Kalam explains the virtues of a true leader

Leaders should be able to travel unexplored paths, said former President A. P. J. Abdul Kalam. He recalled that Vikram Sarabhai, his ‘Guru’ as he called the great scientist, had such rare leadership qualities.

Mr. Kalam was addressing the annual national conference of NIPM here on Thursday.

The team of scientists had selected Thumba as the ideal location for setting up a space centre. Getting land for the project was a herculean task. The place had a prominent church and many houses around.

Even the Chief Minister expressed his helplessness. Undaunted, Mr. Sarabhai met Peter Pereira, the vicar of the church.

The vicar invited Mr. Sarabhai to the Sunday mass where the former explained to the devotees the importance of science in everyday life.

Mr. Sarabhai had promised to relocate the church and residential facilities in 9 months.

The rationale behind the proposal became acceptable to the devotees thanks to the deft handling of the issue by the two visionary leaders, Mr. Kalam said.

An instance of leadership taking national interest above political issues was also highlighted by Kalam.

Former Prime Minister Narasimha Rao called up Mr. Kalam one night and asked him to explain the nuclear programme to A.B.Vajpayee who was the Prime Minster designate, after Mr. Rao’s party lost the electoral race.

A true leader should accept failures and give credit to the team when a project succeeds, he said, recalling the instance of Satish Dhawan asking Mr. Kalam to address a press meet when a project succeeded.

Mr. Dhawan was at the forefront at an earlier press meet when a mission failed though Mr. Kalam was the key person behind both the missions. Fisheries Minister K. Babu, M. M. Murugappan, vice-chairman, Murugappa group, Steven Heaslip, Chief Human resources Officer, Laurelton Diamonds, U.S.A., and office-bearers of the convention committee A. S. Girish, K. Ramachandran Pillai, N. Vijayan Pillai, P. Sudeep, Y. P. S. Kanwar spoke.

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