“If a country is to be corruption free and become a nation of beautiful minds, I strongly feel there are three key societal members who can make a difference. They are the father, the mother and the teacher”- Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam
WE all know Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam as a great scientist and visionary, but today I am going to touch upon his role as a teacher. It is in this role that he transformed many lives and became a role model of millions.
Years back when he visited Jamia Millia Islamia, he took questions from the students. The first question was, “Which role do you prefer – the president or the scientist?” He promptly replied, “A teacher.”
From very early in his life, he understood that the greatest impact on a person’s life is either from parents or from a teacher, and if a person gets the right teacher then no one can stop him or her in achieving success and contributing in country’s growth.
Whenever he use to visits the institutions, he emphasised on taking questions from students first and then adults or faculty members.
Another notable incident of his life which highlights his seriousness on being a teacher happened in 2002. He was in a classroom in Anna University, Chennai, when he got a call from the then Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, whom he knew in his capacity as the country’s Chief Scientific Advisor. “I was teaching so I couldn’t take the call,” he later told. When he did call the PM back, Vajpayee made his offer – Would he consider being the President of India?
Youth defines the future of any country. If youth are envisioned with humanity, success, humility, discipline, dedication, determination, fore-sightedness, equality, development, honesty and leadership, then they can contribute constructively in the growth of society in general and country at large. Kalam through his speeches and workshops always instilled these virtues among the audience and his words always left a mesmerising impact on the youth.
He was a person with a vision, a vision to empower the most valuable asset of any country – its youth. He dedicated his life to realise this vision .
His message to educationists was very simple, “Educationists should build the capacities of the spirit of inquiry, creativity, entrepreneurial and moral leadership among students and become their role model.”
It is not only difficult but impossible to sum up his vision or deeds in an article, it can never do justice to his cause. He touched upon almost all issues plaguing our country, and creating road blocks in its endeavour to become a prosperous and peaceful nation. His thoughts on gender equality, religious freedom, economic development, cultural growth, scientific evolution , youth transformation, rural progress and empowerment of the underprivileged, are guidelines for society and government to implement, in order to make India a better place to live in.
Dr Kalam was not an individual, he was an institution in himself. There was always so much for everyone, right from individuals to institutions to organisations and to governments. His demise has left a void which is never going to be filled in but he will keep inspiring every soul with the legacy he has left behind.
I hope this message from him will remain the motto of our lives forever-
“We will be remembered only if we give to our younger generation a prosperous and safe India, resulting out of economic prosperity coupled with civilisational heritage.”
—Zartab Haider Jafri works as a business head for Mimer Energy Limited, India.