Former President Abdul Kalam has been a quintessential teacher in every aspect and was ever ready to answer any question, particularly from children. Here are some of his thought-provoking answers:
Which is the greatest obstacle for India to become a developed nation?
Our defeatist tendency is the greatest obstacle in our march towards becoming a developed nation. We will overcome all the obstacles through our youth power. We can definitely ignite the minds of our youth. Once it is ignited, they will transform India into a developed nation.
Who is the first scientist in the world?
Science was born and survives only by questions. The whole foundation of science is questioning. And as parents and teachers well know, children are the source of unending questions. Hence, the child is the first scientist.
What is your outlook on superstitions and religious beliefs?
As education spreads and prosperity increases, people will appreciate the importance of having scientific thinking. As a result, superstitions will slowly become less. Religious beliefs in the form of spiritualism are not bad.
We have so many meetings in all fields. Why are we not having anti-corruption meeting. Is it the only issue that prevents India’s development?
No law or conferences can end corruption. Righteousness and enlightened citizenship can end this problem. Our children have the weapon of love, to convince those in their families who are corrupt to change their ways.
Why are we making missiles, which have more harm than benefits?
With our neighbourhood having nuclear weapons, we cannot sit in Tapas.
Do we really need to view everything from a scientific side for proper understanding?
Yes. Science is the only way man can progress fast.
Some say science is leading to destruction.
Science is innocent. It is mankind which can make good or bad use of science. Nuclear science can be used for irradiation of seeds in agriculture. This same science can be used to build nuclear weapons which are destructive.
What are you more happy to be — a scientist or the President of India?
Every now and then we are told that India will be ahead of USA by 2045. Do you think in this span of time there will be no further development in USA?
India will be one of the top three economies of the world by around 2045 based on size. The USA will continue to be the largest economy based on size even then. The USA will not stop developing its economy but India’s speed of economic development is expected to be faster and thus it will reach the third position based on the size of its economy.
Nowadays school admissions are so difficult. It starts from nursery admission. How should children get educated?
The child’s education from the age of 5 to 12 should be based on creativity. After 12 years of age our system is good, the need is to make drastic changes in the education imparted from standards I to VI.
If God appears before you, what will your request to him be?
I will pray to the almighty God to bless my nation with hardworking and knowledgeable people and thereby make the nation an economically developed nation.