Saturday, 20 October 2018

Prosecute all who plotted false case against ISRO Scientist Nambi Narayanan




Editorial by Vivek Sinha

In this era of mediocrity, excellence and passion are rare to find. If it does exist in an individual then s/he must be handled with care. Unfortunately, this was not the case with Nambi Narayanan, the former ISRO scientist. Narayanan was at the peak of his career during nineties, when he was maliciously implicated in a false espionage case, tortured in custody and his reputation ruined by planting fabricated stories of his sexual escapades with foreign women. Narayanan’s only fault was that he was passionate about his research at ISRO and was striving to make India a super power in Space Science. 

It’s not the fabricated false allegations against Narayanan that is surprising, what’s surprising is that it took twenty four years for him to get a clean chit from India’s Supreme Court. It is common knowledge that all those who are working on vital areas such as space sciences will be on the radar of foreign spy networks and could be targeted to derail India’s research activities. What’s baffling is how could a bunch of police officials in Kerala Police and sleuths of Intelligence Bureau run riot for over two decades and we as a nation remained mute spectators. Did the Kerala police officers have the jurisdiction to investigate Nambi Narayanan’s case? Why did none of our haloed institutions seek an answer to this simple question? In fact, Kerala police’s investigations into this case was akin to a traffic constable investigating a murder.

Can we boast of ourselves as the world’s largest democracy if our famed institutions have been rendered hollow by termites? Narayanan was no common man. He was spearheading India’s cryogenic space programme and was on the board of at least half-dozen other elite space related researches. Former Indian President Dr APJ Abdul Kalam and Narayanan’s former colleague at ISRO put in his weight behind him. Other famous scientists such as the former UGC Chairman Prof Yashpal along with others wrote an open letter in Narayanan’s favour and despite this the state government of Kerala in cahoots with compromised police officers continued to harass Narayanan. Their intent was clear. Narayanan was not the target. On their radar was India’s growing space prowess. So when they were unable to sabotage ISRO directly, they chalked out a plan to discredit a genius scientist. With this the space research went down the drain or at least got substantially delayed. 

Of course, Narayanan has now salvaged some of his reputation back, albeit after twenty four long years, but then the main casualty has been country’s space programme. The space research programme has been delayed by several years which was the real intent of making Narayanan as the target. How much loss has the nation borne due to Narayanan’s exit from ISRO will remain a matter of conjecture and academic discussions but it will be good if we identify, shame and prosecute the officers who fabricated Narayanan with malicious intent. We cannot turn back the clock to 1994 but then let’s fix the loopholes in our institutions. 

(Vivek Sinha is a Journalist, Filmmaker and Author of the Novel "Chip in the Madrasa". His Twitter handle is @viveksinha28. He wrote this editorial in his capacity as the Editor of Power Corridors news magazine.This editorial was first published in October 2018 issue)

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Prosecute all who plotted false case against ISRO Scientist Nambi Narayanan

Editorial by Vivek Sinha In this era of mediocrity, excellence and passion are rare to find. If it does exist in an individual ...