Dr. APJ Abdulkalam Address to the Students and Teachers on Evolution of Indomitable spirit in youth
I am delighted to address and interact with the students of Chandrapur schools and colleges and also the teachers. Today, when I am with you, I would like share few thoughts on the topic "Evolution of Indomitable Spirit in Youth".
Indomitable Spirit Let me now recite a poem which I have written on the Indomitable Spirit. This poem was composed during a flight from New Delhi to Bangalore. This poem emanated as an answer to a number of questions posed to me from the youth on various issues and problems like, poverty, disorder in the family, invasion on Indian culture, mistrust, corruption, violence, terrorism, distrust, and fear that are prevailing among the youth. This poem is mainly to address the fears among the youth.
Indomitable SpiritI was swimming in the sea,
Waves came one after the other
I was swimming and swimming to reach my destination.
But one wave, a powerful wave, overpowered me;
It took me along in its own direction,
I was pulled long and along.
When I was about to lose amidst the sea wave power,
One thought flashed to me, yes, that is courage
Courage to reach my goal, courage to defeat the powerful force and succeed;
With courage in my mind, indomitable spirit engulfed me,
With indomitable spirit in mind and action,
I regained lost confidence
I can win, win and win
Strength came back to me, overpowered the sea wave
I reached the destination, my mission.
Dear friends, with the indomitable spirit with you, you can win, win and reach the destination.
Unique YouDear friends, Look up, what do you see, the light, the electric bulbs. Immediately, our thoughts go to the inventor Thomas Alva Edison, for his unique contribution towards the invention of electric bulb and his electrical lighting system.
When you hear the sound of aero plane going over your house, whom do you think of? Wright Brothers proved that man could fly of course at heavy risk and cost.
Whom does the telephone remind you of? Of course, Alexander Graham Bell. When everybody considered a sea travel as an experience or a voyage, a unique person questioned during his sea travel from United Kingdom to India. He was pondering on why the horizon where the sky and sea meet looks blue? His research resulted in the phenomena of scattering of light. Of course, Sir C.V. Raman was awarded Nobel Prize.
Do you know an Indian Mathematician who did not have formal higher education but had inexhaustible spirit and love for mathematics which took him to contribute to the treasure houses of mathematical research? Some of which are still under serious study and engaging all-available world mathematicians? efforts to establish formal proofs. He was a unique Indian genius who could melt the heart of the most hardened and outstanding Cambridge mathematician Prof G H Hardy. In fact, it is not an exaggeration to say that it was Prof. Hardy who discovered a great mathematician for the world. This mathematician was of courseSrinivasa Ramanujan for whom every number was a divine manifestation. In the engineering field, contributions of the towering personalities like Sir Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya were remarkable even in our time. Some of them bear testimony even today likes Krishnaraja Sagar Dam and industries in Mysore.
Do you know about a great human being with a spirit of service, who also won a Nobel prize for her contributions? She said and practiced, "Give give and give, until it hurts". She is
Friends, there was a great scientific lady who is known for discovering radiation. She won not one, but two Nobel prizes, one for physics and another for chemistry. Who is she? She is Madam Curie. Madam Curie discovered radium and she was doing research on the effect of radiation on human system. The same radiation which she discovered, affected her and she sacrificed her life for removing the pain of human life.
Friends, I have, so far, met 15 million youth in a decade's time. I learnt, "every youth wants to be unique, that is, YOU! But the world all around you, is doing its best, day and night, to make you just "everybody else". In the home, dear young fellows you are asked by your parents to be like neighours children for scoring good marks. When you go to school, your teachers say "why not you become like the first five rankers in the class". Wherever you go, they are saying "you have to somebody else or everybody else". Now dear young friends, how many of you would like to be unique yourself.
The challenge, my young friends, is that you have to fight the hardest battle, which any human being can ever imagine to fight; and never stop fighting until you arrive at your destined place, that is, a UNIQUE YOU! Friends what will be your tools to fight this battle, what are they: have a great aim in life, continuously acquire the knowledge, work hard and persevere to realize the great achievement.
Criteria for achievement for youth
Dear friends, when I see you young friends, I thought of sharing an ancient poem and modified to suit the occasion. Can you all repeat with me?
Wings to FlyI am born with potential.
I am born with goodness and trust.
I am born with ideas and dreams.
I am born with greatness.
I am born with confidence.
I am born with wings.
I am not meant for crawling,
So I won't, I have wings,
I will fly, fly and fly"
My message to you, young friends, is that education gives you wings to fly. Achievement comes out of fire in our sub-conscious mind that "I will win". So, each one of you assembled here and elsewhere, will have "Wings of Fire". The Wing of Fire will indeed lead to knowledge which will make you to fly as a Doctor, or an Engineer, or a scientist, or a teacher, or a political leader, or a bureaucrat or a diplomat or anything you want to be.
How to make impossible possible?Dear students, it is said, "History has proven that those who dare to imagine the impossible are the ones who break all human limitations. In every field of human endeavor, whether science, medicine, sports, the arts, or technology, the names of the people who imagined the impossible and achieved are engraved in our history. By breaking the limits of their imagination, they changed the world."
Let us see a few creative minds who made impossible possible by their indomitable spirit. Human flight is nothing but creativity of human mind and it undergoes several struggles to achieve excellence. In 1895, a great well-known scientist Lord Kelvin, who was the President of Royal Society of London said, "anything heavier than air cannot fly, and cannot be flown." Within a decade, Wright Brothers proved man could fly in 1903.
On the successful completion of Moon Mission in 1969, Von Braun, a very famous rocket designer, who built Saturn-V, to launch the capsule with astronauts and made moon walk a reality, in 1975 said "If I am authorized, I will remove the word impossible". In ancient days, Ptolemaic astronomy is a widely used system in calculating the dynamics of various stars and planets. Assumption by then was that the earth is flat. What a scientific struggle had to take place to prove that the earth is spherical in shape orbiting around the sun. The three great astronomers Copernicus, Galileo and Kepler had to give a new dimension to the world of astronomy. Today we take it for granted that earth is a globe, orbiting around the sun, and the sun orbits in the Milky Way. All the technological advancements we have today are the outcome of scientific exploration of scientists of earlier centuries. At no time, man was beaten by problems. He strives continuously to subjugate impossibility and then succeeds.
Dear friends, what lessons do we learn from all these achievements? According to the laws of aerodynamics the bumble bee should never be able to fly. Because of the size, weight, and shape of its body in relationship to the total wing span, flying is scientifically impossible. The bumble bee, being ignorant of scientific theory, goes ahead and flies anyway. Because it wants to fly and it is flying. I would like the youth assembled here to take a lesson from these examples and work to make everything possible, because they are unique.
I can do it Friends, when I was the President of India, I met the group of tribal students from Lead India 2020 movement on 28 Aug 2006. First let me share with you, what is Lead India 2020 movement all about. It was originated in Andrapradesh has so far trained 14 lakh students on the 10 point oath to students that I have designed. Lead India 2020 training is now spreading in various others states. Lead India 2020 movement is shaping the students to develop their inner potential, shaping their character to become an enlightened citizen and helps them to achieve higher performance in their academic studies, in total it advocates "Self development is National Development". Hence, I request Mr Hansraj Ahir, Hon?ble Member of Parliament may initiate the Lead India 2020 programme in association with the District Collectorate, Education Department, schools and NGO and organise the training programme to teachers and students in this region. Now I would like to give an example to understand the power the Lead India 2020 training.
When I met the tribal students of Lead India 2020 at Rashtrapathi Bhavan, I asked all of them one question: "What you want to become?" Out of many responses, one visually challenged boy studying IX class got up. His name is Srikanth, he answered me "I will become the first visually Challenged President of India". I was very happy to see his vision and ambition. Small aim is a crime. Hence, I congratulated him to realize his vision and told him to work for realizing the vision.
Thereafter he worked hard and got 90% in Xth class and 96 % in intermediate and he set a goal to study Engineering in MIT, Boston USA. His relentless hard work not only secured seat but he got full fee waiver from MIT, Boston. Srikanth?s achievement has brought changes in many change agents of Lead India 2020 and inspired to set high vision. The training he took under the initiative of Lead India 2020 has set a high vision for him. Seeing this impact of Lead India 2020 training, Lead India 2020 movement and GE volunteers have funded Mr. Srikanth for his travel to USA. Today he is pursuing his studies at MIT, Boston. When the GE offered him a job on his completion of graduation, he told them that he would certainly come back to GE, if he couldn?t become the President of India. What a confidence that boy has amidst of difficulty and the challenges in his life by being visually challenged.
Recently, when I met the physically challenged students meet organised by Tamilnadu Govt and Lead India 2020 at Coimbatore, I had a chance to meet Mr. Srikanth and his teacher who brought him up. I found in him, he is doing 4th year in his graduation of B.S Computer Science and Management. Within this 4 years, he has started one company which produces consumer packaging items using bio-degradable materials and other other social iniative that he started is a skill development training to the youth. He gave an extempore speech on how to overcome the disability and to have a strong mind and will power to overcome the challenges and succeed.
The message is, my young friends, it doesn?t matter who you are, if you have a vision and determination to achieve that vision, you will certainly achieve.
"When you wish upon a star,
Makes no difference who you are
Anything your heart desires
Will come to you"
Friends, teachers create beautiful minds. Beautiful minds are creative and many times with indomitable spirit. Will-power can defeat any problem.
Friends, recently, an incident which took place in Harali village, Kolhapur District in Maharashtra where I met over 2000 of students hailing from different schools. When I was about to get down from the stage after finishing my lecture and interaction, a young boy about 18 years of age, held in the arms of his mother cried to meet me. I called both of them on to the stage. The polio affected boy could not walk, but he was strong in will power. He told me, "My name is Shailesh and I am from this village Harali. You told us to have a dream. I am here to tell you my dream. I am a chess player. I will work very hard and someday I will become a Grand Master". I wished Shailesh all the best, who has a strong will power and said 'You will succeed. Definitely, God is with you.? Dear friends, the message is the "Will power can defeat any problem".
Knowledge equation Dear students, what you will acquire during your studies in your schools, a great friend is accompanying you. Who is that friend? That friend is - knowledge. Now, I am going to give the knowledge equation.
Knowledge = Creativity + Righteousness + Courage
Creativity"Learning gives creativity
Creativity leads to thinking
Thinking provides knowledge
Knowledge makes you great?
The next component of knowledge is righteousness. Righteousness is described in a divine hymn.
RighteousnessWhere there is righteousness in the heart
There is beauty in the character.
When there is beauty in the character,
there is harmony in the home.
When there is harmony in the home.
There is an order in the nation.
When there is order in the nation,
There is peace in the world.
Now the question is: How do we inculcate the righteousness in the heart. In my opinion, there are three sources which can build a youth with righteousness in the heart. One is mother, second is father in a spiritual environment and the third and the most important is the teacher, particularly primary school teacher.
The third component is courage, which is defined as follows:
CourageCourage to think different,
Courage to invent,
Courage to travel into an unexplored path,
Courage to discover the impossible,
Courage to combat the problems and succeed,
are the unique qualities of the youth.
As a youth of my nation, I will work and work with courage to achieve success in all the missions.
Wherefrom you will acquire knowledge? Home, good books, teachers and teaching environment, coming into contact with good human beings, teaching websites in internet. When the schools teach the students to use the knowledge with creativity, righteousness and courage, nation will have large number of empowered and enlightened citizens, which is vital for the growth of the individual, growth of the family, growth of nation and promotion of peace in the world.
Now let me address the teachers assembled here.
Role of a TeacherI have interacted with more than 17 million school children and millions of teachers across the length and breadth of the country, in a decade?s time. Wherever I went, be it Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Jammu and Kashmir or any other part of India, the voice of the youth is unique and strong in articulating their vision and dream and they are willing to work for it. Everyone dreams of living in a prosperous India, a happy India, a peaceful India and a safe India. The combinations of prosperity, happiness and peace to a nation always have to come together. When all three of them converge, then India will truly be a Developed Nation. There are more than 550 million children in India. When I address this gathering of teachers, I realize that I am interacting with a small cross section of the teaching community who lays the foundation for the future of youth and so the countries they serve. I am sure that you can ignite the minds of students by becoming a burning candle lighting another candle. Children work in the school for about 25000 hours during the 12 years of primary and secondary education. Teachers of excellence can with their example become role model.
What can I do for you? – The Leadership qualityEvery one of us has gone through the various phases of education from childhood to profession. Please visualize a scene - a child, a teenager, an adult and a leader. How does each one react to a particular situation? The situation is human need. The child asks, "What can you do for me"? The teenager says, "I want to do it alone". The young person proclaims, "let us do it together". The leader offers, "What can I do for you". So, the teachers have got a tremendous responsibility to transform a child into a leader? The transformation of 'what can you do for me' to ?what can I do for you?. That will demand a teacher to be a visionary with an inspiring capability. Also, the teacher has to ensure that they impart learning to the children in such a way as to bring out the best in them and for this; he or she has to be a good teacher himself/herself. I am sure, the best of creativity among the students will emerge by integrated influence of teachers and parents.
Education with value systemWhile I was in college, I remember the lectures given by the highest authority of a Jesuit institution Rev Father Rector Kalathil of St. Joshep?s college, Tiruchirappalli, Southern India. Every Monday, he will take a class for an hour. He used to talk about good human beings present and past and what makes a good human being. In this class he used to give lectures on personalities such as Buddha, Confucius, St. Augustine, Califa Omar, Mahatma Gandhi, Einstein, Abraham Lincoln and moral stories linked to our civilization heritage. In the moral science class, Father Kalathil used to highlight the best aspect on how the great personalities have been evolved as good human beings through parental care, teaching and companionship of great books. Even though these lessons were given to me in 1950?s during my college days, they inspire me even today. It is essential that lectures are given by great teachers in schools and colleges, once a week for an hour on civilizational heritage and derive value system. This may be called as Moral Science Class that will elevate the young minds to love the country, to love other human beings and elevate them to higher planes. This will ensure embedding of righteousness in each citizen with eternal goodness and wholesomeness in conduct. This is true, for the whole world. When we need peace in the world, we need order in the nation; we need harmony in the home. The origin is righteousness in the heart.
Home library Friends, now I would like to talk about necessity of a Home Library. On 11 August 2009, I was participating in the valedictory function of the book fair festival at Erode (Tamilnadu). While addressing the audience, I suggested that every one of the participants of the book fair to allocate at-least one hour in a day for reading quality books. This will enrich them with knowledge to empower the children and see them grow as great children. I also suggested all the parents should start a small library in their own home with approximately 20 books to begin with. This library should particularly have 10 children’s books, so that the children in the house can also cultivate reading habits at an early age looking at the parents reading quality books. Many people who attended this function, appreciated this thought and they immediately started a library at their homes. I administered the following oath to the participants:
ConclusionFriends, when the child is empowered by the parents, at various phases of growth, the child transforms into a responsible citizen. When the teacher is empowered with knowledge and experience, good young human beings with value systems take shape. When individual or a team is empowered with technology, transformation to higher potential for achievement is assured. When the leader of any institution empowers his or her people, leaders are born who can change the nation in multiple areas. When the women are empowered, society with stability gets assured. When the political leaders of the nation empower the people through visionary policies, the prosperity of the nation is certain. The medium for transformation to developed India is the empowerment at various levels with power of knowledge. Empowered youth can achieve the impossible and make the nation proud.
My best wishes to all of you success in educational missions.
May God Bless you.Oath for the Youth
Other Great Personalities include
For Jawaharlal Nehru
For Albert Einstein
For Kalpana Chawla