Admiral Ushakov and IIT Bombay

Russian President Dimitry Medvedev visited IIT Bombay on Dec 22, 2010 (Thanks to Mr. Anonymous for correcting the date). Russian contribution in establishing IIT Bombay was tremendous. You can measure their contribution by noting that on our website ‘history of IIT Bombay‘ page acknowledges it in six lines out of total ten lines written about IIT-B history. 60% by line numbers and since these 6 lines are longer, their contribution become larger if one take ‘words’ written about it as a unit.

In January 15, 1959, a ship named after one of the most deadliest battle-cruiser of her time “Admiral Ushakov” arrived in Bombay with first consignment of instruments for IIT Bombay. Now this deadly “Admiral Ushakov” is a central theme on at least one novel and appeared in many books (use google books). However, our peaceful ship which came to India with same name, otherwise forgotten, appeared only once in a news report in a Madras based newspaper ‘The Hindu’ two days later after its arrival, January 17, 1959. This report points out that this consignment was a part of a larger deal ‘between Nehru’s government and USSR’ to supply ‘a total equipment worth three million rubels’ . ‘The equipment’ said this report ‘comprises mostly electronic engineering apparatus’ for ‘laboratories for physics, electrical engineering, radio and television instruments on geodesy’.[1]

It is remarkable that this incident was not reported in Bombay based media especially by “Economic times Weekly” (now known as Economic and Political Weekly). Alas a newspaper like ‘Bombay Chronicle’ was dead by now. Possibly they did not find it worthwhile and except Bhabha and Nehru failed to see that these institutes could become envy of the world one day to be visited by Presidents and Prime Ministers.

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Author: Dilawar

Graduate Student at National Center for Biological Sciences, Bangalore.

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