World of memories: Udupi grieves departure of its son Prof U R Rao

Pics and report: Akshatha Rao and Harshini Brahmavar
With inputs from Sripathi Acharya
Daijiworld Media Network - Udupi (SP)

Udupi, Jul 26: Former chairman of Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), Prof U R Rao, who left for heavenly abode on July 24, belonged to this city. Rao spent his childhood in utter poverty. His father worked in a hotel at Ballari. Rao had immense interest in science since his childhood. He also dreamt of serving the armed forces as an emergency commissioned officer after completing education. But well-known scientist and Rao's mentor, Vikram Sarabhai, advised him against choosing any job other than that of scientist. He exhorted Rao to conduct research. Under Sarabhai's guidance and as inspired by him, Rao chose to be a researcher and became tremendously successful in that field.

Although he had tremendous responsibility and was a celebrated scientist, Rao never lost love for his native place. He continued to keep close relationship with his brothers who had grown up with him. He never was seen exhibiting the pride and arrogance of being a great scientist, and mingled with common people freely without any inhibitions.

Although during his childhood Rao moved about freely, he never was known to indulge in mischief. Since then he was known lovingly with the name, 'Rao Bhava'. He always reflected over everything without following anything blindly. Although he was a theist, he never was ostentatious on this issue. He always liked to intelligently think over things scientifically.

After the death of his mother, Dr Rao had performed post-funeral rituals of his mother at the residence of Vittal Acharya. As he later went to Ballari, Dr Rao was affectionately addressed with the name, 'Ramudu'. Normally when coming home from Ballari, he used to visit the house of Sripathi Acharya near the bus stand here, have food, and appreciate the culinary skills of Acharya's mother. He usually stayed there at night and left for his home at Korangrapady the next morning.

Rao also worked to create interest in science among his brothers, and succeeded. He was the only person to choose space science as his subject of interest. He had the burning desire to see that space science helps the farmers. He always was in favour of turning television and radio into things that are useful for the common people in their day to day life rather than getting stuck as means of entertainment.

Whenever he came here, he stayed with the family of his brother, Krishnamurthy Acharya. Because he was a high level officer, sometimes, he had to stay at NITK guest house or government accommodation at Manipal. As the house build by his father is in shambles, it is being reconstructed at present.

The city is in grief at the loss of Udupi Ramachandra Rao, who proved to be an invaluable jewel for the whole world. The relationship between head of physics department of Poornaprajna College, Dr A P Bhat, and U R Rao was 25 years long and strong. For a person from humble background to become chairman of ISRO is not a small thing. When A P Bhat was chosem for study at ISRO in 1982, Rao was his model and dream scientist. Their closeness grew in the last ten years. The laboratory of ISRO had initially been set up in a small room depicting the simple personality of Rao.

When Rao was extended an invitation on behalf of Poornaprajna College in 2014, Rao readily agreed. He always liked children and took initiative to create creativity among the children. He always gave importance to education, employment, and health.

Even when he visited Srikrishna Math here, Rao went as a common man, stood in queue and paid obeisance to the presiding deity. He had won the IAF Hall of Fame, a recognition only a few in the world get.

Rao had a regret about improper and insufficient use of solar power. On one occasion, he had questioned the will power of the government to develop solar power. He felt that the government could have used will power to provide solar power to people by extending subsidy.

During one of his visits, when the children of Bhat, who were doing an experiment, failed in it, Rao called them and showed them why their experiment did not succeed. His observational power, creativity, and concern to impart knowledge to children show how one should create interest on subjects among the children.



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Comment on this article

  • Hamdan, Udupi/Dubai

    Thu, Jul 27 2017

    Its a great to see Late Mr. Rao had studied in CHS, feels proud where i have too learnt from same school.

    DisAgree Agree [1] Reply Report Abuse

  • Jayanth, Bangalore

    Thu, Jul 27 2017

    What a shame...for film actors state government bestows so many honours during life and grants acres for their tombs. Whereas a kannadiga and also the top 10 space scientist who made enhancements to quality of life for all indians is ignored.

    He deserves a memorial in udupi may be a space and science musuem.

    DisAgree Agree [7] Reply Report Abuse

  • santhu, Mumbai/Udupi

    Wed, Jul 26 2017

    We are proud of you sir...RIP.

    DisAgree Agree [2] Reply Report Abuse

  • Gerald O F Fernandes, Mangalore/ Ireland

    Wed, Jul 26 2017

    It appears that our coastal district of Karnataka has been delivered many cream of intellectuals.
    Mr Rao is one among those. Also they are suitably rewarded for their sincere and hard work throughout their career. RIP to Mr Rao.

    DisAgree Agree [8] Reply Report Abuse

  • ca girishkk, m'lore/dxb

    Wed, Jul 26 2017

    it is equally important to take note that - now a days coastal districts also become famous for gau rakshaks....!!!

    DisAgree [9] Agree [2] Reply Report Abuse

  • Rajesh Salian, Qurm

    Wed, Jul 26 2017

    RIP Sir, we miss you

    DisAgree Agree [3] Reply Report Abuse


    Wed, Jul 26 2017

    RIP, one of the great talents lost. Salute to him. We are proud to say that he is from our place.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [4] Reply Report Abuse

  • FRANCIS, Dubai

    Wed, Jul 26 2017

    Proud to know that Prof. U .R. Rao is from Mangalore. India really lost a precious jewel and a great personality.....

    May his soul rest in peace.

    DisAgree Agree [7] Reply Report Abuse

  • Mario, Lalbagh

    Wed, Jul 26 2017

    Salute you Late Mr. Rao. You did India great and also our state. May your soul Rest in Peace.

    DisAgree Agree [5] Reply Report Abuse

  • Mustak, Udupi / Dubai

    Wed, Jul 26 2017

    Christian High school batch 1947 Great to see our School
    It is one of the famous school which gave numerous great personality to the Society to serve humanity

    DisAgree Agree [19] Reply Report Abuse

  • S.M. Nawaz Kukkikatte, Dubai

    Wed, Jul 26 2017

    Rightly Said,
    We really proud of Udupi Ramachandra Rao Sir,
    May His Soul Rest In Peace

    DisAgree Agree [7] Reply Report Abuse

  • Jossey Saldanha, Mumbai

    Wed, Jul 26 2017

    RIP ...

    DisAgree Agree [11] Reply Report Abuse

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