Lone Survivor From India’s Failed Moon Mission

September 5, 2009

Ahmed Quraishi’s Lounge

First Indian Astronaut Arrives Back Safely

That’s the last survivor from last week’s failed Indian moon mission Chandrayaan I.

Only kidding.

Before anyone calls me a jealous Pakistani, let me say that it is an impressive feat for a developing nation and one that has the world’s largest concentration of poverty to launch space expeditions. It proves that the Anglo-Saxons don’t have a monopoly over talent and hard work. It is instructive that India’s last colonizers, the Brits, are yet to send any craft to space. Britain’s last meaningful contact with space was when many Brits thronged to movie houses to watch the space thriller Armageddon a decade ago.

So it takes courage, determination and vision to plan space missions. And the Indians did it last October when they placed their space craft in moon’s orbit. As talented, hardworking people, their neighbors to the west, the Pakistanis, too are working on a space program. In fact, it is one of the best-kept secrets in a country that is not very good at keeping them.

But unlike India, Pakistan has no delusions of grandeur and it is not preparing for future interstellar domination warfare. Pakistan’s concerns are modest: communications, business and research.

That’s in fact where the Indians started too before vanity took over along with the desire of a small group of hawks in New Delhi to become the next superpower. To be fair, most Indians are smart people and have better things to do than play superpower games. The idea of India playing this game was actually pumped into Indian mind by some hawkish Americans, Brits, Aussies and Israelis during the warrior reign of Bush-Cheney. That’s when some knuckleheads in Washington convinced some Indians that an India-Israel-America axis could actually change the world for good [with the Brits, Canadians and Aussies thrown in to give this whole thing an ‘international’ look].

The ‘recruitment’ of India was a joint Am-Brit idea, a combination of a desire to sell weapons, irritate China, and secure India as a future source of cheap soldiers to fight the Am-Brit dirty wars from the Red Sea to China to the shores of Sydney.

The failed moon mission, Chandrayaan I, is a good example of where India went wrong. The $82 million mission was assigned the task of mapping moon’s surface so that Indian scientists could prepare for sending a manned mission to the moon by 2013.

The craft lasted in space less than a year before Indian scientists lost all contact. Mission aborted and expensive equipment lost. To understand that vanity was a large undeclared part of this space mission, just see the reactions of Indian officials after the embarrassing news.

Most Indian officials initially said it’s not a big deal, the craft was supposed to map moon’s surface and that’s already been done. Another official said some 80,000 images have already been sent by the craft to earth. A third official said the ship would have been of no use beyond this point even if it continued to fly for the whole two years.

And then the entire Indian media went silent on the story. No discussion, no write-ups, and no questions. To me it seemed eerily similar to the free Indian media’s attitude on the Kashmir dispute: Uniformity across the Indian media and a strict adherence to the official Indian policy line, as if by government order, compared to the noisy and vibrant discussions in the Pakistani media often to the extent of ridiculing official Pakistani position on Kashmir.

It was obvious someone ordered the Indian media not to discuss the failed Indian moon mission ‘in national interest.’

The question that no one in India asked is this: Why map the moon surface? How would sending an Indian to the moon five years from now solve anything? And how about solving India’s mammoth developmental problems here, on earth, where most of the billion or so Indians continue to live?

The Indians, in their quest for projecting the superpower image that the Bush-Cheney people fed them before leaving for the dustbin of history refuse even to acknowledge they have a huge poverty problem that pales in comparison to the problems of any other nation on the planet.

Here is an example of Indian denial:

Last year, Kumar Malhotra of BBC wrote that in 2006 UNICEF has registered the death of 2.5 million children under five in two countries: India and China.

India’s share of these deaths was a staggering 2.1 million. And China has more population than India.

This is the highest figure of child deaths anywhere in the world, and they happen because of lack of services and healthcare because India is busy becoming a superpower, beating China in military hardware and sending bungled space missions.

This year, the UNDP India poverty report for 2009 began with this sobering assessment: “India has a high incidence of poverty despite being hailed as an engine of growth and instrument of globalization.”

Mr. Malhotra complains that ‘When you talk to officials and experts in India, they say poverty in is in decline.’

India is ready to spend $82 million on vanity space missions and billions more on weapons [it recently purchased old refurbished Russian aircraft carriers], but won’t spend that money on the single largest concentration of poor people on earth, in Indian villages and cities.

The Indians hide these facts from the international audience. And the reality comes out in the open only when an adventurist British film director decides to portray Indian poverty in Slumdog Millionnaire. The film initially upset many Indians who thought someone created a hole in the Incredible India story.

Here is what India’s government needs to understand: You can’t buy your way to superpower status. What nation in history achieved this status by buying refurbished aircraft carriers when a majority of your people is stinkin’ poor?

Posted At Ahmed Quraishi’s The Lounge. Visit the page to leave comments.

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  1. I wish I could write like you. Everything the story is all about, nothing more and nothing less, period. Excellent.

  2. this is just the one story .. many like this around. I visited India in 2005 and the stuff which we see in Indian media is all materialistic.

  3. Great article AQ as usual!

    Many Indians would even agree with what you said because I read many letters written in ‘Gulf news’ (UAE) where Indians wrote in and said instead of spending millions on moon mission the government should spend it on reducing poverty, providing education and basic healthcare system to common man.

    PS: Love the picture you have used! =D

  4. india was the richest country in the world when it was under the muslim rule that is why east india coumpny came to loot its wealth,it was most powerfull, rich and united india and look now indian bollywood dont reflect the real issu 90% of indian face they do not reflect the indian or hindu culture rather they are influnced by western values but ordinary indians are traditional they are ruining thier culture.india has many conflicts within for example class,ethnic,regional,cultural,social,religious,castand these conflicts are growing but indian government is in denial,they think they have democracy, they have everything but not democracy. i would say god bless those poor indians in the future cuz what i see is after the 40 or 50 years there will be massive poverty in india and then there will be crimes and there will be law&order crises and then government will use force to control it and india will explode.god bless india…….

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