Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Review: Vikram Sarabhai: A Life

The last twenty years have been a time of immense economic vitality for India, and the debate has now conclusively shifted to the movers and shakers of the corporate world. The Nandan Nilekanis and Azim Premjis of the world jostle for space in our brief attention spans. It is pertinent, then, to pause one moment and think about that idealistic post-independence generation, which first gave us many of the institutions we are now deservedly proud of. And who better to lead this remembrance with than the father of India’s space programme, Vikram Sarabhai?

Amrita Shah, a contributing editor at the Indian Express, begins her book by recalling an incident from her childhood that was to leave a deep impression on her. One winter morning in 1971, “I remember very clearly the arrival of the newspaper … and my mother’s audible gasp.

‘What happened?’ I asked, trying to get a peek at the headlines.

‘A great scientist died,’ she said, visibly moved.”

So began a deep fascination for a man who, for Shah, “came to occupy a fuzzy space in my head, an idea of a progressive and romantic figure”. This book is a tribute to her admiration....Read more

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