The Vice President Shri M Venkaiah Naidu called upon youngsters to draw inspiration from former President Dr APJ Abdul Kalam and work towards building a strong, self-reliant and inclusive India. He said that like Dr Kalam, the youth should think out of the box and use technology for providing solutions to the various economic and societal challenges that impact large sections of India’s population.
Speaking at virtual release of the book, ’40 Years with Abdul Kalam- Untold Stories’ authored by Dr Sivathanu Pillai, Shri Naidu expressed his happiness that the book provided a gripping first-hand account of Dr Kalam’s life. “The life of Dr Kalam sends a powerful message about how difficulties and setbacks when taken in the right spirit, serve as the key ingredients in making us robust in character and mindset,” he added.
Recalling some of his personal experiences with the former President, Shri Naidu said, “I had many occasions to interact with Dr Kalam when he was in DRDO and later as the President of India and every time I was struck by the depth of his knowledge and his sincere desire to transform the lives of the common people.”
Describing Dr Kalam a true Karma yogi, the Vice President said that he was an inspiration to every Indian. Shri Naidu said that Dr Kalam was truly a ‘People’s President’, who endeared himself to every Indian especially the youth. “He was an epitome of simplicity, honesty and wisdom. His contribution to strengthening India’s defence and space capabilities is invaluable,” he added.
The Vice President said that Dr Kalam personified dignity and optimism throughout India and abroad and was regarded as a strong promoter of friendship and knowledge. Shri Naidu recalled that in recognition of the contributions made by the former President, NASA named a newly discovered organism found on the International Space Station after Dr Kalam.
Referring to Dr. Kalam’s vision for India, Shri Naidu said, “The former President always spoke of the need for India to become a developed nation given the vast natural resources and the talented pool of human resources in diverse fields. He was convinced that India has the potential as well as the capability to become a developed nation in the near future.”
The Vice President said that Dr Kalam’s biggest passion was to motivate and inspire school and college students to work with a passion for nation-building activities. “He was a staunch nationalist, an inspiring orator and a prolific writer. What made him an inspiring and much-loved leader was the human side of Kalam’s personality which touched so many lives,” he added.
Referring to the impact of COVID-19 on the migrant workers, the Vice President stressed the need to create employment and economic opportunities in villages and small towns. “We will have to focus on decentralized planning, capacity building of local bodies and largescale promotion of cottage industries so that our villages and towns emerge as growth centres,” he added. For this, Shri Naidu wanted that the local bodies should be motivated to give boost to local development. Noting that Dr. Kalam passionately advocated the need to bridge the rural and urban divide through his PURA model, the Vice President said that this should be a priority for everyone.
Observing that with a median age of less than 30 years, India is among the world’s youngest nations, Shri Naidu wanted to channelise this youth energy for nation building. Stating that this should be the agenda for all leaders, the Vice President said that he himself is going around the country meeting the youth, motivating them and also seeking fresh ideas from their young minds.
Expressing his happiness over the many innovations by the scientific community during the ongoing pandemic, the Vice President said that India which had zero production capacity for PPEs at the onset of the pandemic had now emerged as the second-largest producer of PPE kits in the world. The Vice President said that this success story needed to be replicated in other fields as well to create a truly ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’, which was also the dream of Dr Kalam who dedicated his entire life to make India self-reliant in defence and space technologies.
Let us remember the words of Dr. Kalam in his last speech at IIM Shillong expressing his concern for environment. He repeatedly said that we have only one livable planet in our solar system and it was our duty to protect the earth and leave a livable planet for our future generations. He cautioned humanity of the harm we have inflicted on nature in our blind quest for development.
The Vice President said that it was time that we followed the sagacious advice of Dr Kalam and adopted a path of development that was sustainable and environmentally friendly. “Our scientists and engineers should come out with innovative technological solutions that are energy-efficient, clean and affordable,” he added.
He appreciated Dr Pillai for coming up with a comprehensive book and hoped that many more people would come out with such books describing their personal experiences with Dr. Kalam and guide the present generation how he was thinking about the country all the time.
The book’s author, Dr A Sivathanu Pillai, ISRO Professor Dr YS Rajan, MD & CEO of Pentagon Press Shri Rajan Aryaa were among the dignitaries who attended the virtual event.