Intro: “My message, especially to young people is to have courage to think differently, courage to invent, to travel the unexplored path, courage to discover the impossible and to conquer the problems and succeed. These are great qualities that they must work towards.” — Dr APJ Abdul Kalam
People’s President- Late Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Azad enjoyed a huge popularity among the youth. As their icon, Dr Kalam was present in their libraries, reading lists, favorite quotations and vision to succeed. As a teacher and mentor, he hardly left any opportunity to interact with the youth and to be among them.
In his famous message to the youth, he says “My message, especially to young people is to have courage to think differently, courage to invent, to travel the unexplored path, courage to discover the impossible and to conquer the problems and succeed. These are great qualities that they must work towards.”
His book: wings of fire has not only been an inspiration, but is said to have impacted lives.
“I learnt that in order to leave footprints on sands of time, you must not drag your feet” says 19 year old Prateek Bajaj who finds this book a window to leading and living a life with a purpose. “If the son of a fisherman can be the first citizen of this country, then what is stopping the youth to strive for perseverance and success through the qualities that he imbibed” he adds.
“I remember rushing behind a forever enigmatic figure with my copy of Wings Of Fire a couple of years ago. He had just finished motivating kids across the nation the umpteenth time and left his all too familiar e mail ID for us to get in touch with.
Perhaps, I'll remember that chase a little more now. But I'll not forget any other lessons he had.I'll remember Dr Kalam. In words and actions. And I'll see others do the same.” wrote Roshan Menon, a 20 year old on social media as a tribute to Dr.Kalaam.
“You gave us the wings of fire. Today as you transcend back to space, where we all belong to- I assure you that your pyre will continue to ignite the billion young minds of this country. Rest in peace Dr Kalam.” says 22 year old Sahil Mathur who earlier heard the former president in one of the talks on Innovation.
In one of his press interviews, when Dr Kalaam was asked that since youth of this country feature among his many passions, what makes him so optimistic about them?
He answered by saying “it’s when children are 15, 16 or 17 that they decide whether they want to be a doctor, an engineer, a politician or go to the Mars or moon. That is the time they start having a dream and that’s the time you can work on them. You can help them shape their dreams. Tomorrow if I address a group of youngsters and talk about the flag flying in my heart and how I will uphold the dignity of the nation, I can get them to dream. But if I talk to people who are 40, 50 or 70 plus, it will not go down that well. I can get the youth to dream. They have fewer biases about society. ”
For the 20-21 year olds, Dr Kalaam was probably their first President, and soon he became the their grand teacher, whose every action, every spoken word, every passing thought was an inspiration. Srijan Pal Singh, Adviser Dr Kalaam was with him during his last hour. He recounts his former experience with the president as “Often he would ask me, “You are young, decide what will you like to be remembered for?” I kept thinking of new impressive answers, till one day I gave up and resorted to tit-for-tat. I asked him back, “First you tell me, what will you like to be remembered for? President, Scientist, Writer, Missile man, India 2020, Target 3 billion…. What?” I thought I had made the question easier by giving options, but he sprang on me a surprise. “Teacher”, he said.
Irony had its own turn, when even in his demise, he made a statement.
He was in the shoes of a teacher, among the young students in one of the untended regions of India.
To the Statesman extraordinaire, that was Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, we pay our deep reverence and heartfelt gratitude for serving the nation in all his capacity, so much so that his absence would be felt for time immemorial.
–Divyansh Dev (August 9, 2015 Page 14-15)