Chapter 13: Antarctic Proposal To PM And Some Correspondence

Chapter 13
13.1 Introduction
The author sent a congratulatory message to the Honourable Prime Minister of India, the late Shrimati Indira Gandhi, on the auspicious occassion of the Silver Jubilee celebrations of the Indian Independence Day on 15th August, 1972 from Antarctica while he was wintering over at the South Pole there, with a proposal to launch Indian Antarctic Expeditions and open some Indian Research Bases in Antarctica, which is included in this Chapter along with some other miscellaneous Antarctic correspondence..
This most cherished Antarctic dream of the author ultimately came out to be true when his Antarctic explorations and proposals sparked lot of interest in India for its further explorations with the launching of regular Indian Antarctic Expeditions from the southern summer of 1981-1982 and the opening of some permanent Indian Research Bases in Antarctica since 1982 such as ‘Dakshin Gangotri’ and subsequently ‘Maitri’. The author has thus opened a Gateway of India to Antarctica which is a matter of great personal satisfaction and reward for him.
13.2 Congratulatory Message to the Honourable Prime Minister of India from Antarctica
Official Radiogram Transmited on 10th August 1972
Urgent Message
The Indian Embassy
Kindly transmit the following Radio Message to the Prime Minister of India with separate copies to:
1. The Scientific Adviser to the Prime Minister of India, Research, Ahmedabad, India.
2. The Broadcasting Director, All India Radio, New Delhi, India.
3. The Editor, ‘The Times Of India,
New Delhi, India,
Them before 15th August 1972. Et Sequentia (its copy) is for you as well. Please signal its acknowledgement and transmission accordingly.
The Message Begins:
“Heartiest congratulations to all the patriotic citizens of India on the auspicious occassion of the magnificent Twenty-fifth Anniversary of the Indian Independence Day and its Silver Jubilee clebrations on 15th August 1972. Heartfelt homages to all the braves and veracious patriots whose great sacrifices earned us sovereign freedom . Those heroes shall remain immortal”.
“In memoriam and honoris causa everyone would appreciate if India lands on the South Polar Ice Cap in Antarctica in the near future and founds some Research Bases in Antarctica glorifying this historical day”.
“Ad hoc ad initium (for this purpose, in the begining), among other member nations, India should also join the Antarctic Treaty”.
“I hope that this auspicious day will plant the following new programmes and departments :
1. ARPI - The Antarctic Research Programme of India
2. INSCAR - Indian National Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research
3. ICE - Indian Interstate Council of Circumpolar Explorations and Expeditions which all combind with logistic support by the Indian Defence Services shall fruit productive scientific reserach.”
“That day is awaited when India landfalls on Antarctica, the seventh continent of the world, realising the above wish of every Indian citizen”.
“May India evermore progress and prosper. May the 15th of August always bring ots of progress and prosperity for everyone in our country.”
“India has forever voiced for peace, rapprochement (harmonious relations) and entente (friendly understanding between various countries). May her demarche (foreign policy and dilomatic relations) ever succeed in upholding the world peace ad infinitum (for ever).”
“Long live our peaceable Tiranga!”
“Long live our Bharat Mata”!
“Jai Hind”!
Parmjit Singh Sehra
Imprimis (First) Indian wintering in Antarctica
Project Scientist, 17th Soviet Antarctic Expedition

Molodezhnaya station, Antarctica.
The Message Ends.
13.3 Message from the Indian Embassy, Moscow agreeing to send Antarctic Messages.
+µ+U¦ +ñµ +Uµ-+O¦µ¯µG¦ +µ±S+ñµ=
Education Attache MOSCOW
No. Mos (Edn)/327/3/69-70 18th August 1972
Dear Shri Sehra,
Kindly refer to your letter addressed to the Ambassador for sending messages to your son in Antarctica. We have talked to the organisers of this Soviet Antarctic Expedition and they have taken the message from us for sending it to your son. We have also requested the organisers to give us any message which your son might have sent from Antarctica for transmission to you in India.
With best wishes and kind regards,
Yours sincerely,
(D.C. Biswas)
Shri Mohinder Singh Sehra,
Postmaster, Head Post Office
District Jalandhar, Punjab, India.
13.4 Disapproval of sending Antarctic Message through the Indian Embassy, Moscow
TELEX : 012-261 AHMEDABAD-9 77076, 79271,
(INDIA) 79272, 77642

1.4.27/72 August 21, 1972
Shri Mohinder Singh Sehra
Postmaster, Head Post office
District Jalandhar, Punjab, India.
Dear Shri Mohinder Singh Sehra :
I am in receipt of your letter dated August 10, 1972. Your message mentioned therein has been transmitted to Mr. Parmjit Singh Sehra.
The Indian Embassy, Moscow has written to me that they are receiving private messages for Mr. Parmjit Singh Sehra. Since we are sending our messages through Dr. Alexandrov, Hydromet Services, Moscow, I wonder whether you have been sending messages to Mr. Parmjit Singh Sehra in Antarctica through the Indian Embassy, Moscow. It is requested that your messages for Mr. Parmjit Singh Sehra may be sent through PRL.
With kind regards,
Yours sincerely,
P. R. Pisharoty
13.5 Message received on 31st August 1972 from Prof. P R. Pisharoty, My Research Guide, Physical Research Laboratory Ahmedabad, India
Your message via Radio Moscow received through Indian Embassy, Moscow. We appreciate your initiative regarding additional observations in Antarctica. However, suggest your programme outlines by Soviet Leader and not depart from that. Best wishe.
Pisharoty Reserch ( PRL)
Ref. No. 21097, Alexandrov.
13.6 Message received on 4th October 1972 from my father Mohinder Singh Sehra from Phillaur, District Jalandhar, Punjab, India expressing my parents worry as I was not in a position to communicate even my welfare to them
Wire welfare. Here all right. No Message since 31st July. Worry increased. Still continuing Phillaur. M S Sehra
Col lt 31st NNNN
13.7 Request to Indian Embassy, Moscow for sending some essential items to Antarctica
TELEX : 012-261 AHMEDABAD-9 76242-6
1.4.27 October 9, 1972
Shri Mohinder Singh Sehra
Postmaster, Head Post Office
District Jalandhar, Punjab, India.
Dear Shri Mohinder Singh Sehra :
We are in receipt of your telegram dated 8th October. We have rquested the Indian Embassy, Moscow on 3.10.1972 to purchase the items required by Shri Parmjit Singh Sehra such as :
English-Russian Dictionary
Russian-English Dictionary
World Atlas
Movie Camera
20 rolls of colour film, etc.
Indian Embassy will deliver them to Dr. Alexadrov of the Hydrometeorological Service, Moscow, for onward transmission to Shri Parmjit Singh Sehra. As the items required have to reach Leningrad by 10.10.1972, there is no time to collect them in India. Hence we have rquested the Indian Embassy, Moscow, so that it will reach Leningrad before the ships leave for Antarctica. Mr. Parmjit Singh Sehra has been informed of this arrangement.
Mr. Sehra is in good health and spirit.
With kind regards
Yours sincerely
K. P. G. Nair
P. A. To Prof. P. R. Pisharoty
13.8 Message about Rewintering Proposal in Antarctica
Radiogram : 9th October 1972
Would be deeply indebted if you kindly transmit the following message to these three addresses
1 Doctor Alexandrov, Hydromet, Moscow
2 Professor P.R. Pisharoty, Research, Ahmedabad, India.
3 Sh. Mohinder Singh Sehra, Postmaster, Phillaur, Jalandhar, India.
The message begins:
Subject to permission myself intend rewintering in Antarctica voluntarily with the 18th Soviet Antarctic Expedition, 1973-1975 pricipally to acquire more meteorological rocketsonde data, for two successive years, and alternatively for making Geomagnetic Observations at Vostok, the Pole of Cold provided PRL sends me all essential equipment and pertinent Geomagnetism literature. Kindly signal your consent with necessary action. With deepest respects
Yours sincerely
Parmjit Singh Sehra
Indian Participant and Project Scientist, 17th Soviet Antarctic Expedition, 1971-1973.
The message ends.
13.9 Message received on 11th November, 1972 from my father from Chandigarh, India agreeing to my rewintering proposal in Antarctica.
POR 30 ZCZC NMA 110 NDS 221/10 SUMS HL INNX 023 PHILLAUR. 23/21 10 0905 LT
Parmjit Singh Sehra, Molodezhnaya, Antarctica, Moscow Radio :
Acknowledge your references. Agree your intention of rewintering in Antarctica. Health improved. Heartiest congratulations on the auspicious occasion of Gurpurb Celebration on Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s Birthday on 20th November 1972. With Love : M S Sehra
13.10 Approval for spending one more summer in Antarctica in 1973
TELEX : 012-261 AHMEDABAD-9 77076, 79271,
(INDIA) 79272, 77642
December 13, 1972
Shri Mohinder Singh Sehra
Postmaster, Head Post Office
District Jalandhar
Punjab, India.
Dear Shri Mohinder Singh Sehra:
I am in receipt of your letter dated 13th November 1972 and telegram dated 11th December. We have received a message from Dr. Alexandrov, Hydrometeorological Services, Moscow that Shri Parmjit Singh Sehra’s proposal of rewintering in Antarctica with their Antarctic Expedition is not acceptable as they are anxious, for medical reasons, not to keep any of their personnel for more than one winter in the Antarctic. Mr. Parmjit Singh Sehra has, however, been permitted to spend one more summer in Antarctica in 1973 and visit other Antarctic stations to collect more data as desired by him.
I have received a letter from Mr. Parmjit Singh Sehra last week which was posted in March 1972. A copy of this letter is enclosed. Obviously, this letter was written several months ago. It reached us late because the ship carrying it from Antarctica was frozen there during the cold Antarctic winter.
A few months ago he wanted a camera and a few books to be sent to him in Antarctica. We had arragned for these.
Your letter dated 11th was received just now. I have been away from Office on various missions inside and outside India and hence this delay in replying to your earlier letters.
With kind regards
Yours sincerely
P.R. Pisharoty
13.11 Message received on 20th December 1972 from my father from Chandigarh, India
NMA001 PHILLAUR 23 18 1658
Parmjit Singh Sehra, Molodezhnaya, Antarctica. Moscow Radio
Reference your telegram dated 13th December 1972. Parcel dispatched today to Prof. P.R. Pisharoty as desired. Ask him for its further dispatch to you in Antarctica. All well. With love, M.S. Sehra. COL. LT 13th .
13.12 Message is received on 9th April 1972 from the Staff of the ship ‘Navrin’ which had taken us all around the Antarctic Continent
From : D/E Ship Navarin=
To : Molodezhnaya, Indian Participant, Parmjit Singh Sehra
After taking winterers from the station Bellingshausen, we are sailing to our motherland via Monte Video. Expected time for arrival at Leningrad end of may 1972. Please Inform about your welfare and progress of your research work. Hoping for your regular information. Sending our best wishes and sincere regards from all collegues as well.
Yours friendly : Vitaly, Michale and Crew/members-
13.13 Message received on 1st May 1972 from Dr. Ananjev, Station Director at ‘Vostak’, the Pole of the extreme cold. This is the world’s coldest place (lowest temperature-89.3 C)
Vostoka 000910=
Molodezhnaya Dr. Parmjit Singh Sehra=
I should like to say to you many good words on that day on the first of May. Take the best of our regards on that day for you and your family. I think I shall see you here at our station. The best of our best wishes from Vostok-Ananjev
13.14 Message received on 22nd June 1972 from my American friend Mr. Gregg Vane, in Antarctica
Fm Novolazarevskaya 22010Z
To Molodezhnaya
Pass to Parmjit Singh Sehra

Congratulations on mid winter night, my friend. I hope your winter is still going well. For me the Polar night has been a peaceful serene experience except for the 59 metres per second wind last week. Warmest regards. Gregg Vane.
13.15 Message received on 25th July 1972 from the Indian Embassy, Moscow agreeing to help me in communicating with the outside world from Antarctica
NOP 22 CP 04 HO MOCKBE ZCZC 14 MOSCOW 36 24 1435 Etatprioritem Parmjit Singh Sehra, 17th Soviet Antarctic Expedition, Molodezhnaya- G/87 Refer Your Radio Messages of July 21st and July 23, 1972.
Official mesages will be transmitted as requested.
Our Telephone number 227 83 30 (.) = Indembassy. Col
13.16 Message received on 18th September 1972 from the American station McMurdo Sound in Antarctica showing their willingness about my proposed visit to them and to their Amundsen-Scott South Pole station located at the Geographic South Pole
Rttuzyuw ruhhjlt5509 2590127-uuu—ruevdee.
R 150126Z Sep 72
Fm McMurdo sound, Antarctica
To Molodezhnaya station, Antarctica
Info ruevdee/NSF Polar Washington DC
Unclas usarp nr 59
Pass Parmjit Singh Sehra
Ref yr 141600z Sep 72
1. Your request forwarded to National Science Foundation, Office of Polar Programs, Washington, for action.
2. It is my pleasure to hear from you. If I can be of further help, please do contact me. Best regards. ERV Koenig, SSL
BT 05509
13.17 Message received on 30th September 1972 from the New Zealand Antarctic Society and their station ‘Scott Base’ in Antarctica
Nnnnmc nr 975
De ruhhjlt6009 2740140
Znr uuuuu
R 300140z Sep 72
Fm Leader Scott Base
To Molodezhnaya
Message for Parmjit Singh Sehra from Mr. Harold Griffiths, Editor of the scientific journal “Antarctic” of 14th Woodchester Avenue, Christchurch -1, New Zealand.
Message received. Appreciate your interest in New Zealand Antarctic Society, and happy to have you as our Member. Regarding your quarterly Periodical, it has taken some time to put together a set of back numbers but a set now available which is seven numbers short. If we airmail this bundle to Moscow, it may be too late to connect with a ship sailing for your Base in October 1972. Please advise new instructions for mailing and also full address of Dr. Alexandrov. The total cost of your parcel and membership fee could be as high as NZ 50. Are you happy with this cost? We will await your reply. With all good wishes, Harold Griffiths. End of message.
The party at Scott base send their greetings to their fellow Antarcticans at the Russian Bases= Leader.
13.18 Message received on 2nd November 1972 from my American Friend Mr. Gregg Vane from Novolazarevskaya station in Antarctica

From : Novolazarevskaya, Vane
Nr : 011457
To : Molodezhnaya, Parmjit Singh Sehra =
Thanks for your telegram Parmjit and apologies for my silence in the past months. Happy to hear that all is well with you but sorry about your lost weight and teeth. Everything going very well here although weather still often bad. My Program is almost finished but cannot return home until April 1973 when the ship ‘Navarin’ calls here for my equipment. I am hoping to take short tour of other Antarctic stations in the mean time. However, I will advise you accordingly when I know about my final schedule so that we could possibly visit the same together.
With best wishes
Your friend
Gregg Vane=
Bt -
13.19 An Extract from the ‘Antarctic’ –A Scientific Journal of the New Zealand Antarctic Society, Christchurch, New Zealand, page 292, December 1972
Indian Subscriber at Base in Enderby Land
‘Antarctic’ has readers in Britain, the United States, the Soviet Union, Japan, South Africa, Australia, Argentina, France, Chile, Norway, Belgium, and West Germany. Now it has a reader in Enderby Land, an Indian Scientist who has wintered at Molodezhnaya, the main Soviet station in the Antarctic.
Most subscribers to ‘Antarctic’ have their copies sent by surface or air mail. Mr. Parmjit Singh Sehra, of the Physical Research Laboratory, Ahmedabad India, who is believed to be the first Indian ever to spend the winter in the Antarctic, had his copies numbering 60 of the 66 issues of the quarterly Bulletin Antarctic sent from Christchurch to Moscow by air freight, and then by sea from Leningrad to Molodezhnaya.
Recently, the Editor received a request from Mr. Sehra, relayed by radio from Molodezhnaya through McMurdo Station and Scott Base, seeking to join the New Zealand Antarctic Society and subscribe to ‘Antarctic’. He added that he would appreciate all available back issues of the Bulletin, and its predecessor ‘Antarctic News Bullentin’.
Mr. Sehra asked that these be sent by air mail and registered post to Moscow in time for them to be placed aboard the first Soviet ship due to leave Leningrad for the Antarctic early last month. When the Editor found how much it would cost to send 60 issues of ‘Antarctic’ (all that were available) to Moscow, he sent a radio message back to Mr. Sehra to make sure he still wanted the Bulletins sent air freight. Back came a reply that he was, in fact, quite happy about the cost.
Mr. Sehra’s large and expensive parcel is expected to reach him this month. He is a member of the 17th Soviet Antarctic Expedition, 1971-1973, and is studying for a Doctorate (Ph.D.) in upper atmospheric physics. His field is the structure and circulation of the upper atmosphere, and he has been taking soundings of this area with the aid of meteorological rockets.

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