This is the
text of one of Abdul Kalaam's recent speeches.
I have three visions for India.
In 3000 years of our history, people from all over the world have come and invaded us,
captured our lands, conquered our minds. From Alexander onwards. The Greeks, the Turks,
the Moguls, the Portuguese, the British, the French, the Dutch, all of them came and
looted us, took over what was ours. Yet we have not done this to any other nation. We have
not conquered anyone. We have not grabbed their land, their culture, their history and
tried to enforce our way of life on them. Why? Because we respect the freedom of
others. That is why my first vision is that of FREEDOM.
I believe that India got its
first vision of this in 1857,when we started the war of independence. It is this freedom
that we must protect and nurture and built on. If we are not free, no one will respect us.
My second vision for India is DEVELOPMENT.
For fifty years we have been a developing nation. It is time we see ourselves as a
developed nation. We are among top 5 nations of the world in terms of GDP. We have 10
percent growth rate in most areas. Our poverty levels are falling. Our achievements are
being globally recognized today. Yet we lack the self-confidence to see ourselves as a
developed nation, self reliant and self assured. Isn't this right?
I have a THIRD. The India must stand up to the world.Because I believe that unless
India stands up to the world, no one will respect us. Only strength respects strength We
must be strong not only as a military power but also as an economic power. Both must go
hand-in-hand. My good fortune was to have worked with three great minds. Dr. Vikram
Sarabhai of the Dept. of space, Professor Satish Dhawan, who succeeded him, and Dr. Brahm
Prakash, father of nuclear material. I was lucky to have worked with all three of them
closely and consider this the great opportunity of my life. I see four milestones in my
ONE:Twenty years I spent in ISRO. I was given the opportunity to be the project director
for India's first satellite launch vehicle, SLV3. The one that launched Rohini. These
years played a very important role in my life of Scientist.
TWO: After my ISRO years, i joined DRDO and got a chance to be the part of India's guided
missile program. It was my second bliss when Agni met its mission requirements in 1994.
THREE: The Dept. of Atomic Energy and DRDO had this tremendou partnership in the recent
nuclear tests, on May 11 and 13. This was the third bliss. The joy of participating with
my team in these nuclear tests and proving to the world that India can make it, that we
are no longer a developing nation but one of them. It made me feel very proud as an
Indian. The fact that we have now developed for Agni a re-entry structure, for which we
have developed this new material. A Very light material called carbon-carbon.
FOUR: One day an orthopaedic surgeon from Nizam Institute of Medical Sciences visited my
laboratory. He lifted the material and found it so light that he took me to his hospital
and showed me his patients. There were these little girls and boys with heavy metallic
calipers weighing over three Kgs. each, dragging their feet around. He said to me: Please
remove the pain of my patients. In three weeks, we made these Floor reaction Orthosis 300
gram calipers and took themto the orthopaedic center. The children didn't believe their
eyes.From dragging around a three kg. load on their legs, they could now move around!
Their parents had tears in their eyes.That was my fourth bliss! Why is the media here so
negative? 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.
We are the second largest producers in rice. We are the first in milk production. We are
number one in Remote sensing satellites. Look at Dr. Sudarshan, he has transferred the
tribal village into a self-sustaining, self driving unit.There are millions of such
achievements but our media is only obsessed with the bad news and failures and disasters.
I was in Tel Aviv once and I was reading the Israeli newspaper. It was the day after a lot
of attacks and bombardments and deaths had taken place. The Hamas had struck. But the
front page of the newspaper had the picture of a Jewish gentleman who in five years had
transformed his desert land into orchid and a granary. It was this inspiring picture that
everyone woke up to. The gory details of killings,bombardments, deaths,were inside in the
newspaper, buried among other news.India we only read about death, sickness,terrorism,
Why are we so NEGATIVE?
Another question: Why are we, as a nation so obsessed with foreign things? we want
foreign TVs, we want foreign shirts. We want foreign technology.Why this obsession with
everything imported Do we not realize that self-respect comes with self-reliance? I was in
Hyderabad giving this lecture, when a 14 year old girl asked me for my autograph. I asked
her what her goal in life is: She replied: I want to live in a developed India. For her,
you and I will have to built this developed India. You must proclaim. As an aside from
yours truly: India is not an under-developed nation; it is a highly developed nation in an
advanced state of decay!!!!!