For many, India’s space programme is difficult to digest
Now that India’s satellite launch capability has developed a reasonably successful track record, making critical, often condescending remarks about ISRO’s capabilities itself is no longer tenable. But making snide remarks at an uppity developing country that has the temerity to develop its own space programme (in spite of the grinding poverty and all) is still fashionable in the international media.
While reporting last week’s satellite launch (via The Scientific Indian), a Reuters headline went: ‘Indian scientists pray ahead of satellite launch’. Well, no surprises there, for Indians routinely pray (and squash lemons) before they set out on anything new, from bicycles to jumbo jets. Besides, there is a very good chance that those folks at NASA and the European Space Agency are not all atheists either, although this detail is obviously unimportant to Reuters. It would have been another thing if it had reported that scientists in some godless Communist country — say China, or the former Soviet Union — had to resort to invoking the good offices of the Almighty to help them prevail over such worldly affairs as gravity, over which their politburos exert little control.
Despite the very contemporary Indians that have made their way to Pakistan in recent months — to show the Pakistanis that Indians are ‘people like us’ — caricatures and stereotypes live on in newspaper cartoons. Even the Daily Times, not usually one that promotes stereotyping Indians, could not resist publishing this cartoon:
Update: The link to the cartoon is broken. Did the Daily Times take it off the website?
Another Update: It’s there again.