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Heading to the moon: The real success story

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Ritu Karidhal’s journey from a middle-class home in the nondescript north Indian town of Lucknow to the limelight as mission director of India’s moon mission 2019 is in some ways even more spectacular than the launch of the Indian Space Research Organisation’s moon vehicle that roared into space in the afternoon of July 22, 2019.

All of India clapped in appreciation as the rocket carrying the country’s first moon lander and explorer went into a 23-day orbit around the earth. Politicians waxed eloquent, columnists hailed the event while millions of Indians tweeted in delight and pride at the fact that their country was aiming for the moon.

The launch of Chandrayaan-2 (which means “moon vehicle” in Sanskrit) is rightly seen as a sum of two achievements — the success of the country’s space programme as well as the country’s gradual but difficult ascension from poverty and ignorance during the last seven decades.

This is not jingoism but fact. And Ritu Karidhal is a symbol of that success. To belittle or deny that would be churlish as well as purblind.

Ritu Karidhal recounted her journey to a newspaper interviewer: “I was a simple girl from Lucknow, who was curious to know about outer space and who got a chance to be associated with the Mars Mission. With the success of the Mars mission, 1.3 billion Indians proved to the world that we have the capability to go this far into outer space and that we are as competent as anybody out........

© The Asian Age