Discover more from Anecdotes of an Aerospace Nerd
10+ Organisations Founded by Vikram Sarabhai
Welcome to the Vikram Sarabhai Centenary Celebrations Series, learn about him being a Institution Builder and how he started PRL and IIMA.
Welcome to the Vikram Sarabhai Centenary Celebrations Series, learn about him being an Institution Builder and how he started PRL and IIMA.
Institute Builder Vikram Sarabhai immediately started the establishment of the Physics Research Laboratory (PRL) and Ahmedabad Textile Industry's Research Association (ATIRA). The visionary idea of PRL, which became the cradle of space research in India, had come to Vikram Sarabhai back in 1940 when he was just a student. PRL started small. It was housed in the service quarters of the MG Science College. There were only a few rooms, and Vikram Sarabhai did not have any room for himself. He just sat at the end of a passage. K.R. Ramanathan was the Director. An asbestos sheet on top of two boxes became a table for staff and the first few students. The whole amount of money was nothing more than one lakh rupees for research. That was the starting. With his influence, Sarabhai used to get so many scientists to give lectures. Having meagre resources, the students made their own instruments. Many world-renowned scientists appreciated the whole programme. Within a few years, a new PRL campus was established in 1954 in the presence of dignitaries such as Jawaharlal Nehru and CV Raman.
Apart from the Scientific Method, Vikram Sarabhai also understood the importance of Management and Operations Research for future India. Managing the family business Sarabhai Chemicals and ATIRA, he learned a lot about management and operations. Vikram Sarabhai trusted and nurtured individuals who were 'gems' of their trade. Khimjibhai Mistry, the carpenter who had helped Vikram build the steam engine, found a job at PRL. When an employee of ATIRA, DVN Sarma reported to Sarabhai that he was bored with his job, Vikram started India's first market research agency, the Operations Research Group in 1961. Around the same time, Vikram Sarabhai approached Ford Foundation to set up a management institute in Ahmedabad. After a challenging journey, he was able to convince Harward University to help set up IIM-A.
A list of the organisations founded by Vikram Sarabhai:
Physical Research Laboratory (PRL), Ahmedabad (known as the cradle of space science in India)
Darpan Academy for Performing Arts, Ahmedabad (along with his wife)
Space Applications Centre, Ahmedabad (This institution came into existence after merging six institutions/centres established by Sarabhai)