President Ram Nath Kovind on Tuesday said former president A P J Abdul Kalam was an ideal representation of Indo-Islamic culture and three traits of a powerful nation to him included maintaining brotherhood and the capability to work together. Addressing the fourth A P J Abdul Kalam Memorial Lecture at the Rashtrapati Bhavan auditorium here, he said that “every Indian is proud of that great son of the country”.
The President said that Kalam used to say that there are three special things in any powerful country. “The first thing is to take pride in what the country has achieved. The second thing is to maintain brotherhood. And the third thing is the capability to work together,” Kovind was quoted as saying in a statement issued by the Rashtrapati Bhavan. Kalam wanted people to remember the stories of the great people of India and learn from them, Kovind said. “He also used to say that every country that has moved forward has a sense of mission. Therefore, whatever work is to be done, there should be a passion to complete it like a mission. He wanted all of us to keep moving forward unitedly to strengthen the fabric of our country,” he said.
Kovind said that as much as Kalam used to lay emphasis on science, he used to give equal importance to spirituality. Creating interest for science among the common people was one of his missions, he said. “He carried forward this mission through an organisation. But it is also worth noting that he used to meet saints and mystics of all religions and tried to learn something from them,” Kovind said. Among the books written by him is a small book called, “Building a New India” in which there is one chapter ‘Learning from Saints and Seers’, he said. “In that chapter, Dr Kalam has mentioned his meetings with saints and dervishes and presented their views with respect. Dr Kalam gave equal importance to science and philosophy and development and ethics,” the President said.
Kovind said that two things are inextricably linked with Kalam – his goodness and his fame. “Every Indian is proud of that great son of the country, who had an undying love for his country,” the President added. Kovind said that every Indian, especially the youth, should read Kalam’s autobiography “Wings of Fire”. He also said that youths should adopt the invaluable teachings of Kalam in their lives. “Respecting his teachers and maintaining affection for his family members is evident in Dr Kalam’s story time and again. Everyone who worked with him felt an affinity with him. The simplicity of life and the height of thought have been Dr Kalam’s hallmarks,” the President said.
Kovind recalled the former president’s remark that when music composer A R Rahman sings Vande Mataram, every countrymen connects to him. Kalam used to play ‘veena’ and read Quran and Geeta daily, liked Vidur from the Mahabharata for his ability to raise voice against injustice, the President said citing from a book by Kalam’s former press secretary S M Khan. Kovind said like Kalam, he also has full faith in the hard work and competence of the country’s youth to build India’s future. “He (Kalam) used to specially meet school children. He was sure that future generations will form the golden future of the country. I am also sure of competence and hard work of our youths. I also believe that girls will have an important role in country’s development,” he said.
The President said being visitor to many universities he has observed that girls perform better than boys in higher education institutes. He also said that stories of scientists should be part of stories of nation builders. Kovind appreciated the India Islamic Cultural Centre (IICC) for taking the ideals of Kalam to the people through the memorial lectures, the statement said. He was happy to note that IICC has been working continuously for the cause of national unity as per its mandate. Kovind said that by working for national integration, the IICC is strengthening the legacy of a nation-builder like Kalam. He urged IICC to organise events, as part of Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav, to increase awareness about Kalam and about those scientists whom Kalam described as ‘five mighty souls’ – Vikram Sarabhai, Satish Dhawan, Brahm Prakash, M G K Menon and Raja Ramanna – among new generation.