Vice President calls upon youth to be at forefront in scripting India’s growth story

New Delhi, Jan 18, 2021: The Vice President of India, Shri M Venkaiah Naidu today called upon the youth to be at the forefront in scripting India’s growth story.

He was releasing a biography in Tamil on former President, Dr A P J Abdul Kalam at Raj Bhavan in Chennai. The book titled “Abdul Kalam- NinaivugalukkuMaranamillai” is written by Dr. Kalam’s niece, Dr APJM NazemaMaraikayar and well-known space scientist, Dr.Y.S. Rajan. Lauding the authors for bringing out the book in Tamil, he said that writing in the mother tongue was the best way to reach out to the masses.

Observing that one of India’s biggest strengths was its demographic dividend, Shri Naidu called for fully leveraging it to fast-track progress in different sectors—from agriculture to manufacturing and ensure a sustained growth rate in the coming years. Pointing out that about 65 per cent of the country’s population is below 35 years and 50 per cent is below 25 years, he said this is the time for the youth of the country to be at the forefront in accelerating the progress.

Paying rich tributes to the former President, Shri Naidu urged the youth to take a leaf out of Dr. Kalam’s book and believe in themselves. “They must aspire to become job-creators rather than job-seekers,” he added.

Stressing the need to overhaul the education system to make learning an enjoyable experience right from primary education, the Vice President said that students must be encouraged to pose questions and think critically. “The New Education Policy is a great leap in this regard. It does away with artificial segregation between curricular and extra-curricular activities and aims at the holistic development of the child”, he added.

Recalling Dr Kalam’s passion to ignite the young minds, the Vice President said that he used to always visit schools and interact with students. “He inspired thousands of students through his unforgettable words, magnetic presence and a warm smile”, he added.

Stating that the former President firmly believed in using technology for the benefit and well-being of the society, the Vice President said “In fact, Dr. Kalam can be credited with laying strong foundations of ‘AtmaNirbharta’ in our space and defence sectors, on which, our scientists and engineers are building today”.

He said the legacy of self-belief left by Dr Kalam left has motivated the scientists in developing our own vaccine today.“Even with medical equipment, having started modestly, we are now exporting PPE kits, N95 masks and ventilators to other countries”, the Vice President said and complimented the government and the scientists for their untiring efforts in bringing out the vaccine for COVID-19.

He said the development of the vaccine in a short span and at an affordable cost was a “remarkable achievement”.

Shri Naidu said that Dr.Kalam will alwaysbe remembered for his indomitable spirit and never-say-die attitude even in the face of adversity. He pursued and persisted with discipline, hard work and confidence, he added.

Dr APJM NazemaMaraikayar, co-author and managing trustee, Abdul Kalam International Foundation ( AIKF) ,Dr. Manickam, Chairman, MCET (Dr.Mahalingam College of Engineering and Technology), Dr. SirpiBalasubramaniam, author and poet and Shri A P J M J Sheik Saleem, Co-founder, AKIF were present on the occasion.

Following is the full text of the speech –

“Dear sisters and brothers,

I am extremely delighted to be present here with you to release the book titled “Abdul Kalam- NinaivugalukkuMaranamillai”.

This book is in Tamil and written by Dr APJM NazemaMaraikayar, niece of Dr Kalam and the well-known space scientist, Dr Y S Rajan, who was a close friend of the great man. I must compliment the authors for the tremendous effort.

The book is subtitled ‘NinaivugalukkuMaranamillai’, which translates as ‘immortal memories’. This is a very apt subtitle to celebrate and remember the immensely popular former President, who was a multi-faceted personality– a renowned scientist, patriot, educator, administrator, “people’s President” and above all a great human being and an inspiration to all. His initiatives and contributions to strengthen India’s defence and space capacities are unparalleled. Despite all his achievements, he remained a man of utter simplicity, warmth and honesty.

I had the good fortune to interact with Dr Kalam many times when he was in DRDO and later as the President of India too. But every time I met him, I was struck by his simplicity, the depth of his knowledge and his deep desire to transform the lives of the common people.

Friends, Mahatma Gandhi once said ‘My life is my message’. This could very well be applied to Dr Kalam too, who practiced what he preached. Dr Kalam is often quoted for his inspirational words, but in order to really understand him and the significance of those words, we need to look at the life that shaped his thoughts and deeds. So, for a change, I would like to ponder at what Dr Kalam did in his life rather than focusing only on what he had said. We can imbibe a lot of good qualities from this great personality by looking at how he dealt with each situation in his life.

Born into a poor family, Dr Kalam had to sell newspapers as a boy to supplement his family income. He was an average student in the school but was known to be intelligent and hardworking, who always had an insatiable thirst for knowledge. He always had a positive outlook towards life and never believed that a problem is insurmountable. That is the attitude one needs to adopt to make a mark in life.

Dear sisters and brothers,

One of our biggest strengths today is our demographic dividend. We need to fully leverage this to fast-track progress in different sectors—from agriculture to manufacturing and ensure a sustained growth rate in the coming years. This is the time for the youth of the country to be at the forefront in accelerating the progress and scripting India’s growth story.

I urge the youth to take a leaf out of Dr. Kalam’s book and believe in themselves. They must aspire to become job-creators rather than seekers. As Dr Kalam said, “Dream is not that which you see while sleeping. It is something that does not let you sleep”. He further advised the youth, “Don’t read success stories, you will only get a message. Read failure stories, you will get some ideas to get success”.

Dr Kalam often said that he considered children to be the first scientists since they keep asking the question “why?” about everything. I believe this curiosity is the gateway to truly unlocking the creative potential of every child. I have been stressing the need to overhaul our education system to make learning an enjoyable experience right from primary education. Students must be encouraged to pose questions and think critically. The New Education Policy is a great leap in this regard. It does away with artificial segregation between curricular and extra-curricular activities and aims at the holistic development of the child.

Dr. Kalam always believed in the inherent potential of every child.  He once remarked: “The best brains of the nation may be found on the last benches of the classroom”, indicating the importance of not underestimating the capability of any child.

Perhaps, a future scientist or a future President might emerge from the last benches… who knows?

One attribute of Dr Kalam that stood out was his passion to ignite the young minds of India. Whether as a scientist or President or ex-President, he was always visiting schools and interacting with students. Such was his passion to talk to the young generation that even after his retirement, he became a visiting professor in various IIMs and technical institutes. He inspired thousands of students through his unforgettable words, magnetic presence and a warm smile.

The former President firmly believed in using technology for the benefit and well-being of the society.

Dr.Kalam will be always remembered for his indomitable spirit and never-say-die attitude even in the face of adversity. He pursued and persisted with discipline, hard work and confidence. Along with the development of India’s indigenous satellite launch vehicles, he is also credited with the development of India’s Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP). In fact, Dr. Kalam can be credited with laying strong foundations of ‘AtmaNirbharta’ in our space and defence sectors, on which, our scientists and engineers are building today.

The legacy of self-belief that Dr Kalam left is what motivated us to develop our own vaccine today. Even with medical equipment, having started modestly, we are now exporting PPE kits, N95 masks and ventilators to other countries. I must compliment the government and the scientists for their untiring efforts in bringing out the vaccine for COVID-19. My hearty congratulations for the historic vaccination drive that kicked off yesterday.

Dr Kalam’s term as the President was the pinnacle of his public life and helped him share his extraordinary vision with the common man.  He constantly reached out to people and was always humble and down-to-earth.  Once, on a state visit to Kerala, he invited a cobbler, who used to mend his shoes and the owner of a small hotel where he used to eat regularly, to the Raj Bhavan. These qualities of simplicity and humaneness explain his enduring popularity among the people. As the book suggests, his memories are truly immortal.

One of the important reasons for his popularity among the people is his ability to achieve a syncretism in various diverse traditions of India. Even as the foremost scientist of the country, he enjoyed reading and writing Tamil poetry, playing the veena and listening to devotional Carnatic music. He delivered talks in the highest institutions like IIMs and IITs and was equally keen to visit small rural schools.

Dear sisters and brothers,

During my tours across the country, I have been regularly meeting and interacting with students in various institutions. I believe that such interactions will not only provide me with an opportunity to share my thoughts, but also enable me to get a feedback on the views and aspirations of the youth.

Dr Kalam was always keen on protecting the environment. At the Rashtrapati Bhavan garden, he nurtured medicinal plants and created an herbal and a “Spiritual Garden”, which attract thousands of visitors, especially school children. Even in his final lecture at IIM Shillong titled “Creating a Livable Planet Earth”, he warned about the damage our quest for development has inflicted on the earth’s ecosystem.

Friends, we should always remember that development and environmental protection must go hand-in-hand. We must always live in harmony with nature and we have no right to cause any harm to the natural ecosystem. I am happy to note Abdul Kalam International Foundation is continuing his good work through projects like social forestry.

Brothers and sisters,

Dr. Kalam’s books have been very popular among the young and the old alike.

I am told that this biography traces Dr Kalam’s journey right from his student days, including his family roots. Many incidents are presented from the family’s point of view. Dr Y.S. Rajan’s contribution brings out many qualities in the great man that have made him an administrator par excellence. I commend the authors for bringing out this book and enriching our understanding of Dr Kalam.

Once again, I am very happy to have launched this book.

My best wishes to the authors, the Abdul Kalam International Foundation and the family of Dr Kalam. Thank you.

Jai Hind!”

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