Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday lauded Isro scientists for placing Mangalyaan probe in the Mars orbit, making India the first country to succeed in its maiden attempt.
Wearing a red waistcoat, the Prime Minister along with other scientists burst into applause at the Indian Space Research Organisation’s (Isro) space centre in Bangalore, when it was announced that the mission was a success.
“History has been created today! We have dared to reach out into the unknown and achieved the near impossible. I congratulate all Isro scientists as well as all my fellow Indians,” he said in English soon after.
Alternating between Hindi and English, Modi’s speech was a combination of sentimentality, humour, puns and metaphors.
He said he knew the Mars Orbiter Mission would not disappoint as its acronym became MOM (mother).
“Aaj MOM ka Mangal se milan ho gaya, aur Mangal ko MOM mil gayi,” he said.
Modi said it was an even bigger achievement than India winning a major cricket tournament.
“When our cricket team wins a tournament and returns, the entire country rejoices but this achievement is a thousand times greater,” he said in Hindi, urging every school and college to dedicate five minutes to celebrate the occasion.
He followed this with a section in English where he talked about the possibilities that opened up for the country after this success.
“The world will know whether there is methane on Mars through you,” he told Isro scientists.
Mangalyaan, as the Mars Orbiter Mission is popularly known, cost less than one-tenth of NASA’s Mars mission Maven, which settled into the red planet’s orbit on Monday. Modi had earlier endorsed the mission saying it cost even less than the Hollywood space flick Gravity.
“Hollywood movies cost more than what this mission cost us,” he added.
The speech was full of references to the Vedas.
“Our ancestors had given the world zero, predicted eclipses accurately, discover planetary positions. The success of this mission is a gift to our rishis (ascetics) who were also scientists. Today we have honoured our ancestors and inspired our next generation. We are close to Vivekananda’s dream of making India the Vishwa Guru (teacher of the world),” he said.
Modi also complemented Isro for upholding the “guru-shishya parampara” of mentoring young scientists.
The Prime Minister summed up in English, “In contrast with the linear nature of western philosophy, there is no absolute beginning or end (in our understanding). In our eastern understanding of the cosmos, there is only a continuous, unending cycle of dispassionate, detached perseverance.”