Vikram Sarabhai

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Vikram Sarabhai, father of India's space programme

Vikram Ambalal Sarabhai (Gujarati: વિક્રમ અંબાલાલ સારાભાઇ) (August 12, 1919December 30, 1971) was an Indian physicist, acclaimed as the father of India's space programme. He was also called the "Renaissance man". He established the Physical Research Laboratory in 1947. The Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, (VSSC), is the Indian Space Research Organization's, facility to launch vehicle development which is named after him. He was also Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission. He was decorated with India's two civilian awards of Padma Bhushan in 1966 and the :Padma Vibhushan posthumous (after-death). Space Science Day Is observed in India every year on 12 August.


  • There are some who question the relevance of space activities in a developing nation. To us, there is no ambiguity of purpose. We do not have the fantasy of competing with the economically advanced nations in the exploration of the Moon or the planets or manned space-flight. But we are convinced that if we are to play a meaningful role nationally, and in the community of nations, we must be second to none in the application of advanced technologies to the real problems of man and society, which we find in our country. And we should note that the application of sophisticated technologies and methods of analysis to our problems is not to be confused with embarking on grandiose schemes, whose primary impact is for show rather than for progress measured in hard economic and social terms.
    • Quoted in "List Of Important Speeches And Papers By Dr. Vikram A. Sarabhai"[1]
  • In appreciating the value of space activities to a developing nation, one should recognize some inherent problems. They arise from the glamour that is associated with space activities. There is a real danger that developing nations may adopt a space program largely for this glamour, devoting resources not through a recognition of the values of which we are talking about here, but from a desire to create a sham image nationally and internationally. International cooperation in space activities may stimulate this state of affairs.
    • Quoted in "The Power of the Space Club"[2]
  • The primary task of fundamental research is to discover, of research and development is to optimise, and of industry to produce, and one of the main problems that are faced in the organisation of innovative institutions or establishments is to make the link between these three cultures and to provide for a basis by which transfer of knowledge, of men, of technology can proceed from one step to another interacting freely and also benefitting one from the other.
    • From speech given at TIFR Silver jubilee celebration on 10 April 1971[3][4]
  • There is no leader and there is no led. A leader, if one chooses to identify one, has to be a cultivator rather than a manufacturer. He has to provide the soil and the overall climate and the environment in which the seed can grow. One wants permissive individuals who do not have a compelling need to reassure themselves that they are leaders through issuing instructions to others; rather they set an example through their own creativity, Love of nature and dedication to what one may call the 'scientific method.' These are the leaders we need in the field of education and research
    • Science policy and national development, New Delhi: Macmillan, 1974 [5]
  • No great importance is to be given to mere experience.
  • He who can listen to the music in the midst of noise can achieve great things.
    • Quoted in "Vikram A. Sarabhai". [6]
  • The development of the nation is intimately linked with understanding and application of science and technology by its people.
    • Quoted in "Vikram A. Sarabhai".[4]
  • Our national goals involve leap-frogging from a state of economic backwardness and social disabilities attempting to achieve in a few decades a change which has incidentally taken centuries in other countries and in other lands. This involves innovative at all levels.
  • A national programme which would provide television to about 80% of India’s population during the next ten years would be of great significance to national integration, for implementing schemes of economic and social development and for the stimulation and promotion of electronic industry. It is of particular significance for population living in isolated rural countries
    • His priority in 1974 quoted in "Communication and National Development".
  • We look down on our scientists if they engage in outside consultation. We implicitly promote the ivory tower.

The Making of the Indian Atomic Bomb: Science, Secrecy and the Post-colonial State[edit]

Abraham, Itty (15 November 1998). The Making of the Indian Atomic Bomb: Science, Secrecy and the Postcolonial State. Zed Books. pp. 143. ISBN 978-1-85649-630-8. 

  • I would like to emphasize that security can be endangered not only from outside but also from within. If you do not maintain the rate of progress of the economic development of the nation. I would suggest that you would have the most serious crisis, something that would disintegrate India as we know it.
    • At a time when there was crisis of considerable economic and political turmoil and when he was offered the chair of the Atomic Energy Commission.
  • So the real problem in this whole question relates to utilization of national resources for productive and social welfare against the burden of defense expenditure which a country can bear at any particular time.
    • On the issue of priority to internal development vis-a-vis external defense.


Pride Of The Nation: Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam[edit]

Mahesh Sharma; Mahesh Sharma, P.Bhalla, P.K. Das; P.Bhalla (2004). Pride Of The Nation : Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam. Diamond Pocket Books (P) Ltd.. pp. 45–49. ISBN 978-81-288-0806-7. 

  • Vikram Sarabhai had dream to conquer the space is no more now but his dream is in fact a prime matter of research in the ISRO even today.
  • Prof Sarabhai had proposed Dr. Kalam’s name as the trainee candidate for to NASA for the modern technical training of [[w:Rocket Launching|Rocket Launching.
  • Prof Sarabhai assessed the work capacity of an engineer or a scientist not by his degree or his training but by his self-confidence.
  • Prof Sarabhai had the keen desire that Indian must be independent in rocket manufacturing\, hence he always full of zeal to do something new.
  • He always gave new technical knowledge to the engineers and at that moment his face was lit with joy.
  • He never deviated even in adverse situations, instead he accepted that to err or to forget something in order to learn something is not an offense.
  • He said that if we want to establish ourselves in the world, we have to be self-sufficient and research for new ideas and techniques.
  • He informed the whole of his team about any new project and started working on it only after having discussed with everyone.
  • He said that the performer must have emotional attachment with the project along with physical;otherwise one can’t attain dedication and devotion for it.
  • If he was not satisfied with the work of any engineer or scientist, he immediately told him his fault. He was very positive at such moments.
  • He said that failures compos us more as compared to successes.
  • He was such a genius that he could very quickly solve any problem. He ws in the habit of giving new tips to young engineers. To keeo normal even in adverse situations was his natural features.
  • The launch of satellite SLV was possible in India only due to the inspiration from Prof Vikram Sarabhai. It wont be an exaggeration if it is said that Prof Sarabhai is the sun shining over the horizon of Indian Science who would keep showing light to the future scientists.

External links[edit]

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  1. List Of Important Speeches And Papers By Dr. Vikram A. Sarabhai.. Archived from the original on 27 June 2019. Retrieved on 27 June 2019.
  2. Paikowsky, Deganit (2017) (in en). The Power of the Space Club. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9781107194496. Retrieved on 12 September 2019. 
  3. Tata Institute of Fundamental Research Silver Jubilee celebration speech by Dr Vikram Sarabhai on Saturday, 10 April 1971. Archived from the original on 18 April 2015.
  4. a b The Tenth Dr. Vikram A. Sarabhai Festival of Performing Arts. Archived from the original on 12 September 2019. Retrieved on 12 September 2019.
  5. Institution building : Lessons from Vikrarn Sarabhai's leadership. Archived from the original on 12 August 2022.
  6. Vikram Ambalal Sarabhai. New Mexico Museum of Space History. Retrieved on 14 December 2013.