Dr. A.P.J.Abdul Kalam: “Kamal ka admi”
Though my comments on the Maithili translation of Kalam’s book, “Igmited Mind,” was published somewhere as remarked by its translator, Prof. N.L.Das, today I saw Dr. Kalam for the first time.
Dr.Kalam is known and respected by almost all Indians which I will say more as “Kamal ka admi” than he is famous as a missile man who became more famous as a non-politician president. Personally I am not in favour of a ‘non-politician’ president and have no applause for Kalam’s tenure as a President which was more or less like others barring a few episodes; if he was good in some also ‘stamp’ like in signing ‘President rule.’ In Bihar.
Dr. Kalam visited Ranchi in my campus where I work for the SAIL. Yesterday he came to its school DPS for which heavy security was. His life is precious true but then why not such persons are made available on tele-screen only. People get trouble by security persons. Even I was initially stopped by security persons knowing well that I was a doctor and working there(of course they let me go when I told them to search me if they like so.)
The road to colony was blocked where my health centre is. I had in my mind as to why Dr. Kalam chose an elite school like DPS for his programme. Why not he chose the first sarkari school of this district which might have given him a sample of our state’s state of education.
Anyway, I was already invited by a MTI(Management Training Institute)’s faculty with a pass for 25th January’s lecture on the occasion of MTI’s 47th Foundation Day. The SAIL top management was there with many VIPs and it was a grand function with huge expenditure.
Dr. Kalam spoke and he spoke by his heart and so he was applauded by all who were present there. He quoted passages from a book, ”Empires of Mind.” He quoted synergy is today’s need, yesterday it was hierarchy.
He exemplified for creative leaders by Vikram S arbhai who in 1970 had vision, ”India with the strength of its scientific personnel can have a day spacecrafts..” and today it has 150 transponders.
Dr. Kalam asked for ,”Management in failures,” and he said how after the unsuccessful SLVIII, Satish Dhawan owned the failure to himself in the press conference though Dr.Kalam was its project leader and after a year when it has a success same Satish Dhawan in the press conference gave full credit to Dr. Kalam. Leaders should be shock absorbers like Dhawan.
Dr. Kalam said about Shreedharan of Delhi Metro rail how dedicatedly he got the task done in time.
Dr. Kalam remembered a father at Keral’s Thumba whom Dr.Vikram Sarabhai met for getting land of fishermen, church and Father’s as that as the best place for space centre and he could not get it through State machinery or political ways. Father asked Sarabhai to come next day to Church where in the Sunday Mass he spoke that though he prays God for well being of all, that scientist Sarabhai worked through science to get electricity, mike, drugs etc. He asked whether they will give land and church to Sarabhai and all said, “Ameen.”
So science and spirituality can work together.
He quoted Gita that one should be like a flower which is faded after giving fragrance.
He said that swami Vivekananda and Jamshedji Tata were travelling in the same ship to US and when Tata told that he was going to UD to have technical know how of steel, Swami Vivekanand said ,”and what about science of steel and technology itself.” Jamshedji returned and donated his one third of money to the Science Institute at Bangalore, IISc popularly known as, Tata Institute of Science.”(I have written my memoir on it two years back, IISC: The Prodigal Son of Tata,” as Jamshetji had two daughters only and third part of his wealth, he donated to this Institute and so I had eponym it so.
Dr. Kalam asked for vision, mission and reality which he exemplified by many examples. He asked for Steelvision 2020 in the field of production and per capita consumption, including low cost housing in rural area.
He said leaders should have vision like Vikram Sarabhai and should have passion to transfer that in all.
A leader should be able to take unexplored path and manage success and failures and should have courage to take deficiencies and have nobility in management and should be transparent and man of integrity.
Dr. Kalam invited some questions. I was second to ask about ,”Inter linking of rivers and its eco effects to valley settled adivasis in particular,”
I had in fact written against this in The Hindu opposing his views which was published promptly while I was at Bangalore.
Dr. Kalam expressed his views that it will help rising in adivasi’s crop gain but he admitted that it was a very big project and it has many ecological aspects,
In fact, initially I was inclined to it but reading the other aspects through various channel, I left idea and simply am now in support of inter-linking of some small rivers in a particular area and not linking big rivers from one to other. More so water will be siphoned off not during floods but when draught and then the flood prone poorer area(like Mithila ) will be deprived of water.
Some more questions were asked on moral education, character building rightly he answered it that parents and primary school teachers have greater role in that. He replied a lady teacher that a good teacher of 50 should see how average 30 students of his/her class can do better.
On population control he replied that women education has done it in Mizoram, Kerala.
When a person pointed out for the state of Govt. schools, Dr.Kalam thought it for tribal and gave example of Chhtishgarh's moving schools on vans.
Dr. Kalam replied like a teacher but he seemed to me a preacher, a noble soul.