The text of a congratulatory note sent by Justice K. Narayana Kurup, a former Acting Chief Justice and judge of the Madras High Court, to G. Madhavan Nair, Chairman, Indian Space Research organisation, in the context of the confirmation of the Chandrayaan-1 mission’s success in identifying the chemical signature of water on the moon:

Dear Dr. Madhavan Nair, I take this opportunity to congratulate you and your team for the splendid performance in harvesting the toils of several years and ultimately striking the Adam’s Ale in the moon. The Indian Space Research Organisation’s success story reminds me of the fable about an old man who had to cross a hill every day. Each day he took a stone from the top of the hill to the bottom. Asked why, he said: “I’m moving the hill.” Not in his lifetime or in his son’s lifetime but in course of time, till the hill is gone. This fable applies with equal force to Dr. Madhavan Nair and his ISRO team in India and abroad, with the difference that they could move the hill even during their own lifetime.

The moon odyssey was not all smooth sailing; it was a long, tiring and tortuous journey for ISRO, with plenty of obstacles which you successfully converted into stepping stones to success. I believe it was your firm conviction that there is no joy in easy sailing when the sky is clear and blue, and there is no satisfaction in merely doing things which anyone can do. But there is a considerable degree of satisfaction when you have reached the destination that you thought you could not make. One cannot reach the moon in one stroke, but step by step by the ladder from the lowly earth to the vaulted skies bearing in mind that constant dripping wears away a stone.

I understand that the moon mission has been possible because of international cooperation. I believe that science and scientists play a pivotal role in promoting international peace and understanding. What the world needs today is not the juxtaposition of competing nations but friendly states striving for the noble cause of making the world a happy home for the entire humanity. Cooperation between nations will go a long way in promoting better international understanding. Copernicus was a Pole, Galileo was an Italian, Kepler was a German, Newton was an Englishman, C.V. Raman and now Dr. Madhavan Nair an Indian — all of them made outstanding contributions to the development of science.

Today, in the 21st century, we owe a great deal to the contributions made by persons of diverse nationalities. The world has become one — an international world. We are becoming more and more interdependent in many matters including science and technology, and international cooperation among nations is the need of the hour. Science and technology having brought the nations together, it shall be our endeavour [to ensure] that they shall never drift apart. All nations have to settle down and work together as members of one community treating their true nationality as the human race and the world as their home.

May ISRO scale greater heights and soar deeper and deeper into space, is my wish and prayer. My hearty felicitations.

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