Former President A. P. J. Abdul Kalam delivers the Chavara Memorial Lecture
Former President A. P. J. Abdul Kalam called on the society, especially young people, to cultivate righteousness in their hearts to build a more tolerant, peaceful and prosperous society.
Dr. Kalam was delivering the Chavara Memorial Lecture here on Thursday at the Sacred Heart College, Thevara. Earlier, Dr. Kalam received the Chavara Samskruthy Puraskar 2012 instituted by the Carmelites of Mary Immaculate and Congregation of the Mother of Carmel.
He appealed to teachers and educational institutions to educate their wards in such a way that righteousness flourished in their hearts. He made the children repeat parts of a song exalting the need for cultivating righteousness in the heart.
Dr. Kalam also took questions from the audience, which had filled the large auditorium at the Sacred Heart College.
The theme of his lecture was “selfless service leads to a great nation,” and based his lecture mostly on personal experience as a young student at the St. Joseph’s College, Tiruchirappally.
He also recalled how the Thumba space station was built after the meeting of two minds and how the Catholic leader gave up an ancient church, the bishop’s house and related institutions to pave the way for the space centre to be built. This was a case of science meeting religion, he said.
India has had a great opportunity to have meeting of the minds and integration of thoughts for thousands of years, he said as he called for more tolerance and respect for each others’ religion, culture and ways of thinking.
M. K. Sanu, who headed the panel that chose Dr. Kalam for the award, said that latter was chosen because of his resemblance in ideals to that Blessed Chavara Kuriakose Elias. Blessed Chavara believed in education as a tool of liberation.
Major Archbishop Cardinal George Alencherry delivered the presidential address and recalled the contributions made by the CMI congregation to education in the state. He initially addressed the former President in Tamil, a gesture later reciprocated by Dr. Kalam, who greeted the audience in Malayalam to a round of loud applause.
He also inaugurated the website of the Sacred Heart College and Kalamassery province of the CMI. Prior General of CMI Jose Panthaplamthottiyil welcomed the gathering and Sancta CMC proposed a vote of thanks.