Khushboo Mirza, member of Chandrayaan-1 team, talks to TCN

By Md. Ali,,

Patna: When the whole India was basking in the glory of launching of Chandrayaan-1 it was also the turn of Chaugori Mohalla, a tiny, traditional Muslim neighborhood in UP’s Amroha district to take pride in the successful launching of the satellite. A daughter of the village was part of the mission Chandrayaan.

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The villagers are very proud of her so much so that they have started calling it Khushboo Mirza’s village.

Khushboo Mirza, member of Chandrayaan-1 team

Khushboo Mirza was a member of the team of engineers of the Check-Out Division of Chandrayaan-I, which carried out the thermal, vacuum and assembling checks on each component of the satellite.

This 23-years-old girl has been a top ranker throughout her career right from 10th to B.Tech from Aligarh Muslim University, pointed out her brother Khushtar Mirza who himself is a B.Tech from Jamia Millia Islamia.

Being a district level player of volley ball Khushboo Mirza got admission in B. Tech at AMU through the sports quota. called her and congratulated her on the successful launch of Chandrayaan-1.

Sharing her experience of the prestigious mission with TCN, she said she wanted to contribute to the scientific progress of India. It was since last one and half years that she had been working on this project.

“It was very exciting to be a part of ISRO’s prestigious mission Chandrayaan-1. Like any other Indian I too wanted to contribute in the Indian space science,” said Khushboo.

She pointed out that the work was distributed among the team members of the Check-Out Division of Chandrayaan-I, which carried out the thermal, vacuum and assembling checks on each component of the satellite. And being a member of that team she too checked some parts of the satellite.

She said that it was very thrilling to see the actual launching of Chandrayaan-1. After giving the command for its launch the whole team went on the roof top to actually witness the launch, she added.

So far so good. But did her being a Muslim girl ever pose any obstacle in the progress of her career?

A categorical NO was her reply.

“I am just like any other Muslim girl who follows Islam and its traditions, fasts in the month of Ramzan and celebrate Eid. My religion never came in the way of my profession. I am very proud that I am an Indian Muslim,” said she.

She also spoke on Islam and modernity. She said that Islam is completely compatible with modernity. For instance “I am an engineer working with ISRO and also a practicing Muslim. There is no conflict between the two,” she argued.

She gave an example of Aligarh to highlight the balanced relationship between Islam and modernity. At AMU there are doctors, engineers, professors but they are also Muslim with a flexible and broadminded approach towards religion, she said

She spoke at length on the fact that the city and the university (AMU) which has been her alma mater has emerged as a fine example of communal harmony. People belonging to different religion and sect are studying here. There is no clash or conflict between them.

TCN asked her about her views on the situation of Muslim women in India particularly on then index of education.
She said that it is increasingly improving. Whenever they are spoken about it is only in terms of certain stereotypes. For instance they are not educated or education among them is very less and they are completely confined to the domestic spheres.

People better avoid these stereotypes while describing Muslim women in India precisely because they are defying these categories and coming up more and more on the fore front in different walks of life she argued.

There are many opportunities in space sciences. You just need to come and grab, was the message of the young space scientist to the Muslim youths across the country.

On the Indian space programmes she said: “I hope India continues with this progress in space sciences.”

And with India you too, Khushboo Mirza. Best of luck!

[Photo courtesy Khushtar Mirza]