Hailing from an educated Muslim family in Tamil Nadu, Nigar Shaji heads the Aditya L1 Sun mission. She is also currently the programme director for ‘Space Infrastructure: Low Earth Orbit and Planetary Platform’ at Rao Space Centre in Bengaluru.
NEW DELHI—The 59-year-old Nigar Shaji, project director for ISRO’s ongoing Aditya L1 mission to study the sun, believes that parents must teach their children how to face difficulties, appreciate their efforts, and also train them about how to work in teams.
In an interview with The Indian Express, the mother of a son and daughter says that even though parents may have money to provide facilities and comforts to their children, they should make their children do their household work with their own hands to help them grow in the right way.
Coming from a humble background, she hails from the Sengottai region of Tenkasi in Tamil Nadu. She is the third sibling of her parents – Sheik Meeran and Saidu Bevi.
She received her early education at the SRM Government Girls High School in Tenkasi from where she passed 10th and 12 standard examinations. She was a topper in the district in both examinations.
Shaji did her graduation in electronics and communication engineering from the Government Engineering College in Tirunelveli and completed her post-graduation from Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS) at Pilani in Rajasthan.
She hails from an educated family. Her father was a mathematics graduate in 1940. Her elder Sheikh Saleem is a post-doctorate in laser physics from IIT Chennai. He worked as a scientist at the Indian Institute of Astrophysics in Bengaluru. Later on, he shifted to academics and retired as a professor from a college in Tenkasi. She says that her father gave a good education to all his children.
While Nigar is the second batch student of GEC Tiruniveli, her husband Shajahan is from the first batch of GEC. She completed her engineering degree in 1986 and joined ISRO in 1987, beginning her career at Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota, 140 km from Chennai.
While her son works as an engineer in the Netherlands, she lives in Bengaluru with her daughter. Her mother also lives with her as her father Sheik Meeran died in 1995. Her husband – Shajahan – works as an engineer in a multinational company in the United Arab Emirates.
Nigar has been associated with the Aditya L1 project since 2008 and has been heading it for the last couple of years. She is also currently the programme director for ‘Space Infrastructure: Low Earth Orbit and Planetary Platform’ at Rao Space Centre in Bengaluru.