Even In Death, Kalam Relied His Last Hopes on Students for Vision 2020
The missile man might not be there anymore, but it is our duty to make his dreams live on. As a writer, his books be it ‘Wings of Fire’, ‘Ignited Minds’, or ‘India 2020’, all of them were dedicated to motivate India’s young minds. Everyone might feel that Mr Kalam has left a huge void that cannot be filled, but hypothetically Mr Kalam would want most of the young generation to fill that void. Across the nation and world, people are pouring their respects and tributes. Every young person should feel today that only hard work towards the ideal change Mr Kalam sought for 2020 would be the satisfying tribute of all.
Around last year, I had the privilege to witness his lecture at SRM University in Kattankulathur. Amongst many of the grumbling and uninterested students who had to stay back after class for his speech, I was marveled by his intellect and his capacity to read what we were thinking. He first announced that ‘I will be speaking for 30 to 40 minutes’ and then went ahead with his address.
His speech was on ‘Knowledge’ and at first it seemed as a rather boring title at the same time it struck the curiosity as to how can he wake up the already snoring students with such a topic. Surprisingly, he started asking the entire 27,000 students to repeat after him about the definition of knowledge and even made the medical students pledge to provide free service to the unaffordable. He didn’t want the students to learn his lectures, he wanted his students to realize them and made his sincere effort in doing so.
Mr Kalam’s contribution to Vision 2020
Mr Kalam was lecturing students of IIM Shillong on ‘Livable Planet Earth’ and around 6.30 PM he collapsed after a massive heart attack and passed away by the time he reached the hospital. Initially, I believed it as another one of those hoaxes but later was shocked and refused to accept. Later, Jharkhand Education Minister’s bizarre ritual to Mr Kalam’s photo was reminded. Eventually, the horror engulfed about his absence of his existence which gave hope to the country amidst all the negativity of India that one can imagine.
As I was watching the news in shock, one of news channels aired their 2007 TV interview of APJ Abdul Kalam. It was then I realized that Kalam knew that the significant change cannot be brought through Governments or politicians, it is the young generation with ‘Ignited Minds’ can bring upon change by growing up to be the ‘noble citizens of the country’.
He was a man who believed in ideas and the struggle to implement those ideas through the means of young generation. One can notice Mr Kalam’s anger in his book, ‘India 2020’ where he wanted the people to change and cited how the citizens of developed countries were conscious for that change.
From cleanliness to corruption, he attacked the people of the country where neither politician nor media dares to target. “Why are we in India so embarrassed to recognize our own strengths, our achievements? We are such a great nation. We have so many amazing success stories but we refuse to acknowledge them. Why? We are the second largest producer of wheat in the world,” one of the quotes shouts from the book. However, those who have read that book can never get offended as what he wrote can only make us realise our realities and share that anger.
Mr Kalam started speaking about vision 2020 since 1997 and later published the book at 1998. He said that it was “My Vision 2020, Its a National Vision….many civilisations in the history collapsed without any vision.” However, he spearheaded the vision during his tenure as a President and visiting schools, colleges to provide motivation and wisdom. His strategy was to guide the generation from the grassroots so that they will bear the fruits by the year 2020. He may have left the world but his legacy and his mission will live on and it is the duty of every Indian citizen to make it happen.