IN MEMORIES OF AN IMMORTAL SOULContributed by; Ms.Ananya Priyadarshini
Today is ‘World Students’ Day’. Way back in 2010, on the eve of 79th birth anniversary of India’s former President and the legendary scientist Late Dr. Abul Pakir Jainulabdin Abdul Kalam, UNO declared his birthday, 15th October as ‘World Students’ Day’, keeping in mind his contribution in the field of science and his affection for students. It is an honour to the great man and a topic of pride for every Indian.
Dedicating his birthday for the student mass of whole world is quite apt. He is famous as ‘People’s President’. The Missile Man’. He too, is well known as a policy-maker, a philosopher, an educationalist, an ideal leader, a widely appreciated writer and last but not the least, an excellent human being. And that, he was very good as a student, is another interesting aspect of his personality. The foundation of his strong character was laid in his student life only. His father was his first teacher, whose moral lessons sowed the seed of spirituality in his little mind. Though not very highly educated, he was a helpful fellow with deep faith in God. He had equal respect for every religion. “In his own time, in his own place, in what he really is, and in the stage he has reached- good or bad- every human being is a specific element within the whole of the manifest divine Being. So, why be afraid of difficulties, sufferings and problems? When troubles come try to understand the relevance of your sufferings. Adversities always presents opportunities for introspection.”- his father used to say. And these golden words of him used to strengthen him during the hard times of life.
While he was studying in Rameshwaram Elementary School, his science teacher was Mr. Shivasubramania Iyer. He belonged to an orthodox Hindu Brahmin family, his better half being very conservative. But he was strongly determined to break the irrelevant social barriers. He, despite of his wife’s strict opposition had once invited a Muslim boy like Kalam to his home for a meal. He himself had served him as well as ate with him inside his kitchen. Later his wife’s mind changed and she too, like her husband whole-heartedly supported Kalam’s entry into the kitchen. This epic step of his teacher was unforgettable in Kalam’s part and after this event he strongly practised secularism throughout his life.
During his schooling at Ramanathapuram, Dr. Kalam had built up strong bondage with his teacher Mr. Iyadurai Solomon. “To succeed in life and achieve result, you must understand and master three mighty forces- desire, belief and expectation.” And “With faith, you can change your destiny”-these worthy statements of him boosted his confidence up and compelled him to believe in his capabilities.
He came across three teachers, namely Prof. Sponder, Prof. KAV Pandalai and Prof. Narasingha Rao, who taught him the technical subjects of Aeronautical Engineering. They had played an important role in orienting efficiently the thinking of young Kalam. Even in his professional career at ISRO and DRDO his ‘Gurus’ had guided him throughout. Prof. Vikram Sarabhai, who had trusted his talent and had always encouraged him to keep moving ahead on the path of making new inventions. Dr. Brahma Prakash, who supported him after failure of SLV-3 and did not let him shatter anyway,.
Even after reaching the peak of success he never did deny the significance of role played by individual teacher in his life. In many of his lectures and books he has mentioned them and their valuable words. At every decisive turn of his journey from a general Tamil boy to a world famous personality, he had met a ‘Guru’ through whom Lord showed him the right path. Unhesitatingly he has accepted that the faith and blessings of his teachers is his ultimate source of inspiration.
In reality, he had remained a student all through his life. He was always eager to learn, no matter from whom. He did never letego to create a hindrance in the process of learning. In all his projects he had encouraged active participation of students from IIT, IISc, Jadavpur University etc. and had handed them over many important responsibilities. He had recruited several young scientists and engineers at ISRO and DRDO. Through his far sight he could visualise the immense talent and tremendous possibilities hidden in Indian youth, particularly the student mass. He used to free himself from his busy schedule and spend time with students of schools and colleges. He tried to arouse in them the interest for scientific research. He motivated them not to go abroad just for the sake of money, instead make new inventions and discoveries in their motherland. He wanted research to prosper in India. He always worked for the development of infrastructures in India that would lead to rise of number of efficient scientists. Who would take Indian scientific research work to a level where, no any developed nation would dare to underestimate its power. Who would achieve new heights and add new chapters of inventions to the glorious history of Indian science. He dreamt of a secured India, a strong India, a self-sufficient India. And had tried to communicate this dream to the eyes of ‘students’ at all level.
Unfortunately, the sad demise of this great man took place in the recent past. It was not merely the end of a life, but of an era. But death can only destroy the earthly body! Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam is a ‘thought’, which is still alive in numerous inquisitive minds. The epic of his hardwork, dedication and patriotism is an inexhaustive source of inspiration for all countrymen. Every book authored by him is a milestone. His dreams were limitless. A lifetime fell short to fulfil them. He departed leaving behind several unanswered questions, several unaccomplished goals, the responsibility of completing which he placed on the dependable shoulders of the student mass. A bright star in the sky of science set. Whether any other star with such glow would ever arise again, is a matter of time. But undoubtedly, the numerous tiny stars on the verge of emergence can drive the darkness away.