E.J. Kalwachia and
(Mumbai and Kolkata)
Dhruv Sharma (New Delhi)
Vinod Kumar (Chennai)
Climbed, Not Conquered
were pleasantly surprised to learn from the last issue of this magazine that
Godrej were closely associated with mountaineering, to the extent of
actually sponsoring the famed Panch Chuli expedition. Our former Chairman,
Sohrab Godrej, was a keen mountaineer in his youth, and encouragement of the
spirit of adventure occupies pride of place among Godrej values.
Indian mountaineering has come a long way from the days when a party of
enthusiasts attempted to climb the formidable Panch Chuli peaks with the
simplest of equipment, which included canvas shoes and an umbrella!
The facilities for mountain climbing have grown enormously since the
establishment of the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute and other similar
institutions, and the manufacture of excellent yet reasonably priced
In the best traditions of this sport throughout its history, the importance
of endeavour rather than success has been emphasized from the very
beginning. The very first Indian attempt on Everest was turned back less
than 800 feet from the Summit. No mean achievement, this. And the leader
could write with justified pride that “when you have done your best, you
cannot do any better?
It has been claimed time and again that the Himalaya have been conquered.
The fact is that the Himalaya can never be conquered, though they may be
climbed. The world keeps turning, but the Himalaya abide in their vastness
and grandeur and mystery. Believed to be the abode of the gods, which they
could well be, they have been a rich source of cultural inspiration through
the ages. The poet Kalidas lovingly described them as the Supreme Lord of
the Mountains, possessed of a divine soul and as “the measuring rod of the
earth?extending from the eastern to the western oceans.