‘The Life and Times of UR Rao’ reflects contribution of Karnataka in scientific fields and space domains

“I want to show that Bengaluru knew the scientific world before it became the Silicon Valley of India,” author Prashanth GN says.

Published: 01st August 2022 12:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 31st July 2022 11:20 PM   |  A+A-

The late space-scientist and Padma Vibhushan award winner, Udupi Ramachandra Rao (Photo | ISRO)

The late space-scientist and Padma Vibhushan award winner, Udupi Ramachandra Rao (Photo | ISRO)

Express News Service

BENGALURU: Author and content strategist Prashanth GN has always been interested in science and space. Writing The Life and Times of UR Rao: From Humble Origins to a Space Legend, A Biographical Account, a book about late space-scientist and Padma Vibhushan award winner, Udupi Ramachandra Rao also known as UR Rao, is something that really resonates with him.

The author’s idea was to acquaint readers with the kind of contribution Karnataka has made towards ‘The Life and Times of UR Rao’ reflects the contribution of Karnataka in scientific fields and space domains. While writing this biography, he focused on Rao’s personality rather than theoretical facts about what he accomplished. He says, “I wanted to capture the whole personality, he was very ambitious and had great vision.

When people would tell him that India is part of the six other countries that have a comprehensive space programme, he would say, ‘How many times will you keep telling me we are sixth? I want to be first.’” As he began his research and interactions with the scientific fraternity from Udupi, he realised he wanted to venture more into the science space in Karnataka.

“I want to show that Bengaluru knew the scientific world before it became the Silicon Valley of India,” he says. During his interactions with Rao in 2015-16, he felt his recordings should not be lost. “I wanted to narrate it to people so they know more about Professor Rao’s role as a scientist and former ISRO chairman. I wanted to show people that even if you come from schools that are not in the mainstream district, you can still be an achiever,” he says.

As someone who hailed from a low-economic background, Rao established himself even as a child when he got directly promoted to the fourth grade after skipping second and third. He later laid the foundation for space ventures in India. “I arranged different chapters into different themes and took about six to eight months to finish. After which, the book was reviewed by a panel that loved the anecdotal approach,” says the writer. Prashanth’s interest in space and its matters started early on.

“We were in the control room in Sriharikota when we saw the launch of a rocket into space. I saw the sequence of events that led to the rocket flying in the air, toward space. That is my fondest memory because I always had a deep interest in space,” he says. While reminiscing his conversations with Rao, the man behind the launch of Aryabhata, India’s first satellite in 1975, Prashanth says,

“He would always say, ‘I never have regrets.’ He inspired me to read and write more about scientists from Karnataka... he would also have a lot of conversations with all the Prime Ministers and would say, ‘Prime Ministers come and go, but I stay.’”

(The book was released by K Kasturirangan, former chairman, ISRO and M Annadurai, former director of U R Rao Satellite Centre recently)



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