|The temple for all faiths. Behind the Baba idol are the photos|
of Jesus Christ (left) and Mecca & Madina (right).
A temple of hope: Scientists are superstitious, not all may be, but most of them. For them, faith is a feeble, yet strong filament that ignites passion within. At Wheeler Island, I discovered a temple that’s camouflaged by tall trees. Thought the rituals are done as per the Hindu tradition, but there’s space & place for all religion. Jesus Christ shares the same divine space as that of Shirdi Sai Baba. The famous Mecca and Madina portrait too finds a place in the same room. A senior missile scientist often finds some time during a launch campaign to visit the temple and clean the premises. In short, scientists, engineers, technicians, and armed forces personnel of all faiths and religion come here to offer their prayers. The temple generally gets active on the eve of a missile launch and on the day of the launch. DRDO chief Dr V.K. Saraswat was the first to visit the temple on December 10 – the day India tested its experimental missile A2P. Often on the day of any launch at the Wheeler Island, the day starts with a majority visiting the temple. It was a great sight for an outsider like me to see how science and spirituality co-existed at this island. A perfect picture of national integration at India’s most-sensitive missile launch complex.
|The front view of the Block Office.|
|The Biscuit Point!|
And, if you thought DRDO’s missile scientists are no good, then please make a visit to Wheeler Island. To see, the tough lives of Indian missile scientists. Despite meager salaries, name-sake perks and highly-politicized-complicating-top-heavy-set-up, they work with tones of passion holding the pride of their nation closer to heart. If only, we had a strong political class that recognized their worth; if only we had some more inspiring leaders within DRDO to lift their spirits and if only we had a Media willing to do away with table-top Journalism, may be, we can do some justice to these Jewels of India.
(Agni Sakshi will conclude with the next part. Tarmak007 will present you the touching story of Jagadeesh Giri, a young driver on contract, who operates at Wheeler Island during India’s missile launches. I was floored by his passion and knowledge of India’s missile programs and love for scientists. But, what makes Jagadeesh different is that he drives around with one hand – with his left palm completely being chopped off in an accident. Tarmak007 will run a campaign to help this farmer’s son hailing from Orissa’s Balasore district, who’s struggling to make a living -- ‘single-handedly’ – literally! Hope you too will chip in?)