General of IBPC Dubai.