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Kerala Kaumudi Online
Saturday, 07 December 2019 3.08 PM IST

They didn't say 'No' when Kalam and other scientists asked for permission to demolish their church and houses...

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THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The long-drawn issues over the demolition of mosque in Ayodhya has almost ended with the Supreme Court verdict. The atmosphere in Ayodhya has changed for the better.

But, here down South, there are group of noble hearts who had sacrificed their worshipping place and birthplace for the development of the nation. They are a group of people from a coastal village at Thumba in Thiruvananthapuram. It took only the request of a Jain, Hindu and Muslim to make them make this great sacrifice.

It happened way back in 1963 in the month of February. One fine morning the three persons walked in to the bishop house annexed to centuries-old historical St Mary’s Magdhalana Catholics Church to meet the then bishop Rev. Peter Bernard Pereira.

The visitors’ intention for the visit was this: “The church and the bishop house are lying on the place where the Earth’s magnetic equator is passing through. Therefore, please help us in launching India’s first rocket by making a big sacrifice. We request you to give us permission to demolish the church as well as the bishop house and build a rocket launching station.

Those triumvirates were Dr Vikram Sarabhai (Jain), Prof. Sathish Dhawan (Hindu) and Dr Abdul Kalam (Muslim) - the technocrats who later became the think-thank of India’s space projects.

The bishop didn’t give an offhand reply and told them that he would meet them again at the church after the next Sunday mass. In between the mass on Sunday, the bishop explained to the members of the parish what the three scientists had told him. He also made a plea for their permission to demolish the church, bishop house and buildings around. To the astonishment of the bishop, the people gathered including the fishermen, locals and people attached to the church unanimously expressed their consent; moreover, they extended their whole-hearted support to the scientists. Subsequently, the land was legally handed over to the government.

Before long, Thumba rocket launching station came into existence and it witnessed many pound moments in India’s space history in later years. Though the government later gave land for the people who had been evicted from that coastal village of Thumba, they were not given Pattayam (title deed). Now, after years of long legal battle, the natives have got justice. The cabinet has decided to give Pattayam for Pallithura church and school !

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TAGS: KALAM, THUMAB VILLAGE PEOPLE SACRFICE FOR INDIAN SPACE, ABDUL KALAM, VIKRAM SARABHAI, MALAYALIS SACRIFICE LAND CHURCH FOR INDIAS SPACE STATION, ISRO
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