Nambi Narayanan

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“Ready To Fire”- Book on ISRO Spy Case and Nambi Narayanan’s Journey

Few months or days back, I saw one journalist twitting about Supreme Court remarks on Nambi Naryana’s plea and ISRO spy case. At first, I thought someone wronged by the system is getting relief from the court, but soon when I googled, I was stunned with the matter and its consequences. To know more, I found out about the book “Ready To Fire” written by Nambi Narayana himself.

The Scientists and their toil:

Immediately after receiving the book, I started reading it and more I read, I was shocked, stunned and rattled with the whole spy case. But this book is not only about the spy case, it also provide a detail insight into how India’s space program was envisioned by great scientist Vikram Sarabhai and execution by his chosen team of scientists. Nambi Narayana played very important role in developing India’s vikash engine which is at the center of India’s PSLV satellite launch program. From an outside it seems that scientist’s seat on their desk in labs to experiment and innovate. But Nambi sir provide a great insight into how things needed to be worked out through the Indian bureaucratic system, which is slow, discouraging and corrupt at many levels. Few of the fascinating insights are how Nambi sir and his team negotiated a deal with French company SEP without paying a penny and ensured that India learn the technology for liquid propulsion engine. How his team out witted the system to transfer the technology to India, his team toiled hard at the French facility to learn the intricate technology and proved the excellence of Indian mind to the French who were earlier dismissive of Indian capability. The book is full of such brilliant insight into how tough it was for India to launch its space program with an unfavorable International scenario. Russia and France, both the countries either for friendship or commerce stood by India to achieve its goals in space technology. The struggle or apathy shown by infighting bosses and how Nambi Sir worked around it to develop India’s vikash engine are lesson both in academic excellence and management. He also, hails some of India’ unsung businessmen who worked selflessly to help India achieve access to technology when Indian government and bureaucracy, put their hands up and refused to help.  Either you are a student or professional, the book will keep enthrall and motivated you to excel in your choice of discipline.

 

Family Man:

Nambi sir writes about his family with fondness. He writes about his father, mother and sisters. Their struggle and determination in helping him completing his studies against all odds. Later how his wife and kids accepted his extreme dedication to his work and lack of time that he had for family. In one of chapters, he reflects, after having a discussion with Vikram Sarabhai about family life, how he had no time for his family and how he was not there for his son when he needed guidance in his growing up years. But there are instances where he let go of lucrative career offers in US and other countries to be at his mother’s side and later for his family and country.

 

ISRO Spy case and India’s derailed space program:

He writes in detail how a perverted Kerala police officer’s sexual advance towards a Maldivian women and her refusal to entertain him, was at the genesis of ISRO spy case. How few corrupt and compromised IB officers fabricated a spy case to derail India’s advancement in space program at the behest of foreign agency (suspected CIA hand). When India, refused America’s costly offer for cryogenic engine and technology transfer, and collaborated with Russia to develop the engine, America put sanctions both on India and Russia. It arm twisted Russia to cancel the contract with India for cryogenic engine technology transfer. But to America’s bewilderment, both India and Russia worked around the sanction and made strides in technology transfer. America was infuriated as India’s advancement would have challenged its space business. When they sniff a small case in Kerala, they ensured that it blows up as spy case with help of corrupt IB officers. This whole process was aided by politicians in congress party faction, led by Ooman Chandy, with help of Kerala police officers to oust its own party chief minister. When you read through how the conspiracy was mounted, as a reader you will be disgusted. How for pity politics and money, Indians were ready to hamper its national interest. The whole spy case was punctured by professional investigation of CBI, but the damaged it did to India’s advancement in space program and the scientists, who were falsely framed, cannot be repaired. India’s cryogenic engine development got delayed by 2o years, career of eminent scientists and patriots likes Nambi Narayan was destroyed and families were shattered. The book also highlights the role of media, especially Malayalam media which prides itself of intellectual superiority, went into overdrive to mudsling and fabricate sleazy stories without any facts and understanding. It also exposes the India’s IB men who lack professionalism and technical understanding to investigate a spy case involving advance technology. The perpetrators of this conspiracy theory are yet to be punished, politicians behind this are enjoying their political career and officers of both, Kerala police and IB, are unpunished. Only the scientists and India’s national interest suffered. Nambi Sir is still fighting his case and I hope justice should be done to him by punishing the culprits.

 

P.S.: Buy the book and read it. As a citizen of this country you need to know who are real heroes are and how sometimes the system cause them irreparable damage.

02nd June 2018

Ankesh Saha

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