After a pep talk to scientists, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday gave a long and tight hug to an emotional ISRO chief K Sivan, who was in tears, unable to come to terms over lander Vikram’s unsuccessful bid to soft land on the moon.
The video of Modi hugging Sivan has gone viral on social media with netizens dubbing it as the hug of over a billion Indians and heaping praises on both.
Renowned personalities too could not stop themselves from hailing the prime minister’s kind gesture.
Modi, in his address at the ISRO centre here, asked the scientists not to get disheartened by the hurdles in the lunar mission Chandrayaan-2 and asserted that there will be a “new dawn”.
No sooner than the prime minister concluded his address, Sivan accompanied him to see him off.
At this juncture, the prime minister, who was on his way to get into his car, gave him a “reassuring” and tight hug, lending his shoulder to teary-eyed Sivan.
The prime minister embraced Sivan as he made no secret of his deep disappointment as the ambitious venture did not pan out as intended.
Modi also said in his address that the country’s determination to land on the moon has become even stronger.
“We came very close, but we need to cover more ground…Learnings from today will make us stronger and better,” he told the scientists, adding, “The best is yet to come in our space programme. India is with you.”
Earlier, Sivan, who his colleagues say is a task-master but a simple and genial individual, announced — his voice choking — that the lander had lost communication with the ground stations, and the data was being analysed.
The prime minister was present at the ISRO centre to witness the touchdown early Saturday and returned less than six hours later to address scientists and the nation at 8 am.
The soft landing of lander Vikram did not go according to ISRO’s plan as it lost contact with the ground stations.
Modi’s fatherly pat moved Sivan too.
Hours after the prime minister consoling him, the ISRO chief joined the Twitter world by creating an account and shared the photograph of the emotional moment with the PM on his Twitter handle.
“Thank you very much for visiting ISRO,” Sivan said.
The prime minister’s kind gesture won many accolades across the globe with people appreciating him for boosting the morale of the ISRO team, especially Sivan and widely shared his video.
The Prime Minister of Bhutan Lotay Tshering tweeted, “We are proud of India and its scientists today. Chandrayaan-2 saw some challenges last minute but the courage and hard work you have shown are historical.
Knowing Prime Minister Narendra Modi, I have no doubt he and his ISRO team will make it happen one day.”
Veteran actor Amitabh Bachchan said, “Moon is 3,84,400 kms and we failed at 2.1 KM that’s 0.0005463% of margin. Even this failure is a foundation for new beginnings.
Even this failure has a taste of success in it. Kudos to our Scientists and ISRO,” he said in a tweet.
Law and Justice Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said, “A leader who inspires faith, hope and optimism! PM Narendra Modi gives an emotional hug to ISRO chairman K Sivan and reaffirms his faith in scientists and engineers of ISRO and Chandrayaan team.
Proud of our scientists! Proud of our Prime Minister!!”
Actor Anupam Kher said, “Your affectionate and emotional hug to #Isro Chief K.
Sivan is a visual that will be etched in every Indian’s memory for years. You make us feel protected. Thank you.
Sharing the video, Union Minister for Woman and Child Development Smriti Irani tweeted, “Moment that defined true leadership!”
BJP’s Rajya Sabha member Rajeev Chandrasekhar too shared the video with a message, “And that’s what a true leader does – stand by his team in success and setbacks as Narendra Modi said – we are proud of the work ISRO does and of the Chandrayaan-2.”
“The best is yet to come for ISRO. India will reach the moon soon,” he added.
Sharing a cartoon showing Modi as India hugging the space scientist, internationally acclaimed wrestler Babita Phogat said in a tweet, “Sampark Toota Hai Sankalp Nahi (Lost communication, not hope).”
Calling Modi’s hug as ‘Jaadu Ki Jhappi’ (magical hug), Director General of Doordarshan and Prasar Bharati Supriya Sahu tweeted, “This is all we need PM Narendra Modi sir.
In just one hug you wiped away all the tears and honoured years of hard work of our great scientists. Thank you for this wonderful life lesson.