World Students’ Day, Celebrate Kalam’s Vision
The former Indian President that was not only famous for his contribution to the country but also his affection for the youth of the country, Dr APJ Abdul Kalam revolutionised the image of India on various platforms globally. Being a teacher to thousands during his lifetime, Kalam’s birthday is celebrated all across the world as the World Students’ Day. On the 79th Birthday of Dr Kalam, the United Nations declared the date October 15 as the “World Students’ Day” as the man always expressed his feelings to be remembered as a teacher by the people.
The visionary leader’s life is a journey full of inspiring and motivating moments for students, belonging to a poor and Muslim background (as his family lost their fortune and properties over time), Kalam overcame his struggles and continued his hustle even after becoming the President of India, the biggest democracy in the world.
A keen learner: Kalam as a Student
Born in British India in Rameshwaram, Madras Presidency, APJ Abdul Kalam was a student who scored average marks but was always keen to learn. With a special interest in mathematics, he would dedicate hours to the subject. He graduated in Physics in 1954 from the University of Madras and moved to Madras in 1955 to study aerospace engineering in Madras Institute of technology.
As a student, he learned the difficult lessons of life in his college days. In an incident when the Dean dissatisfied by Kalam’s performance said that he would revoke his scholarship if he is not able to meet the deadline of 3 days to complete his senior class project. Kalam met the deadline to which his dean responded being quite impressed “I was putting you under stress and asking you to meet a difficult deadline.”
Being a scientist, he served in various organizations including the Aeronautical Development Establishment of the Defence Research and Development Organisation after becoming a part of the DRDS (Defence Research and Development Services). He worked under the renowned space scientist being a part of the INCOSPAR committee. He was transferred to ISRO where he was the project director of India’s first Satellite Launch Vehicle (SLV-III) which successfully deployed the Rohini satellite in near-earth orbit in July 1980.
He dedicated his life to the country by helping the Indian aerospace and developed various missiles under missions like Agni and Prithvi. He served as Chief Scientific Adviser to the Prime Minister and Secretary of the Defence Research and Development Organisation from July 1992 to December 1999. The Pokhran-II nuclear tests were conducted during this period in which he played an intensive political and technological role. Media coverage of Kalam during this period made him the country’s best known nuclear scientist.
Being President of the Country
He continued his journey to becoming the 11th President of India succeeding K.R. Narayanan. He shared a close and harmonious relationship with the students from varied cultures and societies beyond the demographic lines as he has lived the life of being a poor student with struggles. A person who sold newspapers door to door to finance his education ensured that throughout his life and after he is gone, students do not have to struggle for the fundamental right to be educated.
Kalam’s Vision of a Better India with Youth
The man was keen to teach the students so much so that he left his job as a Principal Scientific Advisor to the Government of India, a cabinet-level post to become a teacher. He ensured to inspire many, with his scientific, academic as well as spiritual guidance to students with numerous speeches addressing the children.
He received 22 awards during his career including Padma Bhusan in 1981, Padma Vibhushan in 1990 and Bharat Ratna in 1997. World Students’ Day is a day that celebrates the man who always believed that youth will contribute to India’s growth if they are well nurtured and educated.
This will be the 9th World Students’ Day that will be celebrated by various organizations, schools and institutions to remember a people’s president, an inspirational personality who also was a teacher, scientist, author, professor and policy-maker. Despite no official theme for the World Students’ Day, the theme seems to be providing support to the students around the world to ensure a better world as Dr Kalam professed.