By S A H Rizvi
Bureau Chief
The Times Kuwait

Stating that President A P J Abdul Kalam refused several lucrative offers to work abroad, President Ram Nath Kovind said the former president A P J Abdul Kalam was committed to spark a new scientific temper in the country and to make it powerful and strong.

Addressing the fourth A P J Abdul Kalam Memorial Lecture instituted by the India Islamic Cultural Centre (IICC) at the Rashtrapati Bhavan auditorium , President Kovind said creating interest for science among the common people was one of his mission”

The President said that Kalam used to say that there are three special things in any powerful country.

“The first thing is to take pride in what the country has achieved. The second thing is to maintain brotherhood. And the third thing is the capability to work together,” Kovind told a distinguished gathering at Rashtrapati Bhavan.

“He also used to say that every country that has moved forward has a sense of mission. Therefore, whatever work is to be done, there should be a passion to complete it like a mission. He wanted all of us to keep moving forward unitedly to strengthen the fabric of our country,” he said.

In this direction President exhorted IICC to organise events, as part of Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav, to increase awareness about Kalam and about those scientists whom Kalam described as ‘five mighty souls’ – Vikram Sarabhai, Satish Dhawan, Brahm Prakash, M G K Menon and Raja Ramanna – among new generation.

Among the books written by him is a small book called, “Building a New India” in which there is one chapter ‘Learning from Saints and Seers’, he said.

“In that chapter, Dr Kalam has mentioned his meetings with saints and dervishes and presented their views with respect. Dr Kalam gave equal importance to science and philosophy and development and ethics,” the President said.

Kovind said that two things are inextricably linked with Kalam – his goodness and his fame.

“Every Indian is proud of that great son of the country, who had an undying love for his country,” the President added.

Kovind said that every Indian, especially the youth, should read Kalam’s autobiography “Wings of Fire”. He also said that youths should adopt the invaluable teachings of Kalam in their lives.

“The simplicity of life and the height of thought have been Dr Kalam’s hallmarks,” the President said.

Kovind recalled the former president’s remark that when music composer A R Rahman sings Vande Mataram, every countryman connects to him.

Kovind said like Kalam, he also has full faith in the hard work and competence of the country’s youth to build India’s future. “He (Kalam) used to especially meet school children. He was sure that future generations will form the golden future of the country. I am also sure of competence and hard work of our youths. I also believe that girls will have an important role in country’s development,” he said.

The President said being visitor to many universities he himself has observed that girls perform better than boys in higher education institutes.

Kovind appreciated the India Islamic Cultural Centre (IICC) for taking the ideals of Kalam to the people through the memorial lectures.

He was happy to note that IICC has been working continuously for the cause of national unity as per its mandate. Kovind said that by working for national integration, the IICC is strengthening the legacy of a nation-builder like Kalam.

Former Press Secretary to Dr Kalam, S M Khan said there exists a similarity between President Kovind and Kalam as both came from a very humble ground and struggled their way to the top. “They are the lamp post for the future generation”

The President was escorted to the podium by IICC President Sirajuddin Qureshi.

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