Wednesday, 12 June 2013

A.P.J. Abdul Kalam

                                                             A.P.J. Abdul Kalam

  • NAME: A.P.J. Abdul Kalam
  • OCCUPATION: Engineer, World Leader,Scientist
  • BIRTH DATE: October 151931 (Age: 81)
  • EDUCATION: Madras Institute of Technology
  • PLACE OF BIRTH: Dhanushkodi, Rameswaram, India
  • NICKNAME: Missile Man
  • AKA: A.P.J. Abdul Kalam
  • FULL NAME: Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam
  • AKA: Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam
  • ZODIAC SIGN: Libra
  • Knowledge makes you great
    If God for us, who can be against
    I am delighted to address and interact with the students from schools, colleges, engineering institution, medical colleges and management studies participating in the State Level Seminar on Human Values. My greetings to all of you, Raja Marthanda varma, managing partners of Sri Satya Sai Orphanage Trust, special invitees and distinguished guests. I happy to know that Sai Gramam is running the projects such as orphanages for Children, home for the old aged men and women, home for the mentally challenged persons and temples and the main aim is Grama Swaraj - a self-sufficient village. You are taking care of the aged and disadvantaged with the aim of creating Grama Swaraj, I am reminded of evolving Sustainable development to the villages through PURA mission. PURA means Providing Urban Amenities to Rural Areas with 4 connectivities namely Physical Connectivity, Electronic Connectivity, Knowledge Connectivity there by creating Economic Connectivity and in addition you may give spiritual connectivity so that the vision of Grama Swaraj can be attained where all attain the equal status with an inclusive and sustained growth with an evolved Grama Swaraj Eco-System which will automatically take care of the aged and disadvantaged. I am confident that the unique service rendered by Sri Satya Sai Trust may certainly envision to achieve sustainability in development with cultural heritage preserved and enriched in the villages. My greetings to all of you. In this context. I would like to share my thoughts on the topic "Knowledge makes you great" .
    Unity of minds : the great human values
    I would like to recall one incident, which commonly occurs in many parts of my country. I have witnessed this event when I was a young boy (10 yrs). In our house, periodically I used to see three different unique personalities meet. Pakshi Lakshmana Shastrigal, who was the head priest of the famous Rameshwaram temple and a vedic scholar, Rev Father Bodal, who built the first church in Rameshwaram Island and my father who was an Imam in the mosque. All three of them used to sit and discuss the islands problems and find solutions. In addition they built several religious connectivities with compassion. These connectivities quietly spread to others in the island like the fragrance from the flowers. This sight always comes to my mind whenever, I discuss with people on Dialogue of religions. India has had this advantage of integration of minds for thousands of years. Throughout the world, the need to have a frank dialogue among cultures, religions and civilizations has been felt now more than ever.

    Dear young and experienced, definitely you will win. I would like to recite a poem, will you repeat with me?
    We are all God?s children,
    Our minds are stronger than diamond.
    We will win, win, win with our mighty will.
    When God is with us, who can be against!
    Knowledge and its components
    Friends, what you will carry with you after your completion of education and training in various subjects? It is knowledge.

    Knowledge has three components, creativity, righteousness and courage. That the combination of these characteristics can generate enlightened citizens.
    Let us look at the first component creativity:
    "Learning gives creativity
    Creativity leads to thinking
    Thinking provides knowledge
    Knowledge makes you great"

    The next component of knowledge is righteousness. The power of Righteousness is described in a divine hymn, which is as follows:

    Where there is righteousness in the heart
    There is beauty in the character.
    When there is beauty in the character,
    There is harmony in the home.
    When there is harmony in the home.
    There is order in the nation.
    When there is order in the nation,
    There is peace in the world.

    How do we inculcate the righteousness in the heart. In my opinion, there are three sources which can build a youth with righteousness in the heart. They are the environment and care of love and great teachers.

    The third component is courage, which is defined as follows:

    Courage to think different,
    Courage to invent,
    Courage to travel into an unexplored path,
    Courage to discover the impossible,
    Courage to combat the problems and succeed,
    are the unique qualities of the youth.

    As a youth of my nation, I will work and work with courage to achieve success in all the missions.

    I am sure, the teachers are imparting such a knowledge to all of you which will instill courage and confidence in your minds.

    Since there are many teachers participating in this programme let me share with you what is the role of a teachers in moulding their students.
    Role of a Teacher
    I have interacted with more than 15 million school children and millions of teachers across the length and breadth of the country, in a decade?s time. Wherever I went, be it Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Jammu and Kashmir or any other part of India, the voice of the youth is unique and strong in articulating their vision and dream and they are willing to work for it. Everyone dream of living in a prosperous India, a happy India, a peaceful India and a safe India. The combinations of prosperity, happiness and peace to a nation always have to come together. When all three of them converge, then India will truly be a Developed Nation. There are more than 550 million children in India. Children work in the school for about 25000 hours during the 12 years of primary and secondary education. Teachers of excellence in teaching alone can with their example become role models.
    What can I do for you?
    Every one of us has gone through the various phases of education from childhood to profession. A visualize a scene - a child, a teenager, an adult and a leader. How does each one react to a particular situation? The situation is human need. The child asks, "What can you do for me"? The teenager says, "I want to do it alone". The young person proclaims, "let us do it together". The leader offers, "What can I do for you". So, the teachers have got a tremendous responsibility to transform a child into a leader ? the transformation of ?what can you do for me? to 'what can I do for you'. That will demand a Teacher to be a visionary with an inspiring capability. Also the teacher has to ensure that you impart learning to the children in such a way as to bring out the best in them and for this, he or she has to be a good teacher himself. I am sure, the best of creativity among the students will emerge by integrated influence of teachers, and parents.
    Mission in Life
    Dear children, when I see you all, I see in you great doctors, great engineers, great social workers, great teachers, great judges, great political leader, even I see some of you may have an opportunity to reach and live in Mars. For realizing this mission, you should study well, excel in it, work hard and persevere.
    Recent experience at Paravur village near Kochi
    Last year, I was in a village called Paravur near Kochi in the state of Kerala. I went to the village to inaugurate the programme Sasthrayaan - which means 'science propagation'. During the programme, the President of Paravur Panchayat Board and the local MLA said, that the mission of Sasthrayaan in Paravur is to ensure preparation of 2000 students from different schools towards attaining eligibility for entrance as engineers, scientists, doctors, qualified managers, and Civil services officers. This action will empower 2000 families of the village. My inaugural address to Paravur audience consisting of 5000 students and family members was "Science Empowers the Nation".

    After my address, there were 100s of hands put-up for asking questions. Due to limited availability of time, I selected 12 students in random, from last row to first row, to ask questions. I would like to share with you two questions of concern asked by the students. One 10th class girl asked me, "Sir, next year I have to take a subject for my specialization. I love psychology, but my parents say, no to this subject. They want me to take the subject that will enable me to enter a professional course." What should be my answer? I thought of it, I told the student, "you have a great tool to win your parents, that is love and affection. Similarly, your parents also love you. They earn and sometimes they borrow for your education and they would like to ensure that you are properly positioned in your professional life. But I respect your dream and definitely I am confident, you can persuade your parents. If any help is needed, I can talk to your parents too." At that time, fortunately, in the parent?s enclosure, the parents of the girl were also present. They got up and said, "we are the parents of the girl who daringly asked the question. We love our child. Definitely, we will go ahead with fulfilling her wish to take up Psychology as her subject." The whole audience cheered the parents and the young girl.
    The next important question was from a 8th class boy called Vishnu who had come from a far away village environment away from the city. He was nervous and represented the youth in Indian village environment. The boy started with telling his name, "my name is Vishnu. I don't know what should I ask? I am nervous. I have not asked any question in my class. I need to have confidence, I am not gaining confidence through education during the last 7 years. I am afraid to talk to my teachers, I am afraid to talk to my friends. Whenever I talk, I compare myself with other students and their elegant dress. Please tell me Sir, how I can become a unique person, which you just now explained. I want to become a marine engineer. I want to travel in the ship. I want to be the captain of the ship. I want to build the engine for the ship. Will I be able to do all this, Sir? How can I achieve this mission? What I should do?" When the boy completed the question, the whole audience of 5000 people and dignitaries in the dais, including the CM, were looking at me, what Kalam is going to say for such a sincere question of a young boy from a village. I thought of it, and thought of it, I wanted to break the silence. I said, "my dear Vishnu, you have put the most difficult question, among many questions that I have received from millions and millions of students whom I have met. Vishnu, I value your question, also I consider you are echoing the fear of millions of rural students. Let me recite a beautiful ancient poem named "I will fly". I slowly started telling the poem, which goes like this :
    I will fly
    "I am born with potential.
    I am born with goodness and trust.
    I am born with ideas and dreams.
    I am born with greatness.
    I am born with confidence.
    I am born with wings.
    So, I am not meant for crawling,
    I have wings, I will fly
    I will fly and fly"

    The boy also started repeating the poem along with me. When Vishnu finished reciting the poem, he was in tears. He said, " I have gained confidence, I will win, I will win and win" and ran off.
    These two questions from students reveal that students are in stress in the choice of their subjects after 10+1 and 10+2 and education is not giving the students the confidence that "I can do it". I am sure, the teachers of this region will certainly fill this gap and ensure that the students acquire the confidence to face life and express their problems to the teachers and elder members of the family.

    Now let us see few great personalities, who are always remembered and celebrated by humanity for their unique contribution to society.
    Unique You
    Dear friends, Look up, what do you see, the light, the electric bulbs. Immediately, our thoughts go to the inventor Thomas Alva Edison, for his unique contribution towards the invention of electric bulb and his electrical lighting system.

    When you hear the sound of aero-plane going over your house, whom do you think of? Wright Brothersproved that man could fly, of-course at heavy risk and cost.

    Whom does the telephone remind you of? Of course, Alexander Graham Bell. 

    When everybody considered a sea travel as an experience or a voyage, a unique person questioned during his sea travel from United Kingdom to India. He was pondering on why the horizon where the sky and sea meet looks blue? His research resulted in the phenomena of scattering of light. Of course, Sir CV Raman was awarded Nobel Prize.
    Do you know the scientist who is famous for Chandra Limit which describes the maximum mass (~1.44 solar masses) of a white dwarf star, or equivalently, the minimum mass for which a star will ultimately collapse into a neutron star to black hole following a supernova. Two of his students got the Nobel Prize before him. It is of-course the famous Nobel Laureate Chandrasekhar Subrmaniam .

    Friends, there was a great scientific lady who is known for discovering Radium. She won not one, but two Nobel Prizes, one for physics and another for chemistry. Who is she? She is
    Madam Curie. Madam Curie discovered radium and she was doing research on the effect of radiation on human system. The same radiation which she discovered, affected her and she sacrificed her life for removing the pain of human life.

    Do you know the cosmic rays scientist transform into institution builder of institutions like Physical Research Laboratory, Ahmadabad - Indian Institute of Management Ahmadabad and Indian Space Research Organization, of course he is the visionary Prof Vikram Sarabhai. 

    Genetic science has proved now that brain of every person has jumping genes which makes the individual, unique.
    When I described to you young friends, scientific events, you are in a position to name the individual scientists. This you did it, because they are unique in invention and discoveries. How many would like to get transformed as unique personalities and will be remembered in the multiple fields. "History again and again has proved that at no time the crowd has achieved any unique solution to the world, but it is only the ingenuity of the individual and intellectual supremacy, that has brought all the best which the society is enjoying".

    Friends, I have, so far, met 15 million youth in a decade's time. I learnt, "every youth wants to be unique, that is, YOU! But the world all around you, is doing its best, day and night, to make you just "everybody else". At home, dear young friends, you are asked by your parents to be like neighbours' children for scoring good marks. When you go to school, your teacher says "why not you become like the first five rankers in the class". Wherever you go, they are saying "you have to be somebody else or everybody else".

    The challenge, my young friends, is that you have to fight the hardest battle, which any human being can ever imagine to fight; and never stop fighting until you arrive at your destined place, that is, a UNIQUE YOU!
    Birth of Creativity in a difficult situation
    Mario Capecchi had a difficult and challenging childhood. Mario Capecchi was born in the Italian city of Verona as the only child of Luciano Capecchi, an Italian airman who would be later reported as missing in action while manning an anti-aircraft gun in the World War 2. For nearly four years, Capecchi lived with his mother in a chalet in the Italian Alps. When World War II broke out, his mother, along with other Bohemians, was sent to Dachau as a political prisoner. Anticipating her arrest by the Gestapo, she had sold all her possessions and given the money to friends to help raise her son on their farm. In the farm, he had to grow wheat, and harvest and take it to miller to be ground. When the money which his mother left for him ran out, at the age of four and half years, he started wandering on the streets. He headed south, sometimes living in the streets, sometimes joining gangs of other homeless children, sometimes living in orphanages and most of the time hungry. He spent the last year in the city of Reggio Emelia, hospitalized for malnutrition. He wanted desperately to escape. Scores of beds lined the rooms and corridors of the hospital, one bed touching the next. No sheets, no blankets. That was where his mother found him on his ninth birthday after a year of searching. Within weeks, the Capecchi and his mother sailed to America to join his uncle and aunt.

    He started his 3rd grade schooling afresh over there and started his education, interested in sports, studied political science. But he didn?t find interesting and changed into science, became a mathematics graduate in 1961 with a double major in Physics and Chemistry. Capecchi never took a Biology class; he learned about biology in the labs. For his practical experience, he worked several terms at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Although he really liked Physics, its elegance and simplicity, Capecchi realized from his lab experience that everything we learned [in Physics] was only up to the 1920s. He knew he would switch to molecular biology in graduate school, on the advice of James D Watson. Watson taught him that he should not be bothered about small things, since such pursuits are likely to produce only small answers.
    His objective was to do gene targeting. The experiments started in 1980 and by 1984, Capecchi had clear success. Three years later, he applied the technology to mice. In 1989, he developed the first mice with targeted mutations. The technology created by Doctor Capecchi allows researchers to create specific gene mutations anywhere they choose in the genetic code of a mouse. By manipulating gene sequences in this way, researchers are able to mimic human disease conditions on animal subjects. What the research of Mario Capecchi means for human health is nothing short of amazing, his work with mice could lead to cures for Alzheimer's disease or even Cancer. The innovations in genetics that Mario Capecchi achieved won him the Nobel Prize in 2007. Noble laureate Capecchi?s life indeed reveals: -
    "When you wish upon a star,
    Makes no difference who you are
    Anything your heart desires
    Will come to you."
    Planting of trees is the planting of ideas
    Friends during my Presidency, I met a great a lady Prof Vangari Mathai in Rashtrapati Bhavan honouring her for a great contribution in the green environment. After discussion with Prof Wangari Mathai unfurred life in front of me.

    Prof Wangari Maathai, who has a passion for environment and bio-diversity and is contributing to the sustainable development and growth of planet Earth. Wangari Muta Maathai was born in Nyeri, Kenya (Africa) in 1940. She was the first woman in East and Central Africa to earn a doctorate degree and to become chair of the Department of Veterinary Anatomy and an Associate Professor. Wangari Maathai was active in the National Council of Women of Kenya and was its Chairman in 1981-87, where she introduced the idea of planting trees with the people and continued to develop it into a broad-based, grassroots organization whose main focus is the planting of trees with women groups in order to conserve the environment and improve their quality of life. Through the Green Belt Movement that Prof Maathai has evolved innovatively a movement with 600 community networks across Kenya and branches in 20 countries resulting in the plantation of 31 million trees. She and the Green Belt Movement have received numerous awards, most notably The 2004 Nobel Peace Prize.
    Prof Maathai gives a new meaning to the important act of planting a tree by extending it to the whole life, when she says, "the planting of trees is the planting of idea." She highlights the qualities of patience, persistence and commitment in planning and realizing a future, which is what we learn when we plant trees and wait for them to yield fruits for the next generation. She believes that no matter how dark the cloud, there is always a thin, silver lining, and that is what we must look for. The silver lining will come, if not to us then to the next generation or the generation after that. And may be with that generation, the lining will no longer be thin. India values Prof Maathai?s involvement and contribution in furthering the relationship between India and Kenya and had the privilege of honouring her with the Jawaharlal Nehru Award for International Understanding for the year 2005. She concludes her Nobel Lecture on December 10, 2004 like this: quote, "As I conclude I reflect on my childhood experience when I would visit a stream next to our home to fetch water for my mother. I would drink water straight from the stream? I saw thousands of tadpoles: black, energetic and wriggling through the clear water against the background of the brown earth. This is the world I inherited from my parents". Prof. Maathai would like all of us to preserve this inheritance.
    Conclusion: Righteousness is the foundation for World Peace
    Friends, righteousness of the heart of the human being leads to a perfect life of an enlightened citizen. This is beautifully explained in ascent and descent phase of human life by Confucius. He states that "People who desired to have a clear moral harmony in the world, would first order their national life; those who desire to order their national life would first regulate their home life; those who desire to regulate their home life would first cultivate their personal lives; those who desired to cultivate their personal lives set their heart to righteousness, would first make their wills sincere; those who desire to make their wills sincere would first arrive at understanding; understanding comes from the exploration of knowledge of things. When the knowledge of things is gained, then understanding is reached; when understanding is reached, then the will is sincere; when the will is sincere then the heart is righteous; when the heart is righteous then the personal life is cultivated; when the personal life is cultivated, then the home life is regulated; when the home life is regulated, then the national life is orderly; when the national life is orderly then the world is at peace. From the Emperor down to the common man, the cultivation of the righteous life is the foundation for all.

    My greetings and best wishes to the all of you.

    May God Bless you.

    By, Dr. APJ Abdulkalam

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