The missile man might not be there anymore, but it is our duty to make his dreams exist. 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 may feel the huge void left behind by Mr Kalam that cannot be filled, but 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 youth should feel today that only hard work towards the ideal change that Mr Kalam sought for 2020 would be the satisfying tribute of all.
Around last year, I had the privilege to hear 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 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 boring title but at the same time struck the curiosity as to how he can awaken 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 them to realize it 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 where he collapsed after a massive heart attack and passed away. Initially, I believed it as another one of those hoaxes but later was shocked and refused to accept the news. Later, Jharkhand Education Minister’s bizarre ritual to Mr Kalam’s photo was reminded. Eventually, the horror engulfed about the absence of his existence. An existence that personally gave hope in the country amidst all the negativity that India posses. While watching the shocking news, one of channels aired their 2007 TV interview of APJ Abdul Kalam. I realized that Kalam knew that the significant change cannot be brought through Governments or politicians, it is the young generation with ‘Ignited Minds’ who can do it 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 a 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 be offended as what he wrote makes 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 is not my Vision 2020, Its a National Vision....many civilisations in the history collapsed without any vision." Nevertheless, it was he who spearheaded the vision during his tenure as a President and even before that which is evident in his lectures in the schools, colleges he visited 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.