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Dr APJ Abdul Kalaam’s vision for India
Dr Abdul Kalam spoke at Hyderabad about himself and his vision for a
I have three visions for India. In 3000 years of our history, people from
all over the world have come and invaded us, captured our lands, conquered
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. We have 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
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. My
second vision for India is DEVELOPMENT. For fifty years we have been a
developing nation. It is time we see ourselves as a developed nation. We
are 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 THIRD vision. India 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.
I see four milestones in my career:
ONE: Twenty 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
TWO: After my 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.
THREE: The 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
FOUR: One day an orthopaedic 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 callipers weighing
over three Kg. each, dragging their feet around. He said to me: Please
remove the pain of my patients. In three weeks, we made these Floor
reaction Orthosis 300 gram callipers and took them to the orthopaedic
centre. The children didn't believe their eyes. From dragging around a
three kg. load on their legs, they could now move around! Their parents
had tears in their eyes. That was my fourth bliss!
Why is 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.
Why? We are the first in milk production. We are number one in Remote
sensing satellites. We are the second largest producer of wheat. We are
the second largest producer of rice. Look at 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. In India we only read about death, sickness, terrorism,
crime. Why are we so NEGATIVE?
Another question: Why are we, as a nation so obsessed with foreign things?
We want 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. She replied: I
want to live in a developed India. For her, you and I will have to build
this developed India. You must proclaim. India is not an under-developed
nation; it is a highly developed nation. q