A young Kashmiri’s lament to ISRO Chief

  • The fate of Vikram shows what it means to be out of touch


Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced in his Independence Day speech 2018 that on the occasion of the nation’s 75th anniversary in 2022, India would send an astronaut into space. Later, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Chief K Sivan provided details in a press conference, that India would send astronauts into space by December 2021. He elucidated that the preparations for Gaganyaan Mission were underway and it would prove to be a major turnaround for India’s space agency. When India successfully launches the mission, it would be the fourth nation to do so after the USA, Russia and China.

The ISRO Chief elaborated that the initial training for Gaganyaan would be done in India and advanced training maybe in Russia. He also informed that women astronauts would also be included in the team, while six incubation and research centres would be set up across India. ISRO aims to deploy its biggest rocket, the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III (GSLV Mk III), to send the astronauts into space from the Sriharikota space port in Andhra Pradesh.

Meanwhile, ISRO’s most touted moon mission, Chandrayaan-2 (Moon vehicle 2) lost contact with the control room shortly before touchdown at the lunar south pole a little after midnight India local time on 7 September– a month after it first shot into space. Indian television videos depicted a dejected Narendra Modi departing after witnessing the failure of the mission and moments later hugging and consoling a sobbing ISRO Chief, K Sivan.,

Earlier last week, the 3,200-pound lander, named Vikram after Vikram A Sarabhai, the father of the Indian space programme, separated from the orbiter and manoeuvred toward the moon’s surface, but all communications were lost when it was only 2.1 km short of the projected landing point. The vehicle can now be observed lying on the lunar surface, spelling gloom for Indian space scientists.

While various reactions have been expressed— cries of dismay from the Indian opposition at the country having sunk over $150 million, which could have had alternate uses for alleviating poverty; to messages of ridicule from Pakistan’s Minister of Science and Technology, Fawad Chaudhry— yet one letter from a Kashmiri resident of Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) to the ISRO Chief deploring the Indian Prime Minister has touched a raw nerve.

The pathos and grief expressed in the letter would move even the most cold-hearted person, but it falls on the deaf ears of Narendra Modi, who is the originator of the latest vicissitude that has befallen the hapless Kashmiris

The disconsolate Kashmiri youth, addressing Dr Sivan, first congratulates the ISRO Chief and his team of scientists on their big achievement. He commends them for their hard work and efforts to make Chandrayaan-2 a success and laments the loss of communications contact with Vikram, Chandrayaan-2’s moon-lander lander, with ground control minutes before it was to land near the south pole of the moon.

He believes that the ISRO Chief wanted to make his nation proud but goes on to state that he understands how painful and disheartening it is to lose communication when one is so close. Speaking metaphorically, the young Kashmiri says that he shares the grief of the ISRO Chief Scientist, since he too, lost communication with his Moon– his mother, a month ago. His mother resides in Budgam in Jammu and Kashmir, and he hasn’t spoken to her in weeks.

The young Kashmiri tells Dr Sivan he is a great scientist and knows how to handle everything, but he still broke down before the Prime Minister. The writer states that it hurts when one loses connection, when one cannot communicate with someone (or something) dear to you. He then sinks in his punchline, when he confesses that he considers the ISRO Chief Scientist to be lucky that his Prime Minister hugged and consoled him and assured him that everything would be fine. He draws attention to his own miserable plight that contrarily he himself is so unlucky that it has been more than a month since he lost all communication with his family, yet no one came to console or comfort him.

The young Kashmiri laments that the Prime Minister did not say a single word to people like him, who have been disconnected from their families. Addressing Dr Sivan again, the writer says that both the ISRO him are sailing in the same boat. ISRO is trying to establish communication with the lander Vikram while he has been trying very hard to establish connection with his parents for over a month. He believes that the ISRO’s chances of getting connected to the lander are more than his getting connected to his family.

The pathos and grief expressed in the letter would move even the most cold-hearted person, but it falls on the deaf ears of Narendra Modi, who is the originator of the latest vicissitude that has befallen the hapless Kashmiris. They continue to languish in a giant penitentiary where the jailors wreak havoc on them, killing, raping and looting them at random. They have their lost their identity, their hopes have been shattered at the altar of the Hindutva ambitions, which wants to eliminate the voice of reason and ethnically cleanse India of all minorities and make it a Hindu Rashtra (Nation).

What is more painful that, apart from Pakistan’s feeble voice, no one is willing to pay heed to the barbaric massacre going on in IOK. The pain gets aggravated when the Muslim Ummah remains oblivious of the suffering of the Palestinians and Kashmiris. The powerful Islamic nations continue to trade with India, and embrace and award Modi but remain oblivious of the Hindutva cohorts or Zionist barbarians.