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Story Of A Poor Farmer’s Son To ISRO Chief That Will Inspire Many

07 September 2019


Bhubaneswar: The life story of Dr K Sivan, Chairman, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has once again proved that poverty can never come in the way of success if the person has the will and is determined to be successful.

Dr Sivan’s story is a classic rags-to-riches story. The rocket scientist, who spearheaded India's latest moon mission Chandrayaan-2 is son of a marginal farmer and couldn’t afford a pair of sandals to wear till he joined college.

A deeply committed person hardship never stopped him; he even didn’t have a pair of trousers and used to wear dhoties for most part of his student days. But that didn’t stop him from achieving his goals.

Dr Sivan had told a television channel that he was not bothered about what he didn’t have and excelled in whatever he was asked to do.

Apart from studying in school Dr Sivan used to work in his father’s agricultural fields. During the mango season he would help his father in the mango business. During his holidays his father would not hire a labourer since he was available, Dr Sivan has told the media.

Dr Sivan’s father’s criteria for choosing a college for his son was that it should be nearer to his home so that the latter could help him in his orchard.

Dr Sivan is the first graduate in his family. His brother and two sisters were unable to complete higher education due poverty.

The ISRO chief has claimed that their family had a hand-to-mouth existence and could afford three meals a day adding that he couldn’t take up Engineering course and had to go for Bachelor of Science since his father was unable to fund the course.

Dr Sivan had attended a Tamil medium school and had graduated Mathematics from ST Hindu College in Nagercoil. He completed aeronautical engineering from Madras Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1980 and completed a Master's in Engineering from IISc in 1982. In 2006, he received a PhD in aerospace engineering from IIT Bombay

After doing his B Tech, Dr Sivan had to struggle for a job as at that time there were very limited jobs in aeronautical engineering. On not getting a job he went for further studies at IISc.

Dr Sivan joined ISRO in 1982 and worked on almost all rocket programmes. Before taking charge as ISRO Chairman in January 2018, he was the director of Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC). He is known as ISRO’s ‘Rocket Man’. He was involved in the development of cryogenic engine, PSLV, GSLV and RLV programmes. He had also played a key role in the launching of 104 satellites at one go which was a world record in itself.

‘Rocket Man’ Dr Sivan loves gardening and listening to classical songs in Tamil.