Vikram Sarabhai : Birth | Education | Career | Facts | Death


Vikram Sarabhai

Birth | Education | Career | Facts | Death

Dr. Vikram Sarabhai was one of the greatest scientists of India. He is considered as the Father of the Indian space program. Apart  from being a scientist, Vikram Sarabhai was a rare combination of an innovator, industrialist and visionary.


Vikram Ambalal Sarabhai was born on August 12, 1919 at Ahmedabad in an affluent family of progressive industrialists. Vikram Ambalal Sarabhai was one of eight children of Ambalal and the Sarla Devi. Vikram Ambalal Sarabhai had his early education in a private school, “Retreat” run by his parents on Montessori lines. Some of the great men of the  India such as Gurudev Rabindranath, J. Krishna Murthi, Motilal Nehru, V. S. Shrinivasa Shastri, Jawaharlal Nehru, Sarojini Naidu, Maulana Azad, C. F. Andrews, C. V. Raman etc. used to stay with the Sarabhai family when they visited Ahmedabad.

Mahatma Gandhi also once stayed at their house while recovering from an illness. Visits by such great men greatly influenced Vikram Sarabhai.


Vikram Sarabhai
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After his matriculation, Vikram Sarabhai proceeded to Cambridge for his college education and took the tripos in Natural Sciences from St. John’s college in 1940.

When World War II began, Vikram Sarabhai returned home and joined as a research scholar under Sir C. V. Raman at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore His interest in solar physics and cosmic ray led him to set up many observation stations around the country.

Vikram Sarabhai built the necessary equipment with which he took measurements at Bangalore, Poona and the Himalayas. He returned to Cambridge in 1945 and completed his Ph.D in 1947.

Marriage and Children

Vikram Sarabhai married a renowned and celebrated classical dancer Mrinalni Sarabhai in the year 1942. Because of the ongoing Quit India movement led by Mahatma Gandhi and Sarabhai’s family were active participants in that movement, no one from his side had attended his wedding. The wedding happened in Chennai. Vikram and Mrinalni had two children Karthikeya and Mallika. Unfortunately his marriage life with Mrinalni did not go smooth. Vikram Sarabhai had additional long affair with Dr. Kamala Choudhary.


The intellectual from famous Dr. Vikram Sarabhai Family of India who were the leading Industrialists and actively participated in Indian Independence Movement. After completion of his graduation he went to Cambridge for further studies.

Soon after he returned from Cambridge to an independent India in 1947, Vikram Sarabhai led charitable trusts controlled by his friends and family to finance a research institution near his residence in Ahmedabad. In the ongoing process Vikram Sarabhai established the Physical Research Laboratory (PRL) in Ahmedabad in the year 1947. Vikram Sarabhai was very young and just 28 by that time. Sarabhai was the one who invented the pursuing of institutions and PRL was the initial step in that direction. Vikram Sarabhai served of PRL from 1966-1971.

The invention of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) was one of his greatest find. Vikram Sarabhai successfully made government believe the importance of a space program for a developing country like India. For his achievements and contribution in the field of Science & Space he was awarded 2nd & 3rd highest civilian award i.e. Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhusan.

The evolution of scientist

The kind of interest that Vikram Sarabhai has shown in science and his implementation of research works in time variation mechanism in cosmic rays required a lot of instrumentation to observe the changing trends. Vikram Sarabhai with his group of students started constructing and setting up a huge number of cosmic ray telescopes for an undisturbed continuous observation of changing trends in the cosmic radiation and the intensity of the ray using the Geiger Muller counter telescopes in different places like Kodaikanal, Gulmarg and Trivendrum apart from Ahmedabad.

In the year 1957, the deep driving desire and his great interest in science naturally led him to take out the nitiation for the dynamic space program in India which was in the evolving phase of space studies and research in the world and in this process the PLR was made the cradle of Indian space programming. Vikram Sarabhai died on 31st December 1971 of a heart attack due to heavy stress.

Indian Space Program

Vikram Sarabhai
Image Source : Google

The establishment of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) was one of his greatest achievements. He successfully convinced the government of the importance of a space programme for a developing country like India after the Russian, Sputnik launch. Dr. Vikram Sarabhai emphasized the importance of a space program in his references.

Dr. Homi Jehangir Bhabha, widely regarded as the father of India’s nuclear science program, supported Dr. Vikram Sarabhai in setting up the first rocket launching station in India. This center was established at Thumba near Thiruvananthapuram on the coast of the Arabian Sea, primarily because of its proximity to the equator. After a remarkable effort in setting up the infrastructure, personnel, communication links, and launch pads, the inaugural flight was launched on November 21, 1963 with a sodium vapour payload.

As a result of Dr. Vikram Sarabhai dialogue with NASA in 1966, the Satellite Instructional Television Experiment (SITE) was launched during July 1975 – July 1976 (when Dr.Sarabhai was no more).

Dr. Vikram Sarabhai started a project for the fabrication and launch of an Indian Satellite. As a result, the first Indian satellite, Aryabhata, was put in orbit in 1975 from a Russian Cosmodrome.

Dr. Vikram Sarabhai was very interested in science education and founded a Community Science Centre at Ahmedabad in 1966. Today, the Centre is called the Vikram A Sarabhai Community Science Centre.

Dr Vikram Sarabhai established many institutes which are of international repute. Most notable among them are IIMs Indian Institute Of Management which are considered world class for their management studies. Also he helped establishing PRL (Physical Research Laboratory) which is doing commendable job in R&D in Physics. Dr Vikram Sarabhai setup ATIRA (Ahmedabad Textiles Industrial Research Association) which helped the booming textiles business in Ahmedabad. Dr Vikram Sarabhai also setup CEPT (Center for Environmental Planning and Technology). Not stopping with all these he went ahead and setup BMA (Blind Men Association) which helps visually challenged people with necessary skills and support.


The Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, (VSSC), which is the Indian Space Research Organization’s lead facility for launch vehicle development located in Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum), capital of Kerala state, is named in his memory. Along with other Ahmedabad-based industrialists, he played a major role in setting up of the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad. In 1973, the International Astronomical Union decided that a lunar crater, Bessel A, in the Sea of Serenity will be known as the Sarabhai crater.

Awards and Achievements

Vikram Sarabhai
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There are various Awards and Achievements of Dr. V Sarabhai. Here is Follows –

  • In 1962, Dr. Vikram received the ‘Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Medal’.
  • In 1966, He awarded the Padma Bhushan award.
  • In 1972, He honored with the Padma Vibhushan award.

Facts About Vikram Sarabhai

These are some interesting Facts About Dr. Vikram Sarabhai. Here is Follows –

1.) Dr Sarabhai was the mastermind behind India’s first Satellite, Aryabhata.

2.) Vikram was also responsible for bringing cable of television in India.

3.) Sarabhai was one of the founding members for Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Ahmedabad, in 1961 along with Kasturbhai Lalbhai. This was the second IIM to be established in the nation.

4.) For his visionary work, he was awarded Padma Bhushan in 1966 and Padma Vibhushan in 1972 (after his demise)

5.) Dr. Vikram Sarabhai was the man behind the genesis of Operations Research Group (ORG) which was the first market research organization in India.

6.) Vikram Sarabhai was the vice president for the fourth UN peace conference organised in 1971. The topic of concern in this issue was ‘Peaceful uses of atomic energy.’

7.) He completed his PhD in ‘Cosmic ray investigations in tropical latitudes’ under the Doctoral Advisory of Sir C. V. Raman.

Quotes By Vikram Sarabhai

Vikram Sarabhai
Image Source : Google

These are Various Quotes which are saying By Dr. Vikram Sarabhai. Here is Follows –

He who can listen to the music in the 
midst of noise can achieve great things.
my friend said to me : 
" When you stand above the crowd, 
you must be ready to have stones thrown at you. "
 We look down on our scientists if they engage in outside consultation. 
We implicitly promote the ivory tower.
 I also believe that a person who does not have respect for time, 
and does not have a sense of timing, can achieve little.
Our bureaucracy today is too bloated and therefore it is burdensome.
Our belief at Anand has always been: let the people’s energies be unleashed.
What, therefore, is a government at its best ? 
It is a government that “governs” least and instead finds ways to mobilise 
the energies of our people.

Death Info

Vikram Sarabhai died on 30 December 1971 at Kovalam, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala. He was visiting Thiruvananthapuram to attend the foundation stone laying ceremony of the Thumba railway station. During his last days, he was under a great amount of stress due to excessive travelling and a huge work-load which adversely affected his health.

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