Fall from the sky | The Indian Express

In July 1979, the sky was falling. Panicked residents of coastal areas of Andhra Pradesh and Odisha started moving inland, schools were closed, fear of death from above loomed. Skylab, NASA’s first space station – launched in 1973 – proved that humans could live in space for long periods of time. The mission was supposed to last four years longer than it did, but Skylab began being put into Earth orbit in 1979, and there was every chance it would crash into a populated area.

Cut to India 2022. In this election season, leaders are crossing over, joining new parties – especially in Uttar Pradesh. Swami Prasad Maurya, a former minister in the Yogi Adityanath government, said the UP CM was parachuted into the post in 2017, “falling into the chair like Skylab”. The metaphor is profound, invoking fear and terror, distance and despair. It is also a blow to his former cabinet colleague, implying that Adityanath was not in the running for the job and his appointment came as a surprise and a disappointment.

Unfortunately for Maurya, his comment also leaves many people a little confused. Given that UP has among the highest proportion of young people in its population, the Skylab reference might be a little dated: Those under 35 are more likely to think it’s a rooftop restaurant than a space station. Then the subject of Maurya’s ire was certainly thrown like Skylab. But it is unlikely that Maurya wanted to leave it there. Given that Skylab’s journey is more reminiscent of its rise than its subsequent crash, perhaps next time a more recent reference to James Bond might come in handy, helping him put it better – Skyfall.

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