21st CONVOCATION ADDRESS BY DR. A.P.J. ABDUL KALAM, PRESIDENT OF INDIA AT THE SRI SATHYA SAI INSTITUTE OF HIGHER LEARNING
22-11-2002 : PRASANTHI NILAYAM, ANDHRA PRADESH
I am indeed delighted to participate in the 21st Convocation of Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning. I take this opportunity to congratulate the young graduates for their achievement. I greet the Vice Chancellor, Professors, teachers and staff for the excellent contribution in shaping young minds to contribute to the nation in multiple fields. It is a great honour for me that the Chancellor, Swamiji for giving me this opportunity to share my thoughts at this Convocation. Is value based education possible? Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning has given an answer in the affirmative. Our ultimate goal is : all human beings should be prosperous and should have all forms of security like food security, social security and future security of their children. How to achieve them? How can a nation be secured from external and internal problems? National security and economic prosperity are interconnected.
Sathyam, Dharma, Santhi and Prema are the eternal human values. Efforts and endeavour are man's duty. Success or failure is God's domain. I can see in this campus, high calibre graduates bubbling with creativity. There is virtual presence of divine blessings all around. I could sense intervention to alleviate the people's pain, difficulties and problems. The integrated effect of this place is how a Guru can integrate both spiritual and material wealth.
Divine Message from Prasanthi Nilayam
When I was thinking what thoughts I can share with you, young graduates, a beautiful divine message was ringing in me: Where there is righteousness in the heart There is a beauty in the character. When there is beauty in the character, there is harmony in the home. When there is harmony in the home. There is order in the nation. When there is order in the nation, There is peace in the world.
Who can give a beautiful connectivity like this between heart, character, nation and the world? This is a divine statement. This can come from only a divine personality who has been transformed from religion to spiritualism by Thapas. The purpose of real education is to initiate a learning process that transforms children into good human beings with knowledge and value system. My dear young friends, you are really blessed with this divine environment, where the song I referred is sung by Bhagavan Swamy Sathya Saibaba.
Tawang Message of Peace.
I would like to share with you an important message, which I experienced very recently, when I was visiting Arunachal Pradesh a few weeks ago. I happened to spend a day in a Tawang Monastery, which has a 400 year old history, located at an altitude of 3000 meters - a beautiful spiritual environment. There, I met a gathering of monks, students, teachers and political leaders. Just like you, I saw bright young faces with an urge to learn with creativity. A unique message was echoing in the Monastery. It looked to me that the message was part and parcel of the students and teachers community. What is that message? I was asking myself. Who can enlighten and explain the message? I sought the help of the chief of the monks at the Tawang Monastery. I asked, 'Your Holiness, can you explain the message with your vast experience in this Monastery, the most important part of learning - particularly in the present environment of our country". The respected Buddhist Monk told me, "India is a nation of peace. India lives as a spiritual and peaceful nation. Peace should engulf our nation. The Abbot told me further: when you remove "I" and "ME" from your mind, you will eliminate ego; if you eliminate ego, hatred towards fellow human beings would vanish; if hatred goes out of our mind, violence will not spring from the human mind and then peace and peace and peace will blossom. I bless my nation". This divine message was born in Tawang Monastery. I recall this incident when I see devotees here doing social work ceaselessly with the blessings of Bhagavan Sathya Saibaba. If this divine spirit spreads to every citizen and makes each one to think that the nation is bigger than the individual and guide them to work for the national development, then I am sure the India will become a developed nation.
In the past few years, I have been trying to see how India can be transformed into a Developed Nation. What are the components needed for a Developed India? How to Transform India in a time bound way? The topic I would like to discuss with you today is: "Prosperous, Secure and Peaceful India"
Thinking is Progress
Friends, we should note that the human mind is a unique gift. You can try to fathom the marvels of the universe. You can enter into it only if you have curiosity and thinking. I suggest to all of you, thinking should become your capital asset, no matter whatever ups and downs you come across in your life. Thinking is progress. Non-thinking is destruction to the individual, organization and the country. Thinking leads to action. Knowledge without action is useless and irrelevant. Knowledge with action brings prosperity
I would like you, dear youth, to have a mind to explore every aspect of human life. Look at the sky. We are not alone. The whole universe is friendly to us and conspires to give the best to those who dream. Like Chandrasekhar Subramaniam discovered the black hole. Today, using Chandrasekhar's limit we can calculate how long the sun will shine. Like, Sir CV Raman looked at the sea and questioned why the sea should be blue leading to the birth of the Raman Effect. Like, Albert Einstein, armed with the complexity of the universe, asked the questions about nature of the universe. The famous equation E=mc2 arrived. When E=mc2 is in the hands of noble souls we got electricity using nuclear materials. When the same equation was in the hands of extreme political thinkers, destruction of Hiroshima took place.
It was 11th May in 1998, when Indian scientists witnessed a great event for the nation. The nuclear explosions one after another - five explosions took place. I was standing on the planet earth on a hot sandy hill. The earth shook as though Atlas shrugged. I felt India could create the energy of any magnitude but also I remembered the importance of technology in the hands of good human beings. Fortunately the central theme of our nuclear doctrine has become "no first use". It was born out of the civilisational heritage of the nation. Now I am standing here in this divine campus, which is a fountain of our heritage.
Imagine the condition of the land and people in this area 40 to 50 years ago. There was no drinking water supply system. There was no educational institution. There was no healthcare center. Today, the people here have got all basic amenities. How has this transformation happened? It is all because of the vision and blessings of Sri Sathya Saibaba. Millions of people walk in this universe. But during the last millennium one noble soul walked and walked on Indian soil giving application to ahimsa dharma leading to Indian independence. My dear friends, wouldn't you like to become a noble minded like Mahatma Gandhi or a great intellectual like Sir CV Raman or Einstein, or Chandrasekhar Subramaniam. Look at the marvels of your universe. You become a great thinker and action will follow.
Knowledge, sweat and perseverance
Wherever I go, I meet school children. Till now, I have met more than 100000 students. I was in Jharkhand last year. Recently, I was in Tuensang, a remote village in Nagaland. I talked to the student community. I was in Tawang, in a 400 year old monastery situated in the high altitude of over 10,000 ft in Arunachal Pradesh. I was in Manipur valley, I was in Gujarat. Everywhere, one common voice echoed from the young. Mr. Kalam, can you tell us, in this complex world how to achieve a prosperous India, peaceful India, a secured India? What can be my answer? I was thinking and thinking. I have lived in this planet for 71 years. Did I learn out of my difficult times, some thing to share with you, the young boys and girls across the country? From 1982 to 1992 was a very important period for me to design, develop, build and operate certain missile systems for our country. What type of world was there around me at that time? All developed countries had condemned India in the name of MTCR, their first weapon. The other weapon used by them was NPT (Non nuclear Proliferation Treaty). With these two weapons of technological denials could Indian minds succeed in their mission? I will share with you an experience, which I had during development of Prithvi and Agni missile systems. In the missile system, for guidance and control, we use two gyro sensors in every flight system. For a given accuracy for a missile payload system, it was essential to have an accuracy of .20 drifts per hour. One of our industries at that time was producing 10 per hour gyros. There was a denial of high accuracy gyros from developed countries. A task team was formed between a University and one of our labs to find a technical solution. About twelve software and hardware engineers after working for eight months came out with a solution of fast algorithm to be loaded on the on-board computer of the missile system and for real time error compensation. This would predict the error in the flight trajectory ahead and compensate for the error in the gyro performance to make it provide very high accuracy than the one, which was denied. I am giving this example to show how software solutions, knowledge and enthusiasm can work with hardware constraints. We have to work for high-end software, which will bring more value addition. Also, VLSI foundries should be continuously upgraded to the sub micron level. To keep these foundries going, one of the major requirements is high purity VLSI grade silicon material. The country should have this facility and the investment should take place in this critical area. These are but a few examples. There should be many hundreds of such actions with perseverance and tenacity to make the country secure and prosperous.
The Vision for the nation
After 50 years of progress, aspirations are mounting that India should become a developed country. This is the second vision for the nation. How we can prepare ourselves for this challenge?
To become a developed India, the essential needs are (a) India has to be economically and commercially powerful, at least to be one of the four top nations in terms of size of the economy. Our target should be a GDP growth of 9 percent annually and that the people below the poverty line to be reduced to near zero. (b) near self-reliance in defence and needs of weapon, equipment with no umbilical attached to the outside world. (c) India should have a right place in world forums. Technology Vision 2020 is a pathway to realise this cherished mission.
We have identified five areas where India has a core competence for an integrated action. (1) Agriculture and food processing - we have to place a target of 360 million tons of food and agricultural production. Other areas of agriculture and agro food processing would bring prosperity to rural people and speed up economic growth. (2) Reliable and quality electric power for all parts of the country. (3) Education and Healthcare - we have seen, based on experience, education and healthcare are inter related. (4) Information Communication Technology - This is one of our core competence. We believe, this area can be used to promote education in remote areas and also to create national wealth. (5) Strategic sectors - This area, fortunately, witnessed growth in nuclear technology, space technology and defence technology. Other areas like Advanced Sensors and Materials would need a push. The nation has a plan towards 70 percent near self-reliance in a decade in defence equipment.
These five areas are closely inter-related and would lead to national, food, and economic security. A strong partnership among the R&D, academy, Industry and the community as a whole with Government departments will be essential to accomplish the vision.
Vision for independence movement also created leaders
What can vision do? Vision generates great leaders in every field. We have witnessed during India's first vision for the nation that is the Independence movement. Jamsedji Nusserwanji Tata brought the steel industry to India even though the British rulers were not favourably disposed to the idea. Acharya PC Ray brought up chemical and pharmaceutical industry. Likewise, in the pre-independence period we saw the birth of many great institutes like the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore started by JN Tata, Benares Hindu University by Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya, and Aligarh Muslim University by Sir Syed Ahmed Khan. There were also some Indian Maharajas who started and nurtured universities like the one in Baroda. There are many examples in both the industrial and educational fields. In all these cases the basic motivations have been to show the urge to build the Nation and demonstrate to the world that "India can do it".
So far we have briefly seen how in the pre-independence period new scientific thoughts and innovations, industrial and educational system had emerged with inner conflict and emotions to establish a competitive scientific educational and industrial system in India. We have seen scientists cluster during a period. I am elated to note that a music trinity of great saints, Thyagaraja Swamigal, Muthuswamy Deekshidar and Shyama Sastrigal, emerged at the same time in the South within a 50 km radius. What we note is that, the movement for independence generated the best of leaders in arts, science, technology, economics, history and literature. As the Vision for independence movement created so many leaders, I am sure Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, with its value based education under this divine environment, will generate great leaders who will excel in various fields and actively participate in the mission to transform India into a developed nation.
Role Model for the young.
I am in a place where University learning takes place in a divine environment. Here students get education with a value system. I would like to congratulate Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning for this noble education. Similarly we have a few more institutions imparting quality education with a value system. But we have to go miles and miles, as we have to educate nearly 300 million young minds. A time bound program to accomplish this value-based education throughout the country has to be in place, since education is not merely imparting of information and skills.
When I am with you, I would like to recall an event that happened on 12th August 2002. At Sabarmati Ashram, after offering my prayers in the Ashram, I was addressing about 300 high school children. I was putting forth the second vision of the nation and the role of the young. During the discussion, there were many questions from the students. A 10th standard student asked a question: Who can be our role model? I encouraged a discussion among the children to find the right answer. Many students replied father, mother, teacher, scientist etc. In this way there will many role models for inspiration. The Prasanthi Nilayam Campus has a divine mission of providing education with value, healthcare and rural development in an integrated way.
When the child is empowered by the parents, at various phases of growth, the child gets transformed into a responsible citizen. When the teacher is empowered with knowledge and experience, good young human beings with value systems take shape. When the individual or a team is empowered with technology, transformation to higher potential for achievement is assured. When the leader of any institution empowers his or her people, leaders are born who can change the nation in multiple areas. When women are empowered, society with stability gets assured. When the political leaders of the nation empower the people through visionary policies, prosperity of the nation is certain. When religion transforms into a spiritual force people become enlightened citizens with a value system.
I am sure; the graduates here have been empowered by their teachers with knowledge and by this divine environment with a good value system. When knowledge blended with a value system empowers a person, he can achieve greater heights in his life. My greetings to all of you.