‘With vision, courage and passion we can build a great nation'
Asked who was the greatest influence in his life, former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam said, “My teacher Siva Subramani Iyer.” A Class X student asked him this at the Air Force Administrative College, Red Fields, Coimbatore, where he addressed Air Warriors and their families.
Mr. Kalam recollected a class where his venerable teacher had drawn a bird on the blackboard and explained the basics of flight. “He took us outdoors and asked us to observe the seagulls. I knew then that I wanted to do something that involved flying.” On his teacher's advice, Mr. Kalam took physics and then did aeronautical engineering. Of course, the rest is history.
He dreamt of becoming a pilot. He applied to the IAF, but fate had other things in store for him. But the dream remained and when as President he visited the Su 30 squadron in Pune, he flew the supersonic aircraft. He was briefed that he should not exceed 4 G but he touched 5 G, the former President gleefully disclosed.
Leaders must have a vision, said Mr. Kalam and explained how he envisioned India being an economic power by 2020. He said a few nations in the world could boast of six hundred million youth that India had. With vision, courage, integrity and passion we could build a great nation, he said.
Mr. Kalam concluded with an incident that happened in his recent trip to Sri Lanka where he visited the 100-year-old Jaffna Hindu School. A young girl asked him, “How can I be a good citizen?” Mr. Kalam asked her to repeat after him the words, ‘Righteousness in the heart leads to beauty in character that in turn leads to harmony at home, order in the nation and peace in the world'.
Mr. Kalam then invited the Air Warriors and their families to repeat the same.
E-governance, self sufficiency, sustainable development, infrastructure development and most of all equitable development of urban and rural India were the keys to a great future, said Mr. Kalam.
But most importantly, he urged, “Dream, dream, dream. Dreams transfer into thoughts and thoughts result in action.”