Abdul Kalam speaks at Belgaum

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“Youth should come forward to fight corruption and only the youth of today can make an gallant effort in eradicating this evil from the county”, these were the inspiring words said by Former President Dr.A P J Abdul Kalam today morning at the RamKrishna Mission Ashrama program.

Dr.Kalam further asked the students in his own unique style to be clear in their aim of life and at the same time also clearly think of the development of the country and not one self. The youth of today are very capable and if basic and good infrastructure is provided in education India would definitely become a developed nation by 2020.

The audience was spellbound by the words of this scientist who has shown that if we have an aim one can easily achieve it.

He later addressed the students at Gomatesh Vidyapeeth.

His entire speech to the students :

apjI am delighted to address and interact with the Students of Gomatesh Vidyapeeth at Belgaum. My greetings to all of you. I am very happy to be here and interact with you. I would like to talk on the topic “Empowering the youth”.

Joy of removing the pain

When I witnessed the FRO fitment to a number of children and youth here at Belgaum, I am reminded of the event which led to the FRO caliper development. I would like to share with you the fitment of FRO (Floor Reaction Orthosis) caliper to a polio affected child which shows how engineering and medical sciences can converge to alleviate the pain of humankind.

During my visit to one of the hospitals in Hyderabad, I found many children were struggling to walk with an artificial limb weighing over 4 kgs. At the request of Prof. BN Prasad of NIMS, at that time Head of Orthopedic department, I asked my AGNI friends why we cannot use the composite material used for AGNI heat shield for fabricating FROs for polio affected patients. They immediately said it is possible. We worked on this project for sometime and came up with a FRO for the child weighing around 400 gms in place of 4 kg, exactly, 1/10th of the weight which the child was carrying. The doctors helped us to fit the new light weight FRO on children and the children started walking and running around. Their parents were also present. Tears rolled down on all of them through the joy of seeing their daughters and sons running with light caliper. With the light weight device provided by the hospital they could run, ride a bicycle and do all sorts of things which they had been denied for a long time. The removal of the pain and the freedom attained by the child gave me a state of bliss which I never experienced earlier. The same kind of joy I experienced today at Belgaum, when I saw 100 children walking happily with FRO. I am very happy to note that so far 750 FRO has been fitted in 3 camps conducted by Association of Physically handicapped, Belgaum and NIMS, Hyderabad. When I see this 750 people, it has brought mobility to people who are not mobile earlier, some of those who were mobile have improved the speed and quality of mobility and avoided the other physical & back problems at later stage, I am reminded of the three important socially aware kind hearted people. First one, Dr Narendranath, NIMS, Hyderabad for his self-less service to remove the pain of polio affected patients. I have seen him 1000’s of people fitted with FRO regularly by him and his doctors team and today they have crossed 32000 fitments since last 6 years. My greetings to Dr Narendranath and his team. Next, I would like to particularly greet, Ms. Sakuntala Paranjape, for her selfless service and service with dignity and all the FRO’s were fitted at Belgaum by the Physically Handicapped Association, Belgaum. I came to understand, this organization was started at 1972 by herself and Mr. Edmund D’silva in a small rented premise at Shahapur. Initially they started self-earning programmes, and then they got a gas agency in 1983. With the money earned from that Gas Agency, now the organization is running a fitment centre for prosthesis, caliper and also running a physiotherapy centre. They are now a running a hostel for 40 physically challenged children and they are running a school for disabled children also. They are also giving vocational training to disabled for creating self-employment. They are going to start a old age home for the disabled. What a unique service she is doing and she is doing the God’s mission. Most of the funding for these activities was generated by themselves from the gas agency given to the association. Belgaum Physically Handicapped Association, Belgaum giving me the message: Work with self-respect and lead the life with dignity and not depend only upon charity.

When I see the dedicated service of Ms. Sakuntala Paranjape and their association members, I am reminded of an incident which took place in Rashtrapati Bhavan. On 27th November 2003, I met about 1000 differently challenged children, who were taking part in the Abilympics. They were extremely enthusiastic to visit Rashtrapati Bhavan and the environment gave them happiness. To that gathering, I recited a short poem, which runs like this:

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!

On hearing this, a boy from Iran by name Mustafa came to me, who didn’t have both legs and was fitted with artificial limbs. He thrust a paper in my hand. He had written a beautiful poem titled “Courage”, in Persian language. It reads like this :


I don’t have legs.

My mind says: Don’t weep, don’t weep

For, I need not bow even in front of a King.,

I was really moved by the positive thinking of that boy. It shows his courage to face the life with optimism. I wish all of you to carry this message to make your life meaningful.

My greetings to NIMS and Association of Physically Handicapped at Belgaum for this dedicated self-less service

Criteria for achievement for youth

How does achievement come? There are four proven steps; having an aim in life before 20 years of age, acquiring knowledge continuously, hard work towards the aim and perseverance to defeat the problem and succeed. In this connection let me recall famous verses of 13th century Persian Sufi poet Jalaluddin Rumi:

Wings to Fly

“You were born with potential.

You were born with goodness and trust.

You were born with ideas and dreams.

You were born with greatness.

You were born with wings.

You are not meant for crawling,

so don’t, you have wings.

Learn to use them to fly.”

-Jalaluddin Rumi

-13th Century Persian Sufi Poet

My message to you, young friends, is that education gives you wings to fly. Achievement comes out of fire in our sub-conscious mind that “I will win”. So, each one of you assembled here and elsewhere, will have “Wings of Fire”. The Wing of Fire will indeed lead to knowledge which will make you to fly as a Doctor, or an Engineer, or a scientist, or a teacher, or a political leader, or a bureaucrat or a diplomat or anything you want to be.

Friends, knowledge makes you great. Now you know the importance of knowledge. When you leave your schools, a great friend is accompanying you. Who is that friend? That friend is – knowledge. Now, I am going to give the knowledge equation.

Knowledge = Creativity + Righteousness + Courage


“Learning gives creativity

Creativity leads to thinking

Thinking provides knowledge

Knowledge makes you great”

The next component of knowledge is righteousness. Righteousness is described in a divine hymn.


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 an order in the nation.

When there is order in the nation,

There is peace in the world.

Now the question is: 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. One is mother, second is father in a spiritual environment and the third and the most important is the teacher, particularly primary school teacher.

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.

Wherefrom you will acquire knowledge? Home, good books, teachers and teaching environment, coming into contact with good human beings, teaching websites in internet. When the schools teach the students to use the knowledge with creativity, righteousness and courage, nation will have large number of empowered and enlightened citizens, which is vital for the growth of the individual, growth of the family, growth of nation and promotion of peace in the world.

Let me now present what I learnt from my teacher.

Giving an aim at right age

When I think of my childhood days, I am reminded of Shri Sivasubramania Iyer who taught me when I was studying in 5th class at the age of 10. He was the great teacher in our school. All of us loved to attend his class and hear him. One day he was teaching about bird’s flight. He drew a diagram of a bird on the blackboard depicting the wings, tail and the body structure with the head. He explained how the birds create the lift and fly. He also explained to us how they change direction while flying. Nearly for 25 minutes he gave the lecture with various information such as lift, drag, how the birds fly in a formation of 10, 20 or 30. At the end of the class, he wanted to know whether we understood how the birds fly. I said I did not understand how the birds fly. When I said this, the teacher asked the other students whether they understood or not. Many students said that they also did not understand. Our response did not upset him, since he was a committed teacher.

Our teacher said that he would take all of us to the seashore. That evening the whole class was at the sea shore of Rameswaram. We enjoyed the roaring sea waves knocking at the sandy hills in the pleasant evening. Birds were flying with sweet chirping voice. He showed the sea birds in formations of 10 to 20 numbers. We saw the marvelous formations of birds with a purpose and we were all amazed. He showed us the birds and asked us to see that when the birds fly, what they looked like. We saw the wings flapping. He asked us to look at the tail portion with the combination of flapping wings and twisting tail. We noticed closely and found that the birds in that condition flew in the direction they desired. Then he asked us a question, where the engine is and how it is powered. Bird is powered by its own life and the motivation of what it wants. All these aspects were explained to us within Fifteen minutes. We all understood the whole bird dynamics from this practical example. How nice it was? Our teacher was a great teacher; he could give us a theoretical lesson coupled with a live practical example available in nature. This is real teaching. I am sure many of the teachers in Sai International School will follow this example.

For me, it was not merely an understanding of how a bird flies. The bird’s flight entered into me and created a special feeling. From that evening, I thought that my future study has to be with reference to flight and flight systems. I am saying this because my teacher’s teaching and the event that I witnessed decided my future career. Then one evening after the classes, I asked the teacher, “Sir, please tell me, how to progress further in learning all about flight.” He patiently explained to me that I should complete 8th class, and then go to high school, and then I should go to engineering college that may lead to education on flight. If I complete all my education with excellence, I might do something connected with flight sciences. This advice and the bird flying exercise given by my teacher, really gave me a goal and a mission for my life. When I went to college, I took Physics. When I went to engineering in Madras Institute of Technology, I took Aeronautical Engineering.

Thus my life was transformed as a rocket engineer, aerospace engineer and technologist. That one incident of my teacher teaching the lesson, showing the visual live example proved to be a turning point in my life which eventually shaped my profession and flying my friends.

Importance of Perseverance

My teacher Iyadurai Solomon, was an ideal guide for an eager young mind that was yet uncertain of the possibilities and alternatives that lay before it. He made his students feel very comfortable in 8th class with his warm and open-minded attitude. My teacher use to say that the teacher has to empower all categories of students excellent, good and average. During my stay at Ramanathapuram, Schwartz High School, my relationship with him grew beyond that of teacher and pupil. In his company, I learnt that one could exercise enormous influence over the events of one’s own life. Teacher Iyadurai Solomon used to say, “To succeed in life and achieve results, you must understand and master three mighty forces- desire, belief and expectation.” Iyadurai Solomon, who later became a Reverend, taught me that before anything I wanted could happen, I had to desire it intensely and work. One can be absolutely certain it would happen. I have seen him giving preference to many students who were not doing well in the class. They used to make up and subsequently perform better. This message, I am sure is applicable to all the teachers today. If all the teachers decide to create a desire in our Students to work towards and aim in life with value system they will definitely achieve their goal. Shining trait of my teacher’s teaching became his self-less service. From my discussions with many citizens from the country and across the world, I am convinced that education with value system is the need of the hour today.

Friends, in a decade, I have met more than five million children and youth from all parts of the country – rural and urban and from different region of the world – developed and developing. I believe that ignited mind of the youth is the most powerful source on the earth, above the earth and under the earth. The energy and enthusiasm of the youth give the experienced, a vision for life and a responsibility to leave a legacy that they can be proud of. I have been inspired by the learning pattern of children by studying the childhood of many great minds who have established themselves in various walks of life. Inspiring questions from children are thought provoking and have a common pattern.

1. The knowledge sources available for urban children, definitely should be made available in the form of electronic content or children’s books to the rural children who aspire for knowledge in large numbers.

2. Children have their unique interests with creative minds. Hence our education – both formal and informal have to nurture and grow the creativity among children through quality books.

3. Children learn through environment, family and neighbourhood. For example, when they see their parents or teachers reading books, they also develop interest in reading. If the parents and teachers discuss books with them it adds fillip to their own interest.

4. The children have to grow in an environment of learning skills, value system, sports, caring for family, civic responsibilities, mental and physical robustness.

5. Children need to be encouraged to ask questions. Questions have to be answered with patience and knowledge, so that minds of children are opened up and their thinking is not shut off.

Home library

Friends, on 11 August 2009, I was participating in the valedictory function of the book fair festival at Erode (Tamilnadu). While addressing the audience, I suggested that everyone of the participants of the book fair to allocate at-least one hour in a day for reading quality books. This will enrich them with knowledge to empower the children and see them grow as great children. I also suggested all the parents should start a small library in their own houses with approximately 20 books to begin with. This library should particularly have 10 children’s books, so that the children in the house can also cultivate reading habits at an early age looking at the parents reading quality books. Many people who attended this function, appreciated this thought and they immediately started a library at their homes. With the result, the books fair did not have adequate books to supply to Erode households.

Now I would like to discuss about the mission of ten billion trees.

Birth of a Global Mission: Ten billion trees

Dear friends, you will be learning the process of photo-synthesis in the plant and tree family. “When the Sun shines, the green plants breakdown water to get electrons and protons, use these particles to turn carbon-di-oxide into glucose and vent out oxygen as a waste product.” Each mature tree in a year absorbs 20 Kgs of carbon-di-oxide and transforms into wood and reinforces the branches of the tree. At the same time, it lets out into the atmosphere and surrounding 14 kgs of oxygen which is the nature gift to the mankind. That’s why I have been administering during the last seven years to every one of the five million youth I have met, a ten point oath, one of which emphasizes the need for plantation of trees. The oath reads: “I will plant ten trees and ensure their growth”.I understand that this oath has resulted in the plantation of millions of trees in different parts of the country during the last seven years. I would like to see in the year 2011 a green mission, billion trees from billion people of India. I am sure, each one of you will participate in the mission.

Let not thy winged days, be spent in vain

As you all know, the earth rotates on its own axis once in a day having 24 hours or 1440 minutes or 86400 seconds. Earth itself orbits around the sun. It takes nearly one year for an orbit. With the completion of one rotation of earth around the sun, your age is added by one year as you are living on planet earth. Seconds fly, minutes fly, hours fly, days fly and years fly. We have no control over it. The only thing that we can do is, while the time flies, we can navigate the time. “Let not thy winged days, be spent in vain”.

Conclusion: what I will be remembered for?

Friends, finally I would like to ask you, what would you like to be remembered for? You have to evolve yourself and shape your life. You should write it on a page. That page may be a very important page in the book of human history. And you will be remembered for creating that one page in the history of the nation – whether that page is the page of invention, the page of innovation or the page of discovery or the page of creating societal change or a page of removing the poverty or the page of fighting injustice or planning and executing mission of networking of rivers. I will be happy if you could write this page and mail it to me ([email protected]).

My greetings and best wishes to all you assembled here for success in their educational mission.

May God bless you.

Oath for the Youth

1. I will have a goal and work hard to achieve that goal. I realize that small aim is a crime.

2. I will work with integrity and succeed with integrity.

3. I will be a good member of my family, a good member of the society, a good member of the nation and a good member of the world.

4. I will always try to save or better someone’s life, without any discrimination of caste, creed, language religion or state. Wherever I am, a thought will always come to my mind. That is “What can I give?”

5. I will always protect and enhance the dignity of every human life without any bias.

6. I will always remember the importance of time. My motto will be “Let not my winged days, be spent in vain”.

7. I will always work for clean planet Earth and clean energy.

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

9. I am as young as my faith and as old as my doubt. Hence, I will light up then, the lamp of faith in my heart.

10. My National Flag flies in my heart and I will bring glory to my nation.

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