In an epoch-defining moment, Prime Minister Narendra Modi christened the lunar landing site of Chandrayaan-3’s Vikram lander as ‘Shiv Shakti,’ a tribute to the collective strength of both men and women scientists who spearheaded India’s historic lunar mission. This appellation symbolises a landmark move towards recognizing the crucial contribution of women in scientific pursuits.
During his interaction with over 120 women scientists at the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in Bengaluru, PM Modi extolled the indelible role played by ‘Nari Shakti’ (women power) in propelling India to uncharted lunar realms. Standing amidst the geniuses behind the Chandrayaan-3 project, the Prime Minister emphasised the profound impact of their contribution, which propelled India to stand where no other nation had tread before.
Addressing the scientists at ISRO’s Telemetry Tracking and Command Network Mission Control Complex, PM Modi highlighted, “Women scientists played a key role in the success of the Chandrayaan-3 mission. The ‘Shivkshakti’ point (where the ‘Vikram’ lander touched down) will inspire future generations to pursue science earnestly for the greater welfare of people. People’s welfare remains our supreme commitment,” drawing resounding applause from the audience.
Extending congratulations to the ISRO scientists for this historic lunar achievement, PM Modi commended their elevation of the nation to unprecedented heights. The Prime Minister underlined, “You (ISRO scientists) elevated the nation to new pinnacles. It was not a routine feat. This mission signifies the strength of our space research and program. India has truly left its mark on the moon.”
The unfurling of our national emblem (Tricolour) on the moon further signifies our national pride,” he stated, eliciting fervent appreciation from the scientific community.
PM Modi hailed the ISRO scientists’ remarkable accomplishment, “You took us where no one else had dared venture. This is the India of today. A fearless India. An India teeming with fresh and innovative concepts. Our perspective has evolved. This is an India that extends hope to the world even from the moon’s far side.”
As he underscored India’s newfound resilience and innovative spirit, PM Modi emphasised that the India of today is poised to proffer solutions to the world’s most formidable challenges in the 21st century.
The Prime Minister reflected on the extraordinary unity that transcended geographical boundaries as the ‘Vikram’ lander made its momentous lunar touchdown. He stated, “As our lander graced the lunar surface, it wasn’t just those within ISRO; people across India and beyond erupted into jubilation. It’s an unforgettable moment, etched in our collective memory.”
Undoubtedly, the lunar landing stands as an indelible milestone, with PM Modi acknowledging, “Certain moments are etched forever. The lunar landing is undeniably one of those moments.”
Amidst the talented women scientists stood V Brinda, the Director of the Directorate of Safety, Reliability, and Quality at ISRO HQ. Brinda’s mastery in launch vehicle control and guidance systems saw her contribute significantly to the Chandrayaan-2 mission. For Chandrayaan-3, she assumed leadership of the Integrated Product Assurance Board, a pivotal committee that meticulously reviewed spacecraft aspects to bolster management confidence for launch clearance.
Leading the ranks of women scientists, K Kalpana, associate project director for Chandrayaan-3, M Vanitha, project director of Chandrayaan-2, and Ritu Karidhal, mission director of Chandrayaan-2, stand as exemplars. Vanitha and Ritu made history by helming a space mission in India. Their pivotal roles in the Chandrayaan-2 project, although the lander experienced a setback, led to invaluable data transmission, laying the foundation for the Chandrayaan-3 triumph.
Hailing from Chennai, Vanitha’s prowess in electronics and communication systems engineering was instrumental in hardware development for Chandrayaan. Ritu, fondly known as the ‘rocket lady,’ contributed significantly to India’s Mars Orbiter Mission ‘Mangalyaan’ and clinched awards such as the ISRO Young Scientist Award and the ISRO Team Award for Mars Orbiter Mission.
ISRO boasts a host of exceptional women scientists—Geena Varghese, Beena AP, Athula Devi, Nandhini Harinath, Shivani, Ceena Sunil, Roopa MV, and Vidya—whose meticulous efforts fill the nation with pride. These brilliant minds have been instrumental in turning India’s lunar dream into a tangible reality, underscoring ISRO’s recognition of their pivotal leadership.
In essence, the ‘Shiv Shakti’ moment radiates the spirit of women empowerment, fueled by PM Modi’s unwavering support. The journey towards gender equality in scientific domains is a stride towards a brighter, more inclusive India. This monumental feat underscores the pivotal role that women scientists play in propelling the nation’s scientific journey, illuminating a future where gender barriers crumble before the boundless potential of ‘Nari Shakti.’
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By: This article is provided by Dr Nowhera Shaik, a National President of All India Mahila Empowerment Party.