To maintain their superiority, the US and its allies have been accused of carrying out coup d’etats, assassinations, war on false pretexts, and other nefarious activities which are off the book. The prominent victims of these ‘sins’ are claimed to be the bright scientific minds of those nations which have the capability to surpass these superpowers. “Coincidentally”, the mysterious death of India’s premium Nuclear scientist Homi Bhabha allegedly draws links with the notorious USA’s secret agency CIA.
This article is about the Father of India’s space programme, Vikram Sarabhai. Apparently, he too had many connections with the US and its allies. So let’s dive in to know more about the genius who gave India the precious gem called ISRO and about the circumstances around mysterious death of Vikram Sarabhai.
Personal Life of scion of Sarabhai family
On 12th August 1919, a bright young boy named Vikram was born in the renowned Sarabhai family. His father Ambalal Sarabhai and other family members were India’s prominent Industrialists who had committed their everything for the sake of the country’s freedom. Vikram did his academic studies at Gujarat College, Ahmedabad. Later, he went to the University of Cambridge, England to pursue higher education. There he acquired tripos in Natural Sciences in 1940.
In 1942, he married the love of his life, Mrinalini, an elegant and renowned classical dancer. The lovely couple had two children. Their elder daughter Mallika became a prominent actress and activist and their son, Kartikeya, went on to become one of the world’s leading environmental educators.
In 1945, Vikram Sarabhai went back to Cambridge University where he completed his Ph.D. research. He wrote a thesis on “ Cosmic Ray Investigations in Tropical Latitudes” in 1947. Throughout his life, he practised Jainism, yet was a vocal proponent of India becoming a Nuclear Power.
Vikram Sarabhai’s Illustrious Career
It will not be an exaggeration to call Vikram Sarabhai an epitome of excellence and intelligence. He was a physicist and an astronomer par excellence. He pioneered space research in India and played a key role in making India a responsible nuclear power. He is internationally acclaimed as the Father of the Indian Space program.
In 1947, he founded Physical Research Laboratory (PRL), a reputed National Research Institute for space and allied sciences. The PRL is claimed to be the cradle of space sciences and research in India. However, things were quite modest for the lab at the start. For some time it operated from the mere confines of Vikram’s residence. Later, the institute was formally established at MG Science Institute, Ahmedabad. The initial focus was on experiments on Cosmic rays and properties of the upper atmosphere.
Vikram also had a keen focus on family-owned business conglomerates. He took the family business to new heights. He applied his scientific methods to increase the efficiency and production of his businesses. Evidently, he set up India’s first textile research cooperative, Ahmedabad Textile Industry’s Research Association (ATIRA). Along with his wife Mrinalini Sarabhai, he founded the Darpana Academy of Performing Arts.
Institutions that owe credit to his brilliance
Apart from this, he played a key role in the foundation of the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Ahmedabad. He also set up India’s first market research organisation – Operations Research Group (ORG). He also helped set up the Nehru Foundation for Development in Ahmedabad.
Additionally, he either initiated or established the following prestigious institutions – The Fast Breeder Test Reactor (FBTR) in Kalpakkam, Variable Energy Cyclotron Project in Calcutta, Electronics Corporation of India Limited (ECIL) in Hyderabad and Uranium Corporation of India Limited (UCIL) in Jaduguda, Jharkhand.
Pioneer of Indian Space Programme
He realised the importance of the space program for the holistic development of India. He persuaded Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and his government to initiate India’s space programme. At his insistence, the Indian National Committee for Space Research (INCOSPAR) was established in 1962. This is claimed to be the crown jewel of his legacy. The institution later was renamed to the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). He also set up the Thumba Equatorial Rocket Launching Station in southern India in 1963.
He initiated a project for the fabrication and launch of an Indian satellite. His scientific skills and ability to adapt to the situation and resources did wonders for the country. His brainchild ISRO is still reaping benefits for the nation and making us proud.
Carried forward the legacy of Homi Bhabha
In 1966, Indian Nuclear scientist Homi J Bhabha mysteriously died in a tragic plane crash. It is alleged that the USA’s secret agency CIA assassinated Homi J Bhabha as he was on the verge of making India a nuclear superpower.
Vikram Sarabhai, devastated by the tragic death, took it on himself to carry forward Homi Bhabha’s legacy in the field of nuclear research. He was appointed chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission of India. He played a key role in the establishment and development of India’s nuclear power plants. He also laid the foundation for the indigenous development of nuclear technology for defence purposes.
Under his visionary leadership, India was charting new success stories on the Space frontier, which made many countries envious of him. Moreover, he was taking Bhabha’s work towards logical conclusions making foreign powers desperate to stop him so as to stop India’s advances in the field of Nuclear Research. By 1971, Vikram Sarabhai became a threat to some foreign powers who were envious of India’s space and Nuclear programs.
On the unfortunate day of 30th of December, 1971, he was to review the Satellite Launch Vehicle design before departing for Bombay on the same night. He was in good health and had spoken to Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam on the telephone. Just within an hour or so of the conversation, he allegedly died of cardiac arrest in his favourite resort in Trivandrum. Unfortunately, no scientific inquiry, no postmortem was conducted regarding sudden death of Vikram Sarabhai and his body was cremated in Ahmedabad.
Umpteen coincidences in the cases of Dr. Homi Jahangir Bhabha, Vikram Sarabhai and the false allegations on ISRO Scientist Nambi Narayanan at the crucial stage of their work raise several questions. Moreover, assassination of scientists of an adversary nation is not an unfathomable and impossible task. It has precedents in the past as well as in contemporary times. However, it is hard to reach conclusions in such cases without a proper inquiry. So jumping to any conclusions would be wrong.
It is important to note that untimely death of Vikram Sarabhai did not hinder India’s path to progress, because, he had built a solid foundation from where India only moved forward to attain new heights. In 1975, India launched its first satellite, Aryabhata. From there onwards, ISRO has become synonymous with space success. So, it is important for us to pay our sincere gratitude to the great man on his birth anniversary and pledge to pass on his legacy in whichever manner we can. India will always be indebted to him and other great souls who made India proud.
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