dream, dream. Dream transforms into thoughts. Thoughts result in
actions'-Vision of the newly appointed Indian President APJ Abdul Kalam
which he shares with his countrymen in 'Ignited Minds'.
It seems that the Indian today lacks
patriotism. They are not bothered about who wins the elections and what
happens to the political stage in India. But why is that so? History
tells us that the freedom fighters of the country knew how to transform
their dreams into reality. The nation was always bigger than themselves.
But today, the youth is shying away from politics, as they are unsure
of the future of India. They only want to secure their own future and
consciously shirk social responsibilities. But why are we in such a
sorry state? Kalam writes, "What is it that we are missing? What is it
that needs to be corrected? There seems to be an attitude problem, as if
we cannot shake ourselves out of a mindset of limited achievement".
Kalam's statement ring a bell somewhere? It's high time that we as
Indians shed our inhibitions and learn to think outside the box. This
book takes a look at the deep-rooted sentiments, long-cherished
ambitions as well as scary prejudices and unknown worries of the Indian
youth. The youth of the nation is not afraid to dream only hesitant to
take that all-important first step that can build a developed India.
In Ignited Minds, the missile-man
also discusses memorable and inspiring experiences that he had while
visiting different parts of the country as National Adviser to the
government of India. On his visit to Tezpur in Assam for instance, Kalam
was appalled as children questioned him intelligently yet innocently
about what the future holds in store for India. Addressing parents and
teachers, Kalam states that the proper grooming of a child is the only
way to ensure that we have national leaders with integrity of character
who will make us proud of the India of tomorrow.
To pep up the spirits of millions
of Indians, the author gives examples of eminent personalities who made
a humble beginning and then went on to do the country proud in their
inimitable ways. Some cases in point are Srinivasa Ramanujan (The great
mathematician who died at the premature age of 30), Prof. S
Chandrasekhar (a Nobel winner for his work on black holes), Nobel
laureate C.V Raman, the great educationist Ashutosh Mukherjee and
scientists of international repute like Dr Homi Bhabha, Dr D.S Kothari
and Dr Vikram Sarabhai. The leadership traits displayed by these
luminous personalities never ceased to amaze the author. But why is
there a dearth of Ramanujans and Bhabhas today? Kalam emphasises on the
fact that today India needs visionaries of the stature of JRD Tata,
Satish Dhawan and Dr.Verghese Kurien, who can devise mission-driven programs and involve the new generation in the same.
As religious extremism is tearing
the country into pieces, the President gives a small example of his
secular outlook when he says that, " For great men, religion is a way of
making friends; small people make religion a fighting tool." On his
visit to Kanchi in 2001, Kalam had visited a mosque where he asked
students to recite the Alhamthu i.e. the sura that embodies the Quran.
And he was surprised to see Vedic hymns and recitations from the Quran
proceeding side by side. Incredible! To quote him, "Therein lies the
greatness of India. Can Kanchi's integrated approach towards learning
become a beacon for us and later for the world?"
The author visualizes that the
developed India will be a network of prosperous villages empowered by
'tele-medicine, tele-education and e-commerce'. India is still 'a
developing nation' because of 'fragmented thinking compartmentalized
planning and isolated efforts', which fail to yield any results.
He shares his fierce optimism
with Indians and contends, 'our spiritual wisdom is actually our
strength. We survived as a nation the onslaughts of invaders and the
numbing effects of colonialism. We have also learned to adjust to the
rifts and divisions in our own society. But, in the process of
adjustments, we also lowered our aims and expectations. We need to
regain our broad outlook and draw upon our heritage and wisdom to enrich
our lives. The fact that we advance technologically does not preclude
spiritual development. We need to home-grow our own model of development
based on our inherent strengths'.
Kalam sees a lot of promise in
the young and the inexperienced. Only a united vision launched with
renewed vigour can bring the young force into action. The author also
feels the need for transparency in India, as that is a prerequisite to
development. The modest scientist opines that, "We must remember that
progress cannot be swift and far-reaching if the path is full of
potholes. The abundant national resources, human and material, remain to
be fully utilized".
It is important that the youth of
today get the 'right direction' to move ahead in life. They should be
encouraged to think, imagine and make the most of their creativity. Only
then can we change the mindset of millions of Indians.