More than a month after S Somanath told NDTV in an exclusive interview that he had faced huge challenges in his career and hinted that his position in ISRO had been threatened and he could have been thrown out, the space agency chief has withdrawn the publication of his upcoming autobiography after a controversy over some alleged critical remarks about his predecessor K Sivan.
In the interview with NDTV in September, after the success of Chandrayaan 3, the Indian Space Research Organisation chief had said, “… don’t think everything was nice for me in my life… I also faced challenges in my personal life and official life. You (referring to himself) can be thrown out of an organisation… your position can be threatened (and) you are sometimes not even treated with great respect.”
Mr Somanath said he had been criticised and his ability had been questioned, but he had taught himself to rise above the “silly acts” of some people.
“‘…you are not a suitable person (for this role)’… I hear all this criticism but you have to raise yourself above these silly things. Once you reach that point (of self-confidence) you can look at people like this and smile. Their silly acts can be ignored,” he had said.
The ISRO chief said on Saturday that he has decided to withdraw the publication of the book ‘Nilavu Kudicha Simhangal’ (loosely translated as ‘Lions That Drank The Moonlight’) in the wake of the controversy.
According to a report by news agency PTI, Mr Somanath said every person has to go through some challenges to reach a top position in an organisation. He was responding to a report that claimed his autobiography had some critical remarks about Mr Sivan.
“Persons holding such key positions may have to go through several challenges. One among them is the challenge with regard to getting positions in an organisation. More persons might be eligible for a significant post. I just tried to bring out that particular point. I didn’t target any particular individual in this regard,” the PTI report quoted him as saying.
Mr Somanath admitted he had mentioned in his book that there was a lack of clarity in connection with the announcement of the failure of the Chandrayaan-2 mission. He reiterated, however, that his autobiography was an attempt to inspire people and was not meant as a criticism of anyone.