ISRO Chairman Somanath has decided to withdraw his memoir, Nilavu Kudicha Simhangal, following controversy and misinterpretation of its content. The book, which was yet to be officially released, faced scrutiny after a newspaper report quoted excerpts suggesting that former ISRO Chairman K. Sivan may have hindered Somanath’s promotions. However, Somanath clarified that he did not accuse Dr. Sivan and highlighted the importance of transparent communication in space missions. Despite the withdrawal, ISRO’s ongoing missions, including Chandrayaan-3, remain unaffected.
S. Somanath, Chairman of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), has decided to withdraw his memoir titled “Nilavu Kudicha Simhangal” after it sparked controversy. The decision came after a newspaper report quoted excerpts from the book that suggested K. Sivan, former Chairman of ISRO, may have hindered Somanath’s promotions.
However, Somanath clarified that he did not accuse Dr. Sivan of preventing him from becoming Chairman. Instead, he explained that his chances were reduced due to the appointment of another director. The memoir, which had not yet been officially released, was intended to be a motivational story about Somanath’s journey to becoming a space technologist and his involvement in the Chandrayaan missions.
Excerpts from the book have revealed Somanath’s discomfort with Dr. Sivan’s handling of the failure of the Chandrayaan-2 mission. During the mission, technical issues arose, and the Vikram lander ended up crashing on the Moon. Somanath disagreed with Dr. Sivan’s communication of the failure as an “inability to communicate with the lander” instead of highlighting the software glitch responsible.
However, Somanath made it clear that he was not criticizing Dr. Sivan and that he maintained regular contact with him for future mission inputs. In fact, the Chandrayaan-3 mission, launched in July 2023, incorporated technical upgrades based on lessons learned from the Chandrayaan-2 failure. Chandrayaan-3 successfully landed the Vikram lander on the Moon’s south pole and released a rover for exploration.
The publisher has confirmed the withdrawal of Somanath’s memoir. Somanath’s intention in writing the book was not to generate controversy but rather to share his personal challenges and experiences in the space industry. He emphasized the importance of transparency in communicating both successes and failures in space missions.
Despite the controversy surrounding the memoir, Somanath maintained a positive working relationship with Dr. Sivan. Dr. Sivan continues to provide guidance to ISRO as an advisor. It is important to note that the withdrawal of the memoir does not impact ISRO’s ongoing missions, such as Chandrayaan-3.
In conclusion, S. Somanath’s memoir has been withdrawn after controversy arose surrounding its content. While the book highlighted some discomfort with Dr. Sivan’s handling of the Chandrayaan-2 mission failure, Somanath clarified that he was not criticizing him. The withdrawal does not affect ISRO’s ongoing missions, and Somanath maintains a positive relationship with Dr. Sivan.