I am still captivated by the speech and interactive session of Dr.A.P.J Abdul Kalam.
Dr.Kalam,Ex-President of India, graced the opening session of the three-day Northeastern University green energy conference. An interactive session after the inauguration was coordinated by the Indian Students Association at Northeastern University.
Running late from work, I regrettably missed the opening speech of the session. But was in time when he opened the ground for questions. Student after student rose to ask causal, petty, genuine, well researched questions and Dr.Kalam imperturbably heard and adroitly answered them.
A person of such stature and with such an aura around him exuded an electrifying sense of humor. There was an overpowering intellectual presence that he brought to the room. Jokingly scoring the answer-seekers on their interactions and politely asking each one not to ask more than one question,he received an applause on almost every word he uttered.
When someone asked him to give one piece of advice to students scouring from India and coming the United States to attain further education – prompt came the reply – “Attain knowledge, not any knowledge, but “good knowledge” and instead of becoming “job seekers” – become “job generators”.
Talking at length about the importance of education, the importance of parents and teachers in our lives, Dr.Kalam also spoke about his 2020 vision and tersely commented on the political scenario of the county.
Needless to say, that he emanated knowledge, experience, and savoir-faire - yet a staggering level of modesty, that it was honor even to be in the same room as him.
He concluded the session by stressing on the need to be a good citizen, no matter what nationality you belong to and what country you are currently living in. Striking a conversation with his audience, he made us echo one of his golden teachings:
“Where there is righteousness in the heart
There is beauty in the character.
When there is beauty in the character,
there is harmony in the home.
When there is harmony in the home.
There is an order in the nation.
When there is order in the nation,
There is peace in the world.”
He was swarmed with people seeking his autograph and the tall ones, taking advantage of their height, were able to hand over their scraps right into in his hands. Being short , I could not avail that, so in lieu called out to him – “Sir, I am short “ – he instantaneously acknowledged me, took my book and graciously signed it :)
It is very difficult for me to remember long names, but after my short rendezvous with Dr.Kalam, Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam is name that I shall always remember and shall continue to admire the legend.