Move over like Chacha Nehru, Chacha Kalam is here. Come November 14, the birth anniversary of the first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and President Abdul Kalam heads off to do what he likes to do most. Spend time with children on Children’s day.
President Kalam meets groups of school children at least once a week. These sessions are strictly interactive and teachers accompanying the group are told in no uncertain terms that they may not interrupt. He loves spontaneity and encourages children to speak their mind. He feels that a child’s mind is in its purest form and has no divisive tendencies. We should let it blossom to the fullest.
Every speech of the President has reference to the next generation. Children identify with him and when he took oath of office last year, the galleries in Parliament’s Central Hall were filled with children. Kalam had insisted on it.
He often took time off his busy schedule to interact with children during his official programmes across the country and even opened a dedicated children gallery in the President’s website. The gallery saw kids and teenagers from across the globe asking questions to their favourite President on a host of issues ranging from his unusual hairstyle to his inspiration and from his hobbies to his vision about India. They even posed serious of corruption, ways to develop the country besides seeking his advice on how to shape up their careers.
Children said that the manner in which President Abdul Kalam had given his India 2020, a vision for the new millennium for the country, he was the one who could take India forward on the road to success. He was neither educated abroad, nor his family financially very strong to support his academic pursuits. He received secondary education at a missionary institute in Ramanathapuram, and later went on to study Aeronautical Engineering at the Madras Institute of Technology. The president often said the future goal of his life was to see smiles on the faces of a billion people.
A great humanitarian, he extended his knowledge of space technology and mechanisms to help disabled children, replacing their 3-kg metal supporters with very light braces made of carbon, which weight just 300grams.
The man, ascetic in looks and behavior, belongs to a rare breed of those who dream lofty dreams, and work hard to transform vision to reality as is evidenced in his famous words, “Many dream and few transform it into thought’s but his thoughts have been transformed into actions.
I would like to tell particularly to the young audience of our Nation, the vision is bigger than us. The developed India needs a revolution in the minds of the young. Enter into it. Ignited minds are indeed the powerful resources to transform this nation from the developing nation of 50 years into developed nation in less than two decades time. All above he is quintessentially Indian, never allowing his astounding success as a scientist to diminish his humanity and humility. Despite having had an unparalleled career as a defense scientist and awarded the highest civilian award of India, the Bharat Ratna, he retains a common touch of the humble person that he is.
His is a classic story of the magic of democracy where a person from a humble background can expect to rise to the most prestigious positions in the country though sheer hard work and merit. In his words we must dream, dream, and dream! Conduct these dreams into thoughts, and then transform them into action.
Kalam’s famous book, “Ignited minds,” was dedicated to a high school child, named Snehal Thakkar whom he met at a school, and while talking to the students, a question had come up; “Who is our Enemy?”. Kalam recalled that many answers came up, but the answer on which all agreed cane from Snehal : “Our enemy is poverty.”
The book ends with a “Song of Youth,” with these opening words:
“As a young citizen of India,
Armed with technology and love for my nation,
I realize that a small aim is a crime.”
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