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Kalam curious about Tipu's rocket

A letter from a Mysore-based scribe was enough for the President to send a top defence scientist to Srirangapatna.

india Updated: Jul 22, 2006 19:11 IST

A letter from a Mysore-based journalist was enough for President APJ Abdul Kalam to send a top defence scientist to Srirangapatna to study Tipu Sultan's efforts to use rockets against the British more than 200 years ago.

At the end of a visit to various sites associated with Tipu's rocket and missile launching activities at Srirangapatna, a sleepy town some 100 km from here and a short distance from Mysore, scientist A Sivathanu Pillai declared: "There is no doubt that this is the birthplace of rocketry."

Pillai, chief controller of research and development in the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), said his visit on Thursday was at the instance of Kalam, who told him to "look at it".

"Now I will report to the President what I have seen here (Srirangapatna)," he said. "He (Kalam) is a rocket scientist. Naturally, he is interested to know.

"I don't say only Tipu (pioneered the rocket technology). There were some people with him at that time who were innovative in warfare technology. That's my impression," said Pillai, who was a core team member of SLV-3, India's first satellite launch rocket, under Kalam's leadership.

"This is the birth place of rocketry. We want to tell the whole world that we are the father of rocket technology. This is the place from where rocketry has come".