By Vish Viswanathan
Even though he was the President of India, holding the highest office in a country with over 1 billion people, Dr Abdul Kalam was very humble and approachable to the common man. His speeches kindled passion in every listener to do something great for society, country and humanity. He was also popular with the media and it was very interesting to watch him respond to their queries, while also educating them on various issues.
I recall Dr Kalam being interviewed by Tamil actor Sivakumar on SUN TV, at which each time the actor spoke about Dr Kalam’s achievement, he would respond by stating the achievement of Sivakumar, including his famous talks on ‘Kamba Ramayanam’, a Tamil epic. It was a clever reversal of roles, the interviewee turning interviewer!
Dr Kalam’s famous speeches during Independence Day and Republic Day each year carried his great vision for India and its people, especially the younger generation. He was literally, humility personified.
I was fortunate to listen to him twice in person, once at the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas in Mumbai 2005 at which he announced a Tsunami Research program and humbly appealed to NRIs from various countries to join together for the cause; and again during his visit to Sydney. The Indian community held a reception for Dr Kalam on May 18, 2011 at the Shangri-La Hotel and I was privileged to share a brief moment with him. I presented Dr Kalam with a memento of the Sydney Opera House in ceramic, which he accepted gracefully with a smile. He was happy as a child when I referred to his interview with Sivakumar, and also responded to my query on the progress of the Tsunami research.
I recall here Dr Kalam’s speech at the University of Technology in Sydney at which he quoted Maharishi Patanjali: “When you are inspired by some great purpose, some great project, and your thoughts will break all boundaries and you will discover to be a greater person by farther than you ever dreamed yourself to be”. This is a true tribute to the life of Dr APJ Abdul Kalam. He will live forever in our thoughts.
Look at the sky. We are not alone. The whole universe is friendly to us and conspires only to give the best to those who dream and work.
God, our Creator, has stored within our minds and personalities, great potential strength and ability. Prayer helps us tap and develop these powers.
When we tackle obstacles, we find hidden reserves of courage and resilience we did not know we had. And it is only when we are faced with failure do we realise that these resources were always there within us. We only need to find them and move on with our lives
Man needs his difficulties because they are necessary to enjoy success.
Those who cannot work with their hearts achieve but a hollow, half-hearted success that breeds bitterness all around
Let us sacrifice our today so that our children can have a better tomorrow,
Let me define a leader. He must have vision and passion and not be afraid of any problem. Instead, he should know how to defeat it. Most importantly, he must work with integrity.
If a country is to be corruption free and become a nation of beautiful minds, I strongly feel there are three key societal members who can make a difference. They are the father, the mother and the teacher.
Unless India stands up to the world, no one will respect us. In this world, fear has no place. Only strength respects strength
We will be remembered only if we give to our younger generation a prosperous and safe India, resulting out of economic prosperity coupled with civilizational heritage
Wings of Fire –An Autobiography: (With Arun Tiwari)
2020 – A Vision for the New Millennium – (With YS Rajan)
Envisioning an Empowered Nation – Technology for Societal Transformation: (With A Sivathanu Pillai)
Ignited Minds – Unleashing The Power Within India
Developments in Fluid Mechanics and Space Technology – (With R Narasimha)
The Luminous Sparks A biography in verse and colours
The Life Tree Poems
Mission India – A Vision for Indian Youth – (With YS Rajan)
Children Ask Kalam – Children and APJ Abdul Kalam
Guiding Souls – Dialogues on the Purpose of life (With Arun K Tiwari)