Category Archives: Sciences

“Mission MTCR” – Dream of Atal Bihari Vajpayee Becomes a Reality


Missile Arsenal

NEW DELHI: India on Monday formally joined the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), paving the way for the country to access technologies that will boost its missile, space and unmanned aerial vehicle programs.

The accession to MTCR, after years of negotiations dating back to Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s tenure as Prime Minister, will entitle India to “full participation” in the next plenary of the regime which will take place in Busan in South Korea in October. This comes as a boost to the Narendra Modi government which last week did not succeed in its efforts to propel India into the Nuclear Suppliers Group following stiff opposition from China.
With India’s entry, MTCR now has 35 members. China has been unable to enter MTCR despite years of lobbying. India has been seeking admission to all four export control groups – NSG, MTCR, Australia and Wassenar groups.
Membership of MTCR will allow India access to state-of-the-art technology and allow further joint ventures with traditional partners such as Russia, France and USA, as well as other members of the exclusive club, people familiar with the matter said. It will also boost India’s defence exports to friendly countries, it said.
The MTCR Point of Contact in Paris conveyed the decision regarding India’s accession to the regime through the Embassy of France in Delhi as well as the Embassies of The Netherlands and Luxembourg. “As all formal procedures for membership have now been finalised, the chairman of the joint Netherlands-Luxembourg chairmanship of the Missile Technology Control Regime, Ambassador Piet de Klerk (NL), in close consultation with the French MTCR Point of Contact, is pleased to announce today that the Republic of India now formally is the 35th member of the Regime,” said an official statement issued by the chair of the MTCR from The Hague, Netherlands.
The official declaration from the MTCR chair further said: “The MTCR welcomes India into the regime, convinced that its membership will strengthen the international ef for ts to prevent proliferation of delivery systems (ballistic missiles or unmanned aircraft) capable of delivering weapons of mass destruction.” The declaration came within minutes of foreign secretary S Jaishankar attending a brief ceremony in Delhi which was attended by the ambassadors of Netherlands, Luxembourg and the ambassadordesignate of France to India.
“India’s entry into the regime as its thirty-fifth member would be mutually beneficial in the furtherance of international non-proliferation objectives,” the external affairs ministry said in a statement after the ceremony.
Expressing its appreciation to the other members of MTCR, the ministry said, “India would like to thank each of the 34 MTCR partners for their support for India’s membership.”



PSLV-C34 Successfully Launches 20 Satellites in a Single Flight – ISRO

pslvIn its thirty sixth flight (PSLV-C34), ISRO’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle successfully launched the 727.5 kg Cartosat-2 Series Satellite along with 19 co-passenger satellites today morning (June 22, 2016) from Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR, Sriharikota. This is the thirty fifth consecutively successful mission of PSLV and the fourteenth in its ‘XL’ configuration.  The total weight of all the 20 satellites carried on-board PSLV-C34 was 1288 kg.

After PSLV-C34 lift-off at 0926 hrs (9:26 am) IST from the Second Launch Pad with the ignition of the first stage, the subsequent important flight events, namely, strap-on ignitions and separations, first stage separation, second stage ignition, heat-shield separation, second stage separation, third stage ignition and separation, fourth stage ignition and cut-off, took place as planned. After a flight of 16 minutes 30 seconds, the satellites achieved a polar Sun Synchronous Orbit of 508 km inclined at an angle of 97.5 degree to the equator (very close to the intended orbit) and in the succeeding       10 minutes, all the 20 satellites successfully separated from the PSLV fourth stage in a predetermined sequence.

After separation, the two solar arrays of Cartosat-2 series satellite were deployed automatically and ISRO’s Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) at Bangalore took over the control of the satellite. In the coming days, the satellite will be brought to its final operational configuration following which it will begin to provide remote sensing services using its panchromatic (black and white) and multispectral (colour) cameras.

The imagery sent by the Cartosat-2 series satellite will be useful for cartographic applications, urban and rural applications, coastal land use and regulation, utility management like road network monitoring, water distribution, creation of land use maps, precision study, change detection to bring out geographical and manmade features and various other Land Information System (LIS) and Geographical Information System (GIS) applications.

Of the 19 co-passenger satellites carried by PSLV-C34, two – SATHYABAMASAT weighing 1.5 kg and SWAYAM weighing 1 kg – are University/Academic institute satellites and were built with the involvement of students from Sathyabama University, Chennai and College Of Engineering, Pune, respectively.

The remaining 17 co-passenger satellites were international customer satellites from Canada (2), Germany (1), Indonesia (1) and the United States (13).

With today’s successful launch, the total number of satellites launched by India’s workhorse launch vehicle PSLV has reached 113, of which 39 are Indian and the remaining 74 from abroad.


American soil was made fertile for Yoga by Emerson, Thoreau and Whitman

Source : Global Hindu Heritage Foundation

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his address to UN General Assembly in September 2014, had asked world leaders to adopt an international Yoga Day, saying “Yoga embodies unity of mind and body; thought and action; restraint and fulfillment; harmony between man and nature; a holistic approach to health and wellbeing.” On December 11, 2014, the 193-member UN General Assembly adopted a resolution by consensus, proclaiming June 21 as ‘International Day of Yoga’. The resolution was introduced by India’s Ambassador to the UN and had 175 UN members, including five permanent members of the UN Security Council, as co-sponsors.

As we celebrate the second International Yoga Day, let us take this opportunity to trace the history of three stalwarts – Emerson, Thoreau and Whitman – who paved the way in 19thcentury for the present abiding interest, widespread enthusiasm, and uninhibited fascination toward yoga and meditation in USA. Let us start with a quotation from Native Americans who inhabited this country long before the British started the voyage to this land of opportunities.

Native American

“Listen to the wind… It talks.
Listen to the Silence…  It Speaks.
Listen to your heart…  It Knows.”

Yoga and Meditation in USA

The 2016 Yoga in America Study Conducted by Yoga Journal and Yoga Alliance is a national study, benchmarking a similar study conducted in 2008 and 2012 by Yoga Journal.

Survey highlights:

  • The number of American yoga practitioners has increased to over 36 million in 2016, up from 20.4 million in 2012. 28% of all Americans have participated in a yoga class at some point in their lives
  • 34% of Americans say they are somewhat or very likely to practice yoga in the next 12 months equal to more than 80 million Americans.  Reasons cited include flexibility, stress relief and fitness.
  • 75% of all Americans agree “yoga is good for you.”

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Fall of Wootz (Indian Steel) Industry

  • Khandavalli Satyadeva Prasad

(Source: Telugu Talli, her unknown side (Bharat Gyan series), Facets of Telugu culture and  Prosperity, by D.K.Hari and D.K.Hema Hari, Sri Sri Publications Trust, Bengaluru, 2012.)

Part II- Prosperity, the basis of culture- Page 73 Fall of Indian Steel Industry:

This high quality, high carbon, ‘Teling Steel’1 was made on a daily basis in over 800 villages in Karimnagar, Adilabad, Nizamabad and Warangal districts of the current state of Andhra  Pradesh (now Telangana State).

     It was only in the year 1774 that a Swedish chemist by name Tobern Bergman learnt to  replicate this high quality Ukku steel in Europe. However industrial scale production of good  quality steel was possible in Europe only from the year 1821.2

    Until then, it was this region along with other parts of India that fulfilled most of the needs of high quality steel of Persia, Arabia and Europe.

    Once Europe started producing steel, seeing the demand being generated by the Industrial  Revolution, the British wanted control over the production and trade of steel along with other major produce. Hence, once their administration gained a firm foothold in India, they crushed  all the trades of India, including the kammari trade of making ukku steel.

     With this, the kammari artisans, from being a prosperous community which gave the strong high quality steel to the world, became a daridra, poverty ridden community. Even today, there are many villages and towns with names like kammaripeta, kammarisala meaning “villages of  backsmiths”, which recount the glory of their past.


 Notes: 1. Teling steel-  the word teling in all probability points to Telugu. The basis for this conjecture is that the ancient name for the Telugu land is Trilinga/tiling/teling. This usage survives to this day in the word Telingana. There used to be an old ruling dynasty in Burma/Myanmar by name Telings or trailings (vide Bhavaraju Krishna Rao’s Andhrula Naukayana Charitra). Further, the equation teling=telugu gets further support from the fact that the very word Wootz which stands for Indian steel is said to have been derived from the Telugu word for steel, namely, vukku/wukku/ukku. Thus the Indian steel that was known to the outside world was the one made in the Telugu land and its Telugu name.

  1. Dharampal in one of his lectures (and possibly also in his book ‘Science and Technology in 18th century India’) quotes british officials saying that Indian steel in 19th century was superior in quality and cheaper in price to that of Swedish steel which England was  importing at that time.
  2. Kammari means a metal smith, more specifically an iron smith. Kammaram indicates the  name of the profession of metal/iron working, or iron-smithy.
  3. For details about indigenous steel production through indigenous tiny furnaces all over India see Dharampal’s Science and Technology in 18th century India.

Quantum Indians – A Tribute to 3 Great Scientists

When CV Raman got the Noble prize, he cried on the stage stating “I am coming from a country which does not have its own flag and I cannot even call myself a free Indian”. He dedicated his prize to the freedom fighters of India. Exemplary scientists who were fired with imagination and also the spirit of nationalism.

This film is a tribute to the three exemplary minds, the significance of whose contributions was of vital importance during that time, and even today with great strides being made in quantum physics, fibre optics, nuclear science or astrophysics. They were not only great scientists, but were rooted to the social and political realities of the time and dedicated their lives to modern science in India. Along with being institutions by themselves, they built stellar institutions in the country that inspired many great scientists of the following generations.