Thursday, December 29, 2016

P Kunhikrishnan, ISRO, honoured by JNTU, Anantapur.

 Jawaharlal Nehru,
India's first PM and freedom fighter
(Trinity College, Cambridge)
Philosopher, writer and global statesman
The Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University, (JNTU) campus Anantapur, Andhra (established in 1945) was all neatly and brightly decorated on 28 Dec 2016  on the occasion of their eighth convocation. On this occasion they were conferring an honorary degree of Doctor of Philosophy (honoris causa) on my classmate from CET, Govt. College of Engineering Trivandrum (established in 1939), '86 batch, P. Kunhikrishnan. I was fortunate to be there on the occasion ..

Shri. P. Kunhikrishnan, Director, Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikotta, Andhra was the Chief Guest at the eighth convocation of JNTU  Ananthapur.

After escorting the Chief Guest in conventional robes during the customary convocation march, the Vice Chancellor gave permission to the Registrar to start the proceedings for the day. After reading the citation of the award of honorary degree of Doctor of Philosophy to Shri. Kunhikrishnan, the Vice Chancellor conferred it honoris causa to Shri. Kunhikrishnan for his great service in promoting the development of space science and technology in the country.. The University Vice Chancellor also conferred degrees on the passing out PhD scholars and felicitated the toppers among the Post Graduate and graduate students with gold medals.

P. Kunhikrishnan
In the return speech by the Chief Guest, commonly referred to as the Convocation Address, Shri. Kunhikrishnan exhorted the student and teaching community to move beyond their confines of duty and work for the development of the country. He recalled initially itself the great contributions ISRO has been doing for the growth of space technology in the country and mentioned how India over the years has come a long way since 1962, to be the sixth nation in the world with totally indigenous capability to build and launch a large class of satellites to space.
He was gratefully remembering how working as the Mission Director for the PSLV C25 rocket  launch, India sent the Mars Orbiter Mission of ISRO, Mangalyaan, over a year long mission starting in 2013. After completing more than 600 million km through interplanetary space in the solar system orbiting the sun, after almost a ten month journey, Mangalyaan was very accurately ejected into the Martian orbit in the very first attempt and India was the first country ever in the world to achieve that feat.
He also spoke of how the work of his predecessors over the past many years has helped ISRO become a pioneer among global space powers. The experience and excellence of his predecessors has seen ISRO take its glorious journey starting in 1974 with satellite Aryabhatta, to the latest and modern NAVIC satellites to assist navigation. All these satellites were launched from the two launch pads of Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) at Sriharikotta.
Citation of the award of honorary doctorate being read out
He recalled how he finds great pleasure in interacting with youngsters and giving them responsibilities and challenges to see them flourish and prosper in life. He stressed on the need to inculcate and nourish the spirit of teamwork among the student community. He spoke highly on how team work among the ISRO fraternity and the supporting and collaborating industries across the country over the past many years made the various ISRO missions a roaring success.
The Vice Chancellor awarding the hon. degree of  
Doctor of Philosophy to P. Kunhikrishnan (2nd from R) ..
He also mentioned of the need to inculcate the values of hard work and perseverance among the student community and exhorted them through interesting quotes never to get discouraged with failures in life. Failures were indeed, the stepping stones to success.

The convocation was very well attended by the student and faculty community of the University, the highlight no doubt, was the convocation speech delivered by Shri Kunhikrishnan.

The function came to a close with the national anthem.  Analysing the Convocation Address, one very striking observation was the efforts in acknowledging the earlier stellar work done by all the predecessors in indigenising space technology in the country.

Kunhikrishnan delivering the convocation address..
Be it starting with Jawaharlal Nehru's leadership and vision in inviting Vikram Sarabhai to set up the Indian Space Programme (INCOSPAR) from the ruins of a church in Thumba, near Trivandrum in 1962 or Dr Abdul Kalam's commitment to launch the first sounding rockets, the predecessors to the present day high capacity rockets which can take payloads of upto 2.4 Tonnes to geostationary orbits in space, progress has been gradual, firm and exemplary ! 

We are reminded of a great quote attributed to Sir Issac Newton, one of the greatest modern day scientists.

If I have seen further than  others, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants - Sir Issac Newton
This acknowledgement of earlier contributions by Scientists and Technologists is a part of ISRO's culture and continues to be the guiding light for its present day leaders to take it to great and soaring heights in the coming years.

Indians will forever be indebted to the ISRO fraternity for bringing competitiveness by focusing on fusing innovative concepts of low costs and high reliability of operations, and giving outstanding leadership to the world in the high-tech space technology area.

May ISRO continue to grow and explore the deeper confines of space for the development and benefit of mankind and in the process give extraordinary, impeccable and outstanding leadership to the world.

Kunhikrishnan is also an accomplished flutist. Click here for his performance at the 50 th lauch celebrations at Srikarikotta ..



  1. Good recognition for SDSC SHAR and ISRO. Excellent speech

  2. Recognition for his contribution to ISRO. Saravana Perumal

  3. Recognition for his contribution to ISRO.


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