Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam: Former President of India
  Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam    
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11-12-2005 : Delhi

Dear Children, Let me share with you a real life story. Are you ready? Some time back, the National Institute for Mentally Handicapped, Hyderabad, had conducted a sports meet for all the physically & mentally handicapped children at National Stadium Hyderabad. In one race.., Nine contestants, all physically or mentally disabled, assembled at the starting line for the 100 mtr race. At the starting signal, they all started out, not exactly in a dash, but with a relish to run the race to the finish and win. All, others except one little boy who stumbled on the asphalt, tumbled over a couple of times, and began to cry. The other eight heard the boy cry. They slowed down and looked back. Then they all turned around and went back.....every one of them. One girl with Down's syndrome bent down and kissed him and said, "This will make it better." Then all nine linked their arms together and walked together and finally reached the destination. Everyone in the stadium stood, and the cheering went on for several minutes. People who were there are still telling the story. Why? Because deep down we know this one thing: What matters in this life is more than winning for ourselves. What matters in this life is helping others win, even if it means slowing down and changing our course. I would say that, you do not have to slow down. Rather by helping difficult areas, the feed back will make you go faster. If you pass this on, we may be able to change our hearts as well as someone else's. "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle". What did you learn from this story? You can correspond with me.

Now let me take up your questions.

Shobha, DTEA, Sr. Sec. School, Delhi.

1. How can we increase ours strengths and reduce our weakness?

Ans. First you recognize your core competence. Undertake jobs which can be done with your core competence. This will increase your strength. If in a particular task you recognize some weak areas take the help of others to accomplish those areas. This will reduce your weakness.

Mohit, DTEA, Sr. Sec. School, Delhi.

2. What is the secret of success?

Ans. Sweat, Sweat and Sweat.

Kritika, Guru Harkishan Public School, Delhi

8. What problems you faced in your childhood?

Ans. It was a second world war period, when I was between 13 to 15 years of age. I had to work before going to school in the morning and after coming back from school in the evening.

Shradha Jha, Birla Vidya Niketan, Delhi.

9. You are the inspiration of all the children. Who was your inspiration in your childhood?

Ans. My elementary school teacher Shri Sivasubramania Iyer.

Apoorvi Patni, Salwan Public School, Delhi.

10. Why you are so attached with children? What are your expectations from us?

Ans. Children do not have any bias and they are very creative. I expect the children to create a movement for removing corruption in the society through the practice of righteousness in home and school.

Pratichi Mazumdar, Birla Vidya Niketan, Delhi.

11. What is more interesting, Presidents job or your job as scientist?

Ans. As a scientist I was busy in the preparation of a plan for transforming India into a developed nation. Now I am marketing to parliament, government and implementation agencies.

Prabhpreet, Guru Harkishan Public School, Delhi.

12. You have achieved the highest office in the country. Is there any desire you still want?

Ans.My desire is to see the smiles in the faces of billion people.


Nimanniyu Sharma, 8th Std., Apee Jay School, Jalandhar.

13. In this fast IT world, we are becoming delinked with our rich heritage and culture. How do you think we can balance both for aspirations of the future?

Ans. IT world need not delink rich heritage and culture. In fact, the IT world can facilitate linking with our rich heritage and culture because technology can enable you to participate in all the events any time in any place. The barrier of distance is totally broken. If we have this concept we can definitely balance between the preservation of our cultural heritage and aspirations of the future.


Chuskit Angmo, 9th Std., Lamdon Model Sr. Sec. School, Leh

14. You have said that India will become a superpower by year 2020 what is being done to achieve this?

Ans.Our economy is growing at nearly 8%. Many agencies are undertaking development of PURA complexes in different parts of the country. Emphasis on rural infrastructure development has increased. The tele-density now has gone up to 10%. All actions are aimed at India becoming a developed nation well before 2020.


Fauzia Yunis, 11th Std., St. Thomas Residential School, Thiruvananthapuram.

15. I would like to know Sir, how can we keep the spirit burning for generations to came so that we don?t succumb to our inherent limitations?

Ans.Having a "great vision" will enable you to overcome your limitations.


S. Nath, 9th Std., Bal Lok Matriculation Higher Sec. School, Chennai.

16. What according to you is the role of students in curbing child labour?

Ans. Child labour is unlawful. Definitely it can be eliminated by increasing the employment potential to the elders.

You as students can approach the parents of the child and persuade them not to send the child to undertake jobs. You can emphasize the importance of education and help the child go to school. If all of us do this definitely child labour will disappear.

Priya Keswani, 11 years, Salwan Public School.

17. In your opinion, do you think examination are essential for children?

Ans. Up to the age of 12 in the primary education period bringing out the creativity must be the focus. A system of examination has to be designed for achieving this.

Pragya Chaturvedi, Green Field Public School. 12 years

18. What should be done for peace in the world?

Righteousness at heart is the starting point for promotion of peace in the world.

Poorvita Roy, 14 years. Sarvodaya Kanya Vidyalaya, Delhi

19. India will be a developed nation by year 2020. What can be the students contribution in it?

Children should work hard and excel in their studies and should become enlightened citizens who can contribute to the growth and maintenance of our transformation with civilizational heritage.

Akul Bharadwaj, 11 years, Birla Vidyaniketan, Delhi

20. In which school did you get your primary education? Please tell us a memorable incident.

Rameswaram Panchayat School.


Divya Sharma, 13 years Jaipur

21. President Sir, there are many students in villages who have done wonderful work in the field of science. Can we provide progressive environment to these extra-ordinary students of rural areas.

Ans. We can definitely provide a progressive environment to these students through tele education and mobile laboratories and impart skill and knowledge.


Kriti Dhavala, Class VI, Ahmedabad.

22. Mr. Presidentji, what is it that children should start concentrating from now only so that we can become good citizens of India and blossom like you?

Good books must become your companion. Good teachers should become your role models.

Raju Lakhra, 13 years Blind School Delhi.

23. When the future of children having proper eye sight is in dark in the field of employment, then what would be the future of visually impaired children of the nation?

Ans. There are many opportunities for visually impaired children. I have seen many visually challenged children running BPOs. Yesterday, I met a visually impaired persons working as Reader and Head of the Department of English, Assistant Professor, Lawyer, Music Teacher and in Labour Bureau.




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