A cartoon in New York Times depicting the EliteĀ  Space Club chamber with its members inside and a poor Dhoti clad Indian holding a sickly cow knocking to seek entry, is in ‘bad taste’ to say the least. It was criticised for overlooking the importance of the Indian Mars mission seen by many as major boost in India’s space programme, as a demeaning, ‘racist’ cartoon ridiculing India’s successful Mars mission. It is reflective of the complexes the western societies suffer after the history of vast British empire that boasted of ‘sun never sets’. It is time they got over the inertia-more so in the US where it is a ‘black’ President; and who knows there may be an Indian some day.
There had been 51 attempts on Mars out of which only 21 could make to the destination spaced 365 million kilometers away from Earth, orbiting the Sun. India has joined the United States and Russia in successfully sending probes into orbit around Mars. Putting aside sentiment of India-China space rivalry, the state-run Chinese media applauded India’s Mars mission, calling it a “great achievement” for Asia.
Even at the time when ISRO launch of the Mars orbiter, appeared in triumphant jubliation for the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO); the West did not seem very convinced and appreciative. US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), that fed logistics to the ISRO’s Mars mission, felt awed on India managing its Mars mission in that short span of time. No wonder, there is a section that finds Indian supremacy difficult to digest. Now the mission has been completed successfully at a record low budget and in record first attempt. India has dignifiedly joined the United States and Russia by successfully sending probes into orbit around Mars.
Rectifying its ways the New York Times published “We apologise to readers who were offended by the choice of images in this cartoon. Mr. Heng (Cartoonist) was in no way trying to impugn India, its government or its citizens.”
Asked in a British pub, why US and Russia made many efforts when Indians could get in one-a ‘happy’ guest replied, “The ‘F’s are that way; see their population, hic”.