40 Years On, Rakesh Sharma Recalls His Saare Jahaan Se Achha Remark

Rakesh Sharma is the only Indian to have gone into the space.

New Delhi:

Wing Commander Rakesh Sharma, the only Indian to have gone into the space, is excited to welcome more Indian astronauts to the elite space club as the country prepares for the Gaganyaan mission.

Gaganyaan is the country’s first human space flight mission, under which a three-member crew will be launched into a Low Earth Orbit and bring them back after three days.

Speaking to Newsbust India’s Science Editor Pallava Bagla, Mr Sharma recalled the space flight that earned India one of its first space achievements.

“I think it was extremely exciting. Everything was being done for the very first time. One was full of expectations. And I must say, I was disappointed primarily because what I saw far exceeded my expectations. So I was really unprepared for the sites which were available to me, the kind of science that we did in space,” he said.

The excitement hasn’t faded for the 75-year-old former Indian Air Force pilot as India gets ready for the Gaganyaan mission.

Read | PM Reveals 4 Gaganyaan Astronauts: “Will Take 140 Crore Indians To Space”

“I’m extremely excited that, uh, today, Gaganyaan is getting ready and we are on the cusp of really creating another historical moment. I believe this is going to be a lot more meaningful because here we are going to be launching an Indian launcher with the Indians on board from an Indian spaceport,” Mr Sharma said.

He also praised the mission for being entirely indigenous and said, “This is something which is really worth looking forward to and worth celebrating because I’m extremely confident that this is going to be a very successful flight, God willing.”

Exactly 40 years ago, on April 3, 1984, Mr Sharma scripted history by becoming the first Indian to reach outer space on board the Soviet rocket Soyuz T-11. When asked by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi how India looked from space, he replied quoting poet Iqbal, “Saare jahaan se achcha (better than the whole world)”.

Asked if he feels the same 40 years down the line, he told Newsbust India, “Oh, indeed, indeed. Of course it is.”

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