DR. APJ Abdul
Kalaam's speech in Hyderabad.
James Fernandesís INBOX)
three visions for India.
years of our history, people from all over the world have come
and invaded us, captured our lands, conquered our minds. From
Alexander onwards, the Greeks, the Turks, the Moguls, the
Portuguese, the British, the French, the Dutch, all of them came
and looted us, took over what was ours. Yet we have not done
this to any other nation. We have not conquered anyone.
not grabbed their land, their culture, their history and tried
to enforce our way of life on them. Why? Because, we respect the
freedom of others. That is why my first vision is that of
FREEDOM. I believe that India got its first vision of this in
1857, when we started the war of independence. It is this
freedom that we must protect and nurture and build on. If we are
not free, no one will respect us.
second vision for India is DEVELOPMENT. For fifty years we have
been a developing nation. It is time we see ourselves as a
among top 5 nations of the world in terms of GDP We have 10
percent growth rate in most areas. Our poverty levels are
falling. Our achievements are being globally recognized today.
Yet we lack the self-confidence to see ourselves as a developed
nation, self- reliant and self-assured. Isn't this incorrect?
I have a
must stand up to the world. Because I believe that, unless India
stands up to the world, no one will respect us. Only strength
respects strength. We must be strong not only as a military
power but also as an economic power. Both must go hand-in-hand.
My good fortune was to have worked with three great minds. Dr.
Vikram Sarabhai of the Dept. of space, Professor Satish Dhawan,
who succeeded him and Dr.Brahm Prakash, father of nuclear
material. I was lucky to have worked with all three of them
closely and consider this the great opportunity of my life.
four milestones in my career:
years I spent in ISRO. I was given the opportunity to be the
project director for India's first satellite launch vehicle,
SLV3. The one that launched Rohini. These years played a very
important role in my life of Scientist.
ISRO years, I joined DRDO and got a chance to be the part of
India's guided missile program. It was my second bliss when Agni
met its mission requirements in 1994.
Dept. of Atomic Energy and DRDO had this tremendous partnership
in the recent nuclear tests, on May 11 and 13. This was the
third bliss. The joy of participating with my team in these
nuclear tests and proving to the world that India can make it,
that we are no longer a developing nation but one of them. It
made me feel very proud as an Indian. The fact that we have now
developed for Agni a re-entry structure, for which we have
developed this new material. A Very light material called
an orthopedic surgeon from Nizam Institute of Medical Sciences
visited my laboratory. He lifted the material and found it so
light that he took me to his hospital and showed me his
patients. There were these little girls and boys with heavy
metallic calipers weighing over three Kg. each, dragging their
to me: Please remove the pain of my patients.
weeks, we made these Floor reaction Orthosis 300-gram calipers
and took them to the orthopedic center. The children didn't
believe their eyes. >From dragging around a three kg. load on
their legs, they could now move around!
parents had tears in their eyes. That was my fourth bliss!
the media here so negative? Why are we in India so embarrassed
to recognize our own strengths, our achievements? We are such a
great nation. We have so many amazing success stories but we
refuse to acknowledge them.
the first in milk production.
number one in Remote sensing satellites.
the second largest producer of wheat.
the second largest producer of rice.
Dr. Sudarshan, he has transferred the tribal village into a
self-sustaining, self driving unit. There are millions of such
achievements but our media is only obsessed in the bad news and
failures and disasters.
I was in
Tel Aviv once and I was reading the Israeli newspaper. It was
the day after a lot of attacks and bombardments and deaths had
taken place. The Hamas had struck. But the front page of the
newspaper had the picture of a Jewish gentleman who in five
years had transformed his desert land into an orchid and a
granary. It was this inspiring picture that everyone woke up to.
The gory details of killings, bombardments, deaths, were inside
in the newspaper, buried among other news.
we only read about death, sickness, terrorism, crime. Why are we
question : Why are we, as a nation so obsessed with foreign
foreign TVs, we want foreign shirts. We want foreign technology.
Why this obsession with everything imported. Do we not realize
that self-respect comes with self-reliance?
I was in
Hyderabad giving this lecture, when a 14 year old girl asked me
for my autograph. I asked her what her goal in life is.
replied: I want to live in a developed India.
you and I will have to build this developed India. You must
proclaim. India is not an under-developed nation; it is a highly
have 10 minutes? Allow me to come back with a vengeance.
minutes for your country? If yes, then read; otherwise, choice
that our government is inefficient.
that our laws are too old.
that the municipality does not pick up the garbage.
that the phones don' t work, the railways are a joke, the
airline is the worst in the world, mails never reach their
that our country has been fed to the dogs and is the absolute
say and say.
YOU do about it? Take a person on his way to Singapore..... Give
him a name - YOURS. Give him a face - YOURS. YOU walk out of the
airport and you are at your International best. In Singapore you
don't throw cigarette butts on the roads or eat in the stores.
YOU are as proud of their Underground links as they are. You pay
$5 (approx. Rs.60) to drive through Orchard Road (equivalent of
Mahim Causeway or Peddar Road) between 5 PM and 8 PM. YOU
comeback to the parking lot to punch your parking ticket if you
have over stayed in a restaurant or a shopping mall irrespective
of your status identity. In Singapore you don't say anything, DO
YOU? YOU wouldn't dare to eat in public during Ramadan, in
Dubai. YOU would not dare to go out without your head covered in
Jeddah. YOU would not dare to buy an employee of the telephone
exchange in London at 10 pounds ( Rs.650) a month to, "see to it
that my STD and ISD calls a re billed to someone else." YOU
would not dare to speed beyond 55 mph (88 km/h) in Washington
and then tell the traffic cop, "Jaanta hai main kaun hoon (Do
you know who I am?). I am so and so's son. Take your two bucks
and get lost."
wouldn't chuck an empty coconut shell anywhere other than the
garbage pail on the beaches in Australia and New Zealand.
don't YOU spit Paan on the streets of Tokyo?
don't YOU use examination jockeys or buy fake certificates in
still talking of the same YOU.
can respect and conform to a foreign system in other countries
but cannot in your own.
will throw papers and cigarettes on the road the moment you
touch Indian ground. If you can be an involved and appreciative
citizen in an alien country, why cannot you be the same here in
an interview, the famous Ex-municipal commissioner of Bombay,
Mr.Tinaikar, had a point to make. "Rich people's dogs are walked
on the streets to leave their affluent droppings all over the
place," he said. "And then the same people turn around to
criticize and blame the authorities for inefficiency and dirty
pavements. What do they expect the officers to do? Go down with
a broom every time their dog feels the pressure in his bowels?
America every dog owner has to clean up after his pet has done
the job. Same in Japan. Will the Indian citizen do that here?"
We go to
the polls to choose a government and after that forfeit all
responsibility. We sit back wanting to be pampered and expect
the government to do everything for us whilst our contribution
is totally negative. We expect the government to clean up but we
are not going to stop chucking garbage all over the place nor
are we going to stop to pick a up a stray piece of paper and
throw it in the bin. We expect the railways to provide clean
bathrooms but we are not going to learn the proper use of
Indian Airlines and Air India to provide the best of food and
toiletries but we are not going to stop pilfering at the least
opportunity. This applies even to the staff who is known not to
pass on the service to the public. When it comes to burning
social issues like those related to women, dowry, girl child and
others, we make loud drawing room protestations and continue to
do the reverse at home. Our excuse? "It's the whole system which
has to change, how will it matter if I alone forego my sons'
rights to a dowry." So who's going to change the system?
does a system consist of? Very conveniently for us it consists
of our neighbors, other households, other cities, other
communities and the government. But definitely not me and YOU.
When it comes to us actually making a positive contribution to
the system we lock ourselves along with our families into a safe
cocoon and look into the distance at countries far away and wait
for a Mr. Clean to come along & work miracles for us with a
majestic sweep of his hand or we leave the country and run away.
lazy cowards hounded by our fears we run to America to bask in
their glory and praise their system. When New York becomes
insecure we run to England. When England experiences
unemployment, we take the next flight out to the Gulf. When the
Gulf is war struck, we demand to be rescued and brought home by
the Indian government. Everybody is out to abuse and rape the
country. Nobody thinks of feeding the system. Our conscience is
mortgaged to money.
Indians, The article is highly thought inductive, calls for a
great deal of introspection and pricks one's conscience too....I
am echoing J.F.Kennedy's words to his fellow Americans to relate
WHAT WE CAN DO FOR INDIA AND DO WHAT HAS TO BE DONE TO MAKE
INDIA WHAT AMERICA AND OTHER WESTERN COUNTRIES ARE TODAY"
what India needs from us.
this mail to each Indian for a change instead of sending Jokes
or junk mails.
Dr. Abdul Kalaam
(PRESIDENT OF INDIA)