Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam: Former President of India
  Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam    
BackHome » Speeches

20-12-2003 : Thanjavur , Tamil Nadu

Women's Education & National Development

I am indeed delighted to participate in the inauguration of PURA (Providing Urban Amenities in Rural Areas) Scheme and interact with students of Periyar Maniammai College of Technology for Women which imparts professional education exclusive for women. My greetings to Dr.K Veeramani, President, Periyar Maniyammai College of Technology for Women, Correspondent, Principal, faculty members, and other distinguished participants and students of this Institute for empowering women through professional education and thereby raising their standards as equal partners in the society. I would like to share with you some thoughts on "Women's education and national development".

In our country women constitute 48% of the total population which almost half of the total population of the country. If this whole 48% contribute to the national development then the National Vision 2020 of transforming India to a developed nation can be easily achieved. Now-a-days women are entering in every field. They are becoming doctors, engineers, advocates, teachers, political leaders, administrators, police, professionals and they even have joined the Armed Forces also become pilots. Particularly enlightened women are very important for nation building since their thoughts, the way of working and value system will lead to faster development of a good family, good society and a good nation.

Women Education

I would like to emphasize that women education has to be given highest priority. When the women are empowered, society with stability will get assured. We have to ensure the continuity of secondary education and university education for girls. It is essential to establish connectivity between the university and secondary schools. Distant education packages has to be evolved to cater towards women education. Periodically, secondary level students should be counseled to continue their education both in diploma level and degree level. I am happy to note this college is giving due importance to these thoughts and promoting women to be full fledged engineers who will work for development of the nation particulary Tamil Nadu.


Emerging women

When I am in the midst of future women engineers and scientists with an urge to participate in the national movement, I am reminded of Mahakavi Subramaniya Bharatiar, who in 1910 composed the poem envisioning women of India:


Organisation empowerment

I would like to recall an incident of 1972 nearly 3 decades back. When Dr.Vikram Sarabhai the founder of ISRO passed away there was indeed a crisis. Prof.Kamala Choudhary a renowned management expert from IIM, Ahmedabad was given the task by Prof MGK Menon the then Chairman, ISRO to re-organize ISRO with the changed environment and the mission. She started her work by interviewing different cross section of scientists, technicians and staff and came out with a reorganization management plan for ISRO which was unique and stands even today. It had two important aspects - innovative thinking and people centric missions, taking into account the organization vision and people's dreams and aspirations. The result of such empowered organisation plan eletricified ISRO to achieve major milestones and has become a very successful organization with eminent leaders heading ISRO.


PURA model

As you are aware, our Prime Minister in his Independence Day announcement has declared a rural development programme called PURA - Providing Urban Amenities in Rural Areas. It involves identification of rural clusters with growth potential and creating four types of connectivities for them -

1. Physical Connectivity in the form of Road, transportation, and power connectivity

2. Electronic connectivity in the form of reliable telecom, Internet and IT services.

3. Knowledge connectivity in the form of good educational and training institutions, and

4. Economic connectivity that would enable farmers and others to get the best prices for their produce.

Majority of our population lives in villages. The development of the nation requires enhancement of economic connectivity of the villages. The Periyar Maniammai College of Technology for Women can take this as a theatre of action. Out of 6 lakhs villages in the country, about 50,000 PURA complexes would emerge. What is the type of farming to be chosen, area under cultivation, water management, production, food processing and marketing is a task of paramount effort. This college can consider the PURA model to be implemented in the Thanjavur district keeping the following variables in mind:

A. Number of villages per complex

B. Number of village-complexes for the state

C. Crop pattern for different complexes based on soil, weather, core competence, and water availability.

D. Cultivation methods

E. Food processing units

F. Marketing centres

The model should enable proper selection of clusters and deployment of our youth in different areas of agriculture, agro processing and the market to make this programme a reality

I am very happy to see the cluster of 65 villages and the development of the people particularly women to perform different tasks to make their earning and living as a self developed society. This remarkable rural development as visualized by the Periyar Maniyammai institutions is very close to the PURA concept. Added with electronic connectivity, mobile healthcare units and small scale industry this cluster of villages will make an institutional contribution to society.


Entrepreneurial leadership

When the student goes out of this campus after graduation, they should have the confidence to start an enterprise individually or jointly. Entrepreneurship development should become a part of the college education. The entrepreneurial leadership has three parts. First, problem finding and problem solving in the context of development. In second part, the entrepreneurs should have the willingness to take risk and be bold to do things differently. We must teach our graduates to take calculated risks for the sake of larger gain. The third part is the disposition to do things right. This capacity will enable them to take up tasks of establishing and running PURA in their regions.


Indomitable Spirit

A nation is great, because how its people thing big. Particularly the young population of India, definitely have to have a big aim, small aim is a crime. I wish you all to excel in your studies and become Doctors, Engineers, Scientists and above all the best human beings with traditional value system and societal care. The challenge in the mission of the developed India calls for an important, cohesive and focused efforts of the young. For success in any mission what we need is indomitable spirit. Let us study the characteristics of indomitable spirit. It has two components. The first component is that there must be a Vision leading to higher goals of achievement. I would like to recall a couplet from Thirukkural by the Poet Saint Thiruvalluvar written 2200 years ago.


It means that whatever may be the depth of the river or lake or pond, whatever may be the condition of the water, the lilly flower always comes out and blossoms. Similarly, if there is a definite determination to achieve a goal even if it is mountainous problems, he or she succeed.

The second component is: many of us have gone through large programmes and projects. We would have experienced that success is not in sight and there are many hurdles. The same poet reminds us at this point of time through another couplet:

It means successful leaders can never be defeated by problems. They become master of the situation and defeat the problems. I consider these two Thirukkurals characterize the indomitable spirit. I am sure you all the young who have assembled here will rise to the occasion and become leaders in multiple areas. Think and practice indomitable spirit to succeed.



In conclusion I would like to administer a ten point oath to you:



With these words I would like to inaugurate the PURA scheme and wish you all the best in all your missions.




Profile Books Poetry Songs Quotes