S. Somanath, the chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), withdrew the publication of his autobiography, Nilavu Kudicha Simhangal (loosely translated as “The lions that drank the moonlight”), on November 5, 2023, following a controversy over alleged critical remarks about his predecessor, K. Sivan.
A report in the Malayalam newspaper Malayala Manorama quoted excerpts from the book suggesting that Sivan may have hindered key promotions that Somanath thought were due. Somanath denied making any personal attacks on Sivan, but said that he had decided to withdraw the book to avoid further controversy.
In a statement, Somanath said that the purpose of writing the book was to write a motivational story about his own journey to becoming a space technologist and his experiences in executing the Chandrayaan missions. He said that he did not want the book to be a source of distraction for ISRO or its employees.
The decision to withdraw the book was welcomed by some, but criticized by others. Some people felt that Somanath was being unfairly targeted, while others felt that he should have been more careful about what he wrote in his book.
The controversy highlights the challenges that leaders face in public organizations, where they are often scrutinized for their every word and action. It also raises questions about the role of the media in reporting on the personal lives of public figures.
- ISRO Chairman Somanath withdraws autobiography after controversy.
- Allegations that Somanath criticized his predecessor, K. Sivan, in the book.
- Somanath denies making any personal attacks on Sivan, but withdraws the book to avoid further controversy.
- Some people welcome the decision, while others criticize it.
- The controversy highlights the challenges that leaders face in public organizations and the role of the media in reporting on their personal lives.