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Monday, March 1, 2021

Solar-powered portable military tent - innovated by visionary Sonam Wangchuk, Salute you Sir

I am never a big fan of Cinema – do see comedy scenes .. .. always get bamboozled by the punch dialogues and heroic portrayal of short heroes beating scores of people.  That is not the issue here – am more than  a bit confused – should one positively appreciate the Director and Hero for portraying such a great person or should they be condemned still for not bringing ‘the real hero’ – all credit.  How many (what %) of fans who adored 3 Idiots / Nanban would recognize the real hero behind that film !!!


Ladakh is a trans-Himalayan mountain desert in the extreme north of India with villages located at 2,700m to 4,000m altitudes. It is a cold desert with winter temperatures touching -30° C, and an average annual rain/snow fall of only 100 mm. Human settlements are almost always located around glacial streams which feed into the Indus and other rivers as tributaries. The key to human settlement in this cold desert is the art of diverting water from the streams through meticulously built canals toward deserts to grow crops like barley, wheat, vegetables and trees like apricots, apples, willow and popular.

The man, the real hero,  was born in 1966 in Uleytokpo, near Alchi in the Leh district of Jammu and Kashmir. He was not enrolled in a school until the age of 9 year as there weren’t any schools in his village. His mother taught him all the basics in his own mother tongue till that age, contrary to what others would say, he considers himself lucky to have been spared the pains of schooling in alien languages which other children are forced to !!!  it is stated that  he looked different compared to the other students,  would get addressed in a language that he did not understand; his lack of responsiveness was mistaken for  being stupid.   Years later, he was to complete his  B.Tech in Mechanical Engineering from National Institute of Technology (then REC), Srinagar in 1987.

He went on to  win a Rolex Award for Enterprise on November 15, 2016. He received 100,000 Swiss francs (Rs 67 lakh) and one of the world’s most expensive watches engraved with his name from actress Michelle Monaghan.  To solve water problems in a cold desert,  this man had come  up with a path-breaking idea: freeze millions of litres of water in the form of ‘ice stupas’.  Can you make out who he is ?  ~  sad in a Nation lost in cinemas, we fail to recognize reallife heroes !!!


Temperatures inside the tent, which uses only sunlight, water and insulated layers to maintain temperature, stood at 15 degrees Celsius at 10 pm on a day when the minimum temperature outside was -14 degrees Celsius.  Ladakh-based engineer, educational reformer and visionary Sonam Wangchuk, who inspired 3 idiots,  has developed a solar-powered portable military tent to help Indian soldiers stay warm in high-altitude climes like Galwan Valley.

Exhibiting its insular properties, he said that the tent uses only sunlight, water and insulated layers to maintain temperature. He noted how temperatures inside the tent stood at 15 degrees Celsius at 10 pm on a day when the minimum temperature outside was -14 degrees Celsius. According to Wangchuk, the tent does not only offer more space than the container cabins the Indian Army uses for its soldiers, this structure also doesn't require kerosene for heating purposes and thus emits zero pollution into the environment. According to him, "at present, the Indian Army in Ladakh uses around one lakh kiloleter fuel per year for heating purposes, which emits around three lakh ton carbon dioxide". With the use of this solar-powered tents, the use of fuel can reduce significantly, he said.

The solar-powered tent could accommodate 10 soldiers at a time, he said, adding that this is fully portable for difficult terrains and weighs less than 30 kilograms.The concept of the solar-heated tents is based on old designs and it took around one month for Wangchuk to prepare the prototype of the tent. The tent is divided into two parts - greenhouse or solar lounge and sleeping chambers, explained Wangchuk. Wangchuk also talked about the cost of the tent. “The making of this tent cost us around Rs 5 lakh. If we compare this tent with the container cabins that the Indian Army uses, it is double the size. However, that cost the Army around Rs 9 lakh to Rs 10 lakh. So, this tent is providing almost double accommodation space in just half the price,” he said.

The invention has gained applause from business tycoon and Mahindra Group Chairman Anand Mahindra. "Sonam, you’re the MAN! I salute you. Your work is energising, even this late in the evening," Mahindra said on Twitter.

Nanban directed by Shankar, starring Vijay, Jiva, Srikanth, Sathyan and Sathyaraj was a good entertainer;  it was a remake of ‘3 idiots’.  The knot of the movie was all about education – how the most studious behave and how not so good in class are ill-treated.  Years later after college days, Of the trio, Venkat becomes a successful wildlife photographer, Senthil, gets married and settles happily in a  middle class life; they set out to find their classmate Panchavan Pari around whom there is lot of mystery.  Sathyan that first bench boy turns wealthy and successful pro owning a company – comes down  looking to seal a deal with Kosaksi Pasapugazh, a famous scientist and prospective business associate.  They find out that Panchavan Parivendan is altogether different  - at  Dhanushkodi, they end up meeting Kosaksi Pasapugazh,who of course is none other than Pari ! 

In the original version in ‘3 idiots’ the trio alongwith good student  upon  arrival in Ladakh,  find the village school, witnessing young students' inventions that resemble Rancho's own college projects. Assuming Rancho to be a mere school teacher, Chatur insults Rancho, and asks him to sign a statement that he is the less successful one.  Seconds later it is revealed that  "Rancho" is  Phunsukh Wangdu, an inventor with over 400 patents, with whom Chatur seeks a contract.  Let us stop the movie here ! ~ for our hero is much much greater …. 

With regards – S. Sampathkumar



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