Monday, July 16, 2007

The "Indian" space record

A bit late in the day perhaps, but worth posting nonetheless. Sunita Williams: An Indian space odyssey is an interesting read, though I am not quite convinced its an Indian space odyssey.

But this interview - my guess and take - summarizes it all. I am not trying to diminish her achievement. Its a great achievement indeed.

But to gloat over it, as if it is an Indian achivement is as great as rooting for Monty Panesar or Shivnarine Chanderpauls achivements (I know they are demographically slightly different from Sunita Williams case, but stretching usually proves analogies better). The fact that their cricketing achivements would go into Englands or West Indians kitty and not Indias exposes the myth behind the "Indian" achievement. Achievement, it still remains.

Sure her origins are Indian, but read the interview published in NASA website. She grew up in Massachusetts and went to Naval Academy. What's India go to do with it apart from being her native land? And if thats a criteria, Monty and Shivnarines records should be added to our diminishing cricketing records.

I think she is American for all practical purposes as much as her achievement. The media, fed by the canard that we Indians are salivating to know how people of Indian origin are doing all over the world fell over each other to cover her achievement as Indias achievement. Her achievement is worthy of praise, not her roots. It is incidental that her roots trace to this part of the world to a person of Indian origin - incidentally in Ohio. India has no role in this space odyssey at all - our space odyssey started and ended with Rakesh Sharma and then on we have focussed on sending satellites into orbit, period.

2 comments:

Kuttan said...

Our media always found ways to ride on coattails of anyone who had an Indian Name. As you say only thing Indian about Sunita Williams is her name and ancestry.

Manoj said...

very true.... media makes monkeys out of us... especaially TOI. in the 80s and early 90s the mallu media especially malayalamanorama , had the habit of digging out any far fetched mallu connection of any famous personality .. so we discoverd that ajay jadeja had mallu origins, mohd eideed -somalia warlord- had some relatives in kerala, malaysian PM had some mallu relatives...

the whole thing was hilarious..