By Vinaya Hegde | NOV 2018
‘BrahMos’, the fastest cruise missile in the world, developed in India, is not named after the legendary Brahmastra. On the contrary, it is an amalgamation of the names of two mighty rivers. It represents the might and ferocity of river Brahmaputra of India and the grace of river Moskva of Russia.
This was among the interesting nuggets of information shared by Dr S.K.Mishra, CEO of BrahMos Aerospace, at the third Guru Kalam Memorial Lecture and annual Inspired Indian Foundation (IIF) awards ceremony held on October 30, 2018 in Bangalore.
Following the welcome address by Dr Kota Harinarayana, chief designer of the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), and who is the Patron of IIF, Chief Guest Dr S.K.Mishra held the audience spellbound with a presentation on BrahMos — both the organization and the supersonic cruise missile it has developed.
In his talk, titled ‘Lock on to target’, Dr Mishra recalled the genesis of BrahMos Aerospace, a joint venture between Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) and NPOM of Russia, and Dr Abdul Kalam’s contribution in helping to set it up.
After dwelling on the incredible capabilities of this supersonic missile, Dr Mishra also explained why it was important to acquire military might despite the general opinion that the money spent on acquiring military capabilities could be put to better use if it was diverted to providing food, clothing and shelter, especially in a developing country like India.
Admitting that he had posed the same question to Dr Abdul Kalam as a young scientist, Dr Mishra said Dr Kalam had underlined how important it was for a nation to be perceived as “strong”. “Strength respects strength”, and once the country’s military security was taken care of, it could concentrate on development without frittering away its energies on fobbing off attacks from pesky neighbours.
Following Dr Mishra’s talk which was peppered with interesting anecdotes of Dr Kalam, the Inspired Indian Awards were given away.
The 3rd G Santha Teacher Memorial Journalism Award was given to Jugal Purohit, Senior Broadcast Journalist, BBC India for both his contribution to the field of journalism as well as his inspiring fight with —and triumph over — a serious health condition.
Wg Cdr P Ashoka (Retd), Test Pilot, a sprightly 84, was given the IIF Lifetime Achievement Award for his contribution to the field of aviation.
Mohd Asim, a little boy from Kerala born without hands, who is fighting for the school in his village to be upgraded to a higher secondary school was the next awardee.
Ravi Kambli, a tea-seller from Bidar who is now the proud owner of a hotel, was given the Inspired Indian award for his entrepreneurial spirit.
Murugan T V, who saved hundreds of lives during the recent Kerala floods despite his own house being washed away, won the award for his incredible selflessness and bravery.
The next awardee was Archana D S, a Karnataka Police Constable, who nursed and breastfed an abandoned baby. She was awarded the Inspired Indian award for going far beyond the call of duty.
Sudarshan Shinde, a Mumbai Police Constable, who saved many lives during the Kamala Mills fire, risking his own life, got the Inspired Indian award for his extraordinary bravery.
S Satyanarayana, a Structural Engineer from Hyderabad, who went beyond his brief in designing the Guru Kalam National Memorial in Rameswaram and ensuring completion of the project in record time, without charging a single rupee for his effort, was the next awardee.
Manasi Joshi, an amputee and a national para-badminton player, who represents India at international events, won the Inspired Indian award for her exceptional grit and tenacity and the cheerfulness with which she bounced back from a life-altering episode.
The 10th awardee was a group — the young Team HTT-40 of ARDC, HAL, which is working on the Hindustan Turbo Trainer Aircraft-40 with single-minded devotion.
Sheik Saleem, grandson of Dr Abdul Kalam, congratulated the awardees on behalf of the House of Kalam.
Abdul Azeem, an auto driver with a silken voice, whose talent was spotted by Inspired Indian Foundation, treated the audience to a melodious Kishore Kumar number. He was honoured by Dv Nagoor Roja, grand niece of Guru Kalam.
At the panel discussion that followed, the awardees answered question from the audience, especially students, who were rewarded with books from Indian Space Research Organisation.
While the message from every awardee was inspiring, the most inspiring was the one from Jugal Purohit, who, on a personal request from Dr Mishra, detailed his fight with cancer and how he had won. His incredible positivity and the message he sent out — that cancer is not the end of the world — got thunderous applause.
Also inspiring was the message of Wg Cdr P Ashoka (Retd), who explained the value of discipline in life, especially to youngsters in the audience. Describing it as a “resolution to do what you must even if you don’t want to do it”, he said it is an all-embracing term which makes your life value-based, makes you do the right thing, and does not let you rest unless you do the right thing.
Volunteers of the Inspired Indian Foundation were presented mementoes in recognition of their devotion to the cause.
The No 1 Air Force band kept the audience engaged with lively tunes and with its stirring rendition of the National Anthem.
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