A heartfelt tribute to Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam- World Student’s Day 2022

Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam
Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam

(Image credit: Britannica)

Dream, Dream, Dream

Dreams transform into thoughts

And thoughts result in action.

Here I am sharing my views about a book that is worth reading over and over again. It is Ignited Minds written by Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, and the above-highlighted words are his mantra to transform dreams into reality.

After I had sent a Rakhi by post on the occasion of Rakshabandhan, to my brother five years ago, he sent me this wonderful book through the courier, as a Rakhi gift from him.

Normally I stay away from science books and magazines. But I immediately picked up the book to read after knowing who the author was. And while reading this book I realized that more than a book on science, it is more about the human approach that is necessary for the advancement of our nation as a whole.

Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam

A man known for his great humility, soft-spoken quality, much loved by the children and youth, and a scientist who took the country to the greatest heights in the field of space research, former President of India, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam needs no introduction.

In his book Ignited Minds, he has written in a very lucid way what his dreams and aspirations are, how our nation can achieve greatness, and why the contribution of the young generation matters a lot.

Drawing inspiration from him from his highly enriching and enlightening book, I also realized what must be done for my personal development and for the people around me. The realms where I can think of achieving some improvement are as follows, along with the excerpts from his book :

Be a dreamer

In his book, Sir Abdul Kalam stated that in the early 2000s during his visits to schools particularly Assam, Tripura, Jharkhand, and also Tamil Nadu, he had addressed about 40,000 students. He found that he communicated well with this age group. And through his interaction with them, he felt that he can ignite in their minds a love for science, and through it, a sense of mission for achieving a developed India.

Ultimately, he realized that his dreams would turn into a reality through these young people bubbling with creativity and enthusiasm, who only need to be guided in a constructive way for nation-building.

He also summarized that spirituality must be integrated with education, focusing on self-realization. And emphasized the need to ignite our dormant inner energy and let it guide our lives.

Having a role model

During one such meeting with students and teachers in a high school in Tripura, after his talk, Sir Kalam was asked by a student: “Where do you get a role model from, how do you get a role model?”

(Image credit: Hindustan Times)

He said, “When you are growing up, say till the age of fifteen, the best role model I can think of would be your father, your mother, and your school teacher.”

He believed that from childhood onwards, through various phases of life we adopt role models. For grownups, they will be national leaders of quality and integrity in every field including politics, science, technology, and industry.

He gave an example of Dr. Vikram Sarabhai’s vision, succeeding over three decades through sustained and coordinated achievement, a desire to exceed the limits. Dr. Sarabhai’s power was such that others took up his vision and completed it long after he was no more.

Sir Kalam has also given the example of Lata Mangeshkar ji, whose song “Ae mere watan ke logon” uplifted the spirits of the soldiers and the general public during the 1962 Indo-China conflict.

Role models can help us focus on what is correct for us as individuals, as groups, and, of course, as a nation.

The same belief holds for me as well. My parents, school teachers, and college lecturers were role models for me for a very long time. After that, my role models mostly used to be famous athletes and spokespersons in India and around the world.

I have particularly idolized our very own P.T.Usha and the German tennis player Steffi Graf, known for their outstanding performances and keen sportsman spirit. I never used to miss their events being telecast live on TV back then, in the eighties and the nineties decades.

Finding a visionary

In the book, Sir Kalam has very elaborately written about many eminent Indian mathematicians from the times of Aryabhatt to Srinivasa Ramanujan, apart from noted modern-day scientists like Sir C V Raman and Prof. S. Chandrasekhar.

He was particularly interested in the lives of three scientists – Dr. D. S. Kothari, Dr. Homi J. Bhabha, and Dr. Vikram Sarabhai. He wanted to learn more about their leadership qualities in the scientific and technological fields which helped link these to the development of the nation. They are the founders of three great institutions – DRDO, DAE, ISRO.,

All three of them realized the importance of making the political leaders understand what science could do for the country, and give immediate benefits to the people.

Sir Kalam summarized that the vision ignites the minds. India needs visionary and es of the stature of J.R.D. Tata, Vikram Sarabhai, Satish Dhawan, and Dr. Verghese Kurien, to name a few, can involve an entire generation in mission-driven programs which benefit the country as a whole.

(Image credit: Swiggy quotes)

I have not divulged many details of the book, but the insightful reading of the contents broadened my perspective of the utility of science in our day-to-day lives. And I found the reading experience highly motivating.

-Shashi Thakur

Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam

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