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K Kasturirangan pens his story of public and professional journey spanning over five decades

"Space and Beyond: Professional Voyage of K Kasturirangan" has been published by Springer

By: PTI | Bengaluru |
June 29, 2021 6:10:30 pm
K Kasturirangan, Veteran space scientist K Kasturirangan. K Kasturirangan story, K Kasturirangan new book, K Kasturirangan new story, K Kasturirangan recent story, K Kasturirangan recent bookK Kasturirangan (Photo: Express Archive)

Veteran space scientist K Kasturirangan has shared the story of his public and professional journey in different capacities spanning over
five decades.

“I want to dedicate the book to this country, to the people and youngsters…,” he told PTI on Tuesday.

“I will not take a single paisa as a royalty from this book”.

“Space and Beyond: Professional Voyage of K Kasturirangan” has been published by Springer.

Kasturirangan had served as a Chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation, member of the now-defunct Planning Commission of India, member of Rajya Sabha and Chairman of the committee tasked with drafting the National Education Policy 2020, among others.

“It’s a book written for this country, for my country-men to show for them how an Indian from an ordinary the place can rise up to any level if there is a will and there is a way”, the 80-year old said.

Kasturirangan was Chairman of Bengaluru-headquartered ISRO and Secretary in the Department of Space from 1994 to 2003, giving him an opportunity to report to the then Prime Ministers P V Narasimha Rao, H D Deve Gowda, I K Gujral and A B Vajpayee and work with them.

“I have recounted my special feelings to each of them. They were extraordinary people. I found them fantastic, great people,” he said.

He described the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with whom he worked as a Planning Commission member, as “great, gentleman and knowledgeable.” Kasturirangan said he did not work directly with Prime Minister Narendra Modi but noted that he had headed the NEP 2020 draft committee appointed by the Government headed by him.

He said Modi was interested in space as Prime Minister and even when he served as Chief Minister of Gujarat and wants to transform India as a space power. “This book in a way recapitulates my professional career of over 50 years, nearly 30 years of which were with ISRO,” said Kasturirangan.

In the book, he has recounted his early years in Ernakulam in Kerala and his higher education period in Mumbai before going to Physical Research Laboratory in Ahmedabad, started by Vikram Sarabhai, regarded as the father of the Indian space programme, to pursue his PhD. Kasturirangan wanted to go abroad thereafter but Sarabhai persuaded him to join the then-fledgling ISRO.

“I have recounted my whole life in ISRO”, he said, terming his stint in the space agency as very eventful, satisfying and challenging. Asked about what he thought was the “high point” of his career, Kasturirangan said it was his job as head of the NEP 2020 draft committee.

In this task, he had to bring together his “huge force of knowledge, background, judgement, agd assessment”.

“And that was my last major task. The last one is always the best, most challenging and complex,” he said.

“It’s the mother of all complex challenges”. He has also recapitulated his association with some people in India and abroad who made a difference to his life, supporting, guiding and mentoring him.

“You cannot make yourself something unless the ecosystem is favourable to you. A key element of the ecosystem is people,” Kasturirangan said.

He is a recipient of the three major civilian awards from the government of India: the Padma Shri, Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan.

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