With news channels and social media flooded with the countdown to ISRO's launch of 104 satellites into space, the average citizen could not have missed this record rocket launch.
Within the first 18 minutes of its launch, the rocket which lifted from Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh, sent three India satellites into orbit. What followed next was a feat that has gained immense praise from international space agencies. In a matter of 600 seconds, 101 international satellites were let loose in pairs.
As scientists behind the space mission celebrated this historic achievement, Indians took to social media to remind the New York Times of a cartoon it had published in 2014.
This cartoon shows India, represented by a man in dhothi and a cow in tow, knocking at the door of the ‘elite space club’ in an effort to gain entry. It was printed merely four days after India successfully placed a spacecraft in orbit around Mars.
The cartoon led to uproar among readers, who termed it offensive, condescending and a stereotypical depiction of Indians. Faced with huge criticism, the New York Times was forced to issue an apology.
Image credit: YouTube
The paper may have come out with an explanation but the cartoon has not been forgotten. Now two years later, newspapers and people alike have come out to give what they claim is a 'fitting reply' to NYT's cartoon.
— Times of India (@timesofindia) February 16, 2017
The cartoon has been retweeted over 3,000 times from when it was put on Thursday. With the cartoon setting the tone, several more cropped up as a 'reply' to the New York Times.
— Akshay Chander (@akshaychanders) February 16, 2017
— Jenson George (@JENSONGEORGE143) February 16, 2017
— Aditya Raj Kaul (@AdityaRajKaul) February 16, 2017
Several people, even asking America to start taking notes.
— Ritupan Borah (@ritupan_borah) February 15, 2017
Over 90 of the 104 satellites launched reportedly belonged to the U.S and this provided additional arsenal to the Twitterati.
Knock Knock !! @nytimes
ISRO launched 104 satellites in a single mission
& Pls note 96 out of 104 satellites launched by ISRO were of USA. pic.twitter.com/UoMAg5U9HN
— Rishi Bagree (@rishibagree) February 15, 2017
— Truly SHINING BHARAT (@hpBhat28) February 15, 2017
If you are wondering how the New York Times reported India's success, Firstpost says - 'Coverage of ISRO's 104 satellite launch still betrays New York Times' condescension'. The New York Times in its report titled "India Launches 104 Satellites from a Single Rocket, Ramping Up a Space Race," has made a few rather distasteful observations.
Sample this: "The Indian Space Research Organization has gained attention in recent years for staging successful missions at very low cost, in part because its scientists are paid less."
And this: "India is fascinated with world records, and Wednesday’s satellite launch prompted a wave of celebratory crowing, some of it aimed at Asian rivals."
The New York Times' tone has been slammed again as patronising. The Firstpost observed that the publication is 'perhaps finding the old condescension a little too tough to shake off entirely.'
But with another feather in the ISRO's cap, India has no time to take offence again. Instead, we have taken to laughing at 'practices that helped unlock this achievement.’
— Kejul Shah (@s_kejul619) February 17, 2017
— Anku (@iankunadendla) February 17, 2017
— Raja Thiagarajan (@RajaThiagarajan) February 17, 2017