Posted by: Tanmoy Chakrabarti | October 22, 2008

India on Moon

Does it matter? Can anyone please tell me, why it matters?

When India still has millions still under the generally accepted poverty levels.

Income inequality is increasing with every passing day.

India still sees the worst of communal riots.

There is neither penetration of education nor facilities.

The media which is telecasting the moon mission is not understood or even accessed by most in our country.

Is it worth to spend billions of taxpayer’s dollars on moon mission and hail the advancement of science.

I would love it if someone convinces me that we actually need to feel proud!

I don’t know why all our cities / towns / villages don’t have proper infrastructure then?



  1. Listen, the countries which have the most employment and the most prosperity are the countries where people didn’t sit around with their palms outstretched, waiting for the govt to give them a job and a life. American pioneers didn’t have any state helping them to survive, they had their own personal values and work ethic. When they needed a barn, their families got together and organized a barn-raising. There was no state to clamour to for help. Instead of promoting the expectation that people should sit around on their haunches, complaining that they cannot overcome their oral hygiene problems unless a public official shows up to brush their teeth for them, may I suggest you revise your expectations of state action towards where it’s most appropriate. Infrastructure comes from industrialization (gee, that’s why leading countries didn’t stay agrarian societies all these centuries, get it?), and industrialization comes from work ethic (not from militant labour activists throwing tantrums and rallies to block every factory, like Mamta Banerjee). Sorry, but if you think that protest and whining is the magical panacea for everything developmental, then you’re living in a dreamworld. Your head is in the clouds, and ISRO’s tracking stations won’t be able to correct your misguided trajectory.

  2. Thanks for your comment. I agree and appreciate your comments but the tone is little bit offensive to my comfort. First, don’t attribute these things about whether my heads are in the clouds and all, without really knowing me personally. You have talked about something serious and I too feel the same. Secondly, I don’t think the American “work ethic” and all should be talked about all because we have more than often seen what it can lead too. Thirdly, you are right in saying the Indian citizens like me, have not done enough but in a big country like mine, there are problems which are as diverse as they are, then State has a much larger role to play. A poor villager in India would not be able to light a bulb in his road unless the State provides the necessary infrastructure. I don’t know whether you ever had a chance to visit such a village. Fourthly, it is good for ISRO and all but trust me what a normal Indian would see (and that doesn’t include me but perhaps those villagers I am talking about) how it affects them. I don’t know so that is why request you to enlighten me, if you can. Fifthly, State needs to invest on basic R&D like modernizing agriculture and one would be naive to comment it does not. Sixthly, many of the other engineering institutes did not get as much as promotion as these moon missions get and they did not perform not because of work ethic but because lack of apathy of the State to promote the research that they did. Lastly, people like Mamata are villains and so are the Tata’s in some way. I would not get into that particular aspect of debate here but trust me general people in a democracy like India has hardly anything to do about such things as the system has collapsed much before. It is better actually to write and talk about it in these circumstances hoping something shall come up.

    Best regards and thanks again but please refrain from personal attacks.

  3. Dear tanmoy,before today i was also unclear like u about the main motive behind this moon mission.When i 1st heard abt this mission months back , i thought is as step forward towards our space development program and just a show-off to the world that ‘see u china , US and russia,we have also joined the elite group!’.my mind was also filled with questions like is’nt it a bit too early? should we not invest this money on basic infrastucture,education or our defence requirements which requires us to keep in tandem with advancements in nuclear warfare ,with threats from china and pakistan growing day by day(though sadly we r way behind china at this moment).But u see, we can’t make an excuse about stopping our zeal for exploration for the sake of education or removing poverty.These problems are there from the very beginning.what the our democracy lacks is the enthusiasm and proper planning to deal with the problems.The problem is not concerned with money, its the way the available money is being used is to be questioned.Isro has spent abt 300 crores on this mission.though it looks like a large sum,it is nothing in comparision to what the govt can actually spent.besides i hav heard that ISRO has spent the whole money on its own as it is pretty independent organisation now.

  4. Continued..
    but the question is still to be answered.whats the use of this mission?what will get in exploring the barren lands of moon? why US or russia are’nt any more interested in moon as they were in the late 60’s and early 70’s? the question has been answered by our genius ISRO scientists years back.we should really thank them for their foresight!
    i once had a debate with a frnd over why does US wastes so much money on exploring mars and most importantly a lot of fuel , on these missions. the only answer i could provide mainly was that we should’nt stop our urge for knowledge and try to know everything we can about our universe(abt which we still know very little).But my eyes opened today after reading a fantastic article in the editorial section of ‘Times of india’. US and its NASA is not a fool! after US stopped exploring moon after 1972 it began research on the practicalities of human survival strategies on other planets.The way various problems like global warming ,shortage of resources and a chance of catastrophe from other alien objects r rising,it has become imperative to search for habitats in other planets or atleast resources. For this it 1st invested on the international space station(ISS) project. it experimented on how humans can cope ,living in weightless conditions.we heard records being made-of this and this living so and so months in ISS. do u think they were mere holiday destinations? obviously no.
    then came the real purpose.Destination mars. US landed the mars rover.many of us think that its only for research purpose,over if any life ever existed on mars.US has billions of money to invest on it,so they do without care.But,NO-US has its own interests in it. It has future plans to make the most of mars resources and if possible,settle people there.
    For the same reasons china and india have 1st cast their interests on moon.moon consists of heavy proportions of helium-a nuclear fusion requirement.a couple of tonnes of helium if used in fusion can supply the energy needs for the whole world! and yes,india too is thinking about mas mission in arnd 2015. the battle for colonizing new lands has begin once again my frnd. we can stay behind if we want to have any hopes of becoming a superpower in near future.true,the basic necessities has to be met 1st to strengthen our roots but we can’t forget about long term future gains while focussing on only our present!

  5. Hi Arnab,

    I happen to read your comment while you were writing it perhaps. Thank you for visiting me and commenting. I appreciate it very much. Thank you also for your enlightening comment. It is enlightening because at times we tend to overlook the bigger picture which I do perhaps.

    If I write about what I feel India’s problems are then it would perhaps take a book so I would not get into that. Having said that, I heard a non-Indian saying something which touched me actually, how come in India people throw rotten eggs at underperforming cricketers when there are so many people in the country unable to eat. Trust me; it is a thought provoking comment.

    I agree that being crippled with problems at present doesn’t mean that you stop dreaming big for the future but I do feel it is about prioritising what is important.

    Developing countries all over the world have always looked for imposing their giant step onto the world and thus at times issues which are bigger have been pushed back. My problem perhaps lies here. I greatly appreciate the work that ISRO has put up and don’t doubt their credentials. I also feel proud that India’s indigenous scientists have achieved something big; if not anything else it would make more students interested in studying pure sciences. But then, I don’t feel it can be a priority for any country which has so many internal problems to cope with. These problems are not small by any means.

    It is easier said than done, that why doesn’t the downtrodden raise their voice through ballot boxes, why did they take part in hooliganism, why do get swayed by criminals like Raj and Mamata but the question is as a State we could never ever motivate them not to get swayed through education, through electricity, through food and through water.

    Unless and until, these priority sectors are taken care off isn’t that indulgence of sorts for the urban educated people who form a very minor part of the society.

    How will we expect to explain to a common Indian man that a moon mission is going to help him in the long run? Is it not very easy to tell him that you would not understand?

    I also agree ranting on issues which are not getting solved is not proper always but have you ever noticed that if at all anything is happening even in smaller sections on alleviating poverty, building villages; the media hardly ever highlights that to us? So what do we say – nothing is happening or may be there is some problems since we are always fed with news which makes us indifferent towards the grave situation that lies beneath all these.

    I am not at all against development of such kinds as moon mission but I can’t simply fathom the reason why ever India’s human development indices and other social indicators don’t improve.

    I don’t think there is any other country in the world which has such a disparity between GDP growth and social indicators. No country has ever achieved that and trust me this paradox is shameful in whatever way we may justify it.

  6. On how the moon mission can alleviate the poverty problem, I might point you all to some interesting discussions here:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: