Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam: Former President of India
  Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam    
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20-12-2003 : Tiruchirapalli, Tamil Nadu

Young and the Nation

I am indeed delighted to be here with you. I always enjoy the interactions with student community. When I am in the midst of the young, I thought of sharing some of my experiences. A few of my friends had launched a web site in my name. I normally exchange views particularly with the young within the country and abroad. I had put forth two points in the web site for the young to share their thoughts. The first point was, "India is a developing country for more than half a century. What you will do to make it Developed India?". The second one was, "When can I sing a song of India?". There is a connectivity. There were more than 100 responses. I thought of sharing with you four important suggestions that I received. One student from Meghalaya had responded, "I will become a teacher (rather a Professor of Engineering) since I am good in, as well as enjoy teaching. Since I believe that one of the best ways in which to serve any nation is to be either a Professor or a soldier among many other professions". What a noble thought. Another young girl from Kerala says, "single flower makes no garland. I will make my countrymen to love the nation and work for garland, that is developed India". A twenty year old boy from Goa had responded, "I would become an electron and like an electron in the orbit, I will work ceaselessly for my country now onwards. With reference to the second point which I had putforth, a young man from Atlanta says, "when India builds the capability to put sanction against any country, if needed, then I will sing a song of India". What the young man meant was: Economic strength brings prosperity accompanied with national strength. Like that there were many responses. The cross section of people of young age group have inspired mind to make the nation great. It is important to recognise that India has a population of 700 million young people below 35 years. This is a big force. How to ignite the young minds? Only launching the vision for the nation will bring the young force into action. When I see such a young gathering bubbling with happiness and action oriented spirit and above all young minds, I believe, it is time for India to enter into the second vision led by the young of this country.

Thumba to Geo-synchronous Orbit

Friends, have you heard about Thumba? It is in Kerala on the sea shore. This is the place from where Indian space program commenced. It is a big story how Thumba was selected for space program. Prof Vikram Sarabhai, a Cosmic Rays Scientist and Homi Bhabha a Nuclear Scientist were searching for a place from where they can launch sounding rockets for atmospheric research, ionospheric research and meteorological research. After seeing various places, they came to a conclusion that Thumba is the right place as it is very close to the Equator which will help the space research in equatorial zones. That's how NIKE CAGUN - a two staged rocket was launched in Nov 1963. That was a Indo-US cooperation Program. Within six years time, Prof Vikram Sarabhai unfurled the space mission for India that should build Satellite Launch Vehicle capability, to put communication satellite in the geo-synchronous orbit and remote sensing satellite in the polar orbit. Also, he envisaged that launch vehicles built in India should be launched from Indian soil. This one visionary thought led to intensive research in multiple fields of science and space technology. Today, India with her 20,000 scientific technological and support staff in multiple space research centres have the capability to build any type of satellite launch vehicles, any type of rockets and launch it from Indian soil. I had the fortune to be part of Prof Vikram Sarabhai's vision and my team and myself to participate in India's first satellite launch vehicle programme to put the satellite in the orbit.


Knowledge Society

India is going to enter into a knowledge society in a decades time. What type of knowledge society it is going to be? A knowledge society can be one of the foundations for realizing the vision for the nation: Developed India. Knowledge has always been the prime mover of prosperity and power. The acquisition of knowledge has therefore been the thrust area through out the world and sharing the experience of knowledge is a unique culture of our country. India is a nation endowed with natural and competitive advantages as also certain distinctive competencies. But these are scattered in isolated pockets and the awareness on these is inadequate.


Agenda for the young in Developed India Mission

Developed India is no more a vision. The Prime Minister, on Independence Day, has announced that we will become a Developed India by 2020. The largest beneficiary of this dream when realized will be you, the young. Hence it is important that you contribute in its initial stages of realization and shape it to the best of your abilities with in your academic and family confines. The biggest concern of the parents and the children in your age group is about the job prospects when you complete your education. Without worrying about minor variations in the subjects of your pursuit, your opportunities and future will be brighter if you excel in whatever subject you undertake to study. At the frontier there are no borders. The employment opportunities are many, when a person becomes very selective like Government jobs, then there is tremendous constraints comes. If you open up your thoughts for entrepreneurship, design, industry, direct participation in agriculture with innovative ideas, making IT products etc. Most important thing for future young generation is to make up its mind to contribute in all sectors. The tool can be knowledge and physical contribution. In student life inspite of various constraints you can uniquely contribute for national development.


Student Centric Literacy Movement

One of the important indicators of a developed nation is the literacy level. Educating a nation of a billion people is not a small task. It requires the participation of all the stake holders starting from the young. Many of you are fortunate enough to attend good schools for a quality education. But many of your brothers and sisters are not that fortunate, particularly those from the villages near you. A good sign of a developed nation is that it is built on societies wherein "people who have" to work hard to bridge the divide between them and "those who have not". One way of doing this is for your school to adopt a village near you. When we look at the national target of increasing the literacy level from 57% to 75% by 2010, you must set the target for the village you adopted to be in tune with the national mission. Each one of you could visit the villages on holidays and contribute to removal of illiteracy of at least two persons and light the quest for knowledge in them. Work with consortium of industries, philanthropists, NGOs and ensure that this task is sustainable and its impact can be measurable and quantified.

The educational institutions have to gear-up to evolve a curriculum that is sensitive to the social and technological needs of the Developed India. Student activities towards such missions could be seamlessly integrated with the existing curriculum so that the future members of the knowledge society are fully developed in all aspects of societal transformation.


Student Centric Eco-care Movement

The trees and vegetation around us are the best transformers of energy from the sun on a sustainable basis for our utilization. In the process they provide us the most efficient way of cleaning up our environment, shelter for all living species, a source of food and energy. They are often associated with serene environments that facilitate creative thoughts and actions. As you know, dreaming and dreams transforming into action are important constituents of developed India, friends what you can contribute. Without pain and tears, 200 million of you, if you plant five seedlings, you will add a billion trees, and mother India will give her smiles to you. On that day you will demonstrate to the world that what 200 millions children can do collectively and make us proud. The tree planting may be done in your house, school or in the village your school adopts. The school management or the NGOs should help this student centric eco-care movement on a sustainable basis. Few years from now every one us, must be a proud guardian of trees planted by the young. This dynamic movement will echo the children's concern for eco-friendly future.

A billion trees also require careful water management which is already becoming a scarce commodity in this country. While the efforts are being taken to make the mother earth greener, due to lack of proper planning rainwater gets wasted. By todays technology, it is possible to develop a small scale water harvesting stations. For example your school can think of developing a water harvesting station with 10 CFT per student with in your school complex or in the village adopted by your school. If you do that the inbuilt thoughts in you will bring a spirit to share the national resources. Rainwater harvesting will maintain water table level preventing environmental decay and making water available for agriculture and drinking.



1. I will pursue my education with dedication and I will excel in it.

2. I will teach at least 10 persons to read and write who at present cannot do so.

3. I will plant at least 10 saplings and shall ensure their growth through constant care.

4. I will visit rural and urban areas and permanently wean away at least 5 persons from addiction and gambling.

5. I will constantly endeavor to remove the pain of my suffering brethren.

6. I will not support any communal or language differentiation.

7. I will be honest and set an example for others to follow.

8. I will work for becoming an enlightened citizen.

9. I will always be a friend of the mentally and physically challenged and will work hard to make them feel normal, like the rest of us.

10. I will proudly celebrate the success of my country and my people.



We are self-sufficient in food production, we make our own communication satellites, and also we launch our own remote sensing satellites. When India became 'Nuclear Weapon State' and when India became a missile power, developed nations launched on us economic and technological sanctions in 1998 till date. We withstood and combated with our agricultural, technological, industrial might and above all the courage of our people. Keep this spirit and multiply with your dynamic momentum.

Think of the billion ignited Indian minds. This is the most powerful resource compared to any resource on the earth, above the earth and below the earth. Our sweat will transform developing India into a developed nation. That is the vision, INDIA MILLENNIUM MISSION 2020 - a developed India. Also, remember the Biblical verse "when God is with you who can be against"

Let us all have a dream, have a mission and work for living in a nation which is prosperous, beautiful and secure. We realize small aim is a crime. Let us sweat and work for transforming India into a developed India. Our ignited mind is the most powerful resource on the earth, above the earth, under the earth.

My best wishes to you.




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