This is a compilation of views and sayings by Dr APJ Abdul Kalam who was one of the most popular Presidents of India since Independence.
In an ode to his mother, Dr Abdul Kalam says, Your love, your care, your faith gave me strength to face the world without fear and with His strength.
Dr Kalam considers his mother and Bharat Ratna M.S. Subbulakshmi as the greatest whose memory always “inspired and rejuvenated” him.
Dr Kalam refers to five Indian scientists as ‘Mighty Souls’ and they were Dr Vikram Sarabhai, Prof. Satish Dhawan, Prof. Brahm Prakash, Prof. MGK Menon and Dr Raja Ramanna who had a towering vision for the country. Dr Kalam firmly believes that the basis of all systems, social or political, “rests upon the goodness of men. No nation is great or good because Parliament enacts this or that, but that its men are great and good.”
Talking about teachers, Dr Kalam says that teachers, particularly school teachers, have a tremendous responsibility in shaping the life of an individual. Childhood is the foundation upon which stands the whole life structure, “as the seeds sown in childhood blossom into the tree of life.” Thus education that is imparted in childhood at the very early stage of development of minds is more important than the education received in college and university. He considers the teaching profession as most important to society. He says the role of teachers is like the proverbial ‘ladder’ which is used by everyone to climb up in life, “but the ladder itself stays in its place.” Teachers have the great mission to “guide the minds of the young.”
Education is an endless journey through knowledge and enlightenment. According to Dr Kalam, the most important part of education is to inculcate in the students the spirit of ‘we can do it’. The education system has a tremendous responsibility to transform a child into a leader – “the transformation from ‘what can you do for me’ to ‘what can I do for you’… It is an endless journey through knowledge and enlightenment. Such a journey opens up new vistas of development of humanism where there is neither scope nor room for pettiness, disharmony, jealousy, hatred or enmity…Real education enhances the dignity of a human being and increases his or her self-respect and universal brotherhood in its true sense becomes the sheet anchor for such education.”
With reference to creativity and innovation, Dr Kalam says that it is through the process of innovation that knowledge is converted into wealth. He says, “Creativity is the foundation of human thinking and will always be at the highest end of the value chain, irrespective of the growth of computers with respect to speed and memory.” He considers art as a “benign expression which helps to bring out the beauty of life in its noblest form to take it on to a higher, better and more civilised plane, imparting meaning and depth to human existence, justifying and vindicating the purpose for which life was evolved.”
Dr Kalam talks of abiding values, spirituality and science. “A spiritual experience is the goal of a deeply religious person, whereas a major discovery or an invention is the goal of a scientific mind.”
Finally, defining the element of an indomitable spirit, he says, that it is a “vision leading to higher goals of achievement and the ability to overcome all hurdles coming in the way of accomplishing one’s mission.”
These magical words, spoken directly from the heart, reveal Dr Kalam’s concern for vital issues and deeply captivate the mind and the heart of the reader, leaving behind an indelible impact.
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