Book Review: To the ends of the earth

Aug 13, 2012, 09:40 IST | Kartiki Nitin Lawate

A new book titled 90 South � India's Journey to Antarctica sheds light on the hardships faced by scientists working there and India's contribution to Antarctic science

With environmental concerns dominating international summits, Antarctica has become one of the world’s most-discussed places. One of the lesser-known facts is the contribution made by Indian scientists in various disciplines of Antarctic science, particularly over the last decade. A new coffee-table book titled 90 Degree South — India’s Journey to Antarctica has recently been released. The book is authored by Urmi Popat who belongs to India’s first family to visit Antarctica, as tourists. The book offers a well-researched glimpse into India’s glorious Antarctic journey.

The author was entrusted by the National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research (NCAOR ), an autonomous Institution of Ministry of Earth Sciences, India, to recreate India’s passage through 30 years of Antarctic research in a coffee-tablechronicle.

The journey that began in 1981, with then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s support, has advanced in leaps and bounds and continues to grow with a brand-new Indian scientific research station being built on the frozen continent.

With this new station, Bharati, India will join the privileged group of nations that have multiple stations in Antarctica. The book offers rare glimpses of Antarctica with stunning images of snowscapes and the human triumph over the elements.

Speaking about the book, Popat admitted that she felt honoured when the book was presented to former President Dr APJ Abdul Kalam. She said meeting the scientists working in Antarctica changed her way of looking at life. “The hardships in Antarctica are much more than one can imagine. I have tried to explain a part of it through this book,” she says, adding that it made her feel proud as an Indian.

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