On astronaut Rakesh Sharma's birthday today, a video clip of the famous conversation with former prime minister Indira Gandhi is being widely shared on Twitter. Rakesh Sharma quoting poet Iqbal's "Sare jahan se accha" from the Suyuz spacecraft was a proud moment for Indians. The astronaut spoke to Indira Gandhi from space during a joint television news conference, which also included officials in Moscow. During the conversation, Indira Gandhi had asked Mr Sharma "Upar se Bharat kaisa dikhta hai aapko (How does India look like from space?)." Mr Sharma turned 72 today.
Birthday wishes to Squadron Leader Rakesh Sharma. I wish him good health and a long life ahead.— TS Singh Deo (@TS_SinghDeo) January 13, 2021
Sharing one of India's proudest moment when he became the first Indian to travel in space. pic.twitter.com/oO8q60AAyp
Birthday wishes for Mr Sharma have been pouring in on the microblogging site.
Happy Birthday to the First Indian in space Rakesh Sharma. When you said “Saare Jahan Se Accha' about how India looked from outer space, you filled our hearts with pride. Privileged and honoured to meet you Sir. Salute ???? #RakeshSharma#Nilgirispic.twitter.com/5ZofCMVGAb— Supriya Sahu IAS (@supriyasahuias) January 13, 2021
In 1984, an IAF pilot became the first Indian to conquer space and soon after, conquered all our hearts by quoting “Saare Jahaan Se Acha”, when asked how India looks like from space. Wishing Shri #RakeshSharma ji a very happy and a joyful birthday. pic.twitter.com/UggMBblLwp— B Sriramulu (@sriramulubjp) January 13, 2021
In 1984, Mr Sharma made history by becoming the first Indian to travel to space. He was part of the Soviet Union's Soyuz T-11 expedition, which was launched on April 2, the same year.
Astronaut Rakesh Sharma spent seven days, 21 hours and 40 minutes in space as part of a joint programme between the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) and the Soviet Interkosmos space programme. He was accompanied on the mission by two Russian cosmonauts, commander Yury Malyshev and flight engineer Gennady Strekalov.