“Sight is about what lies right in front of us. Vision is what lies ahead” goes the old adage. India is an old civilization and an extremely complex society. Her glorious past, natural beauty, resources, vast size and above all her unique geographical location has always given her the pride of place in the world. With the ups and downs of history it has retained its vibrancy. Yet, due to callousness and lethargy on our part and due to the negative slant of the media here, we as a nation have not been able to attain the status of a developed nation thus far.
|The People's President|
In this famous speech delivered in IIT Hyderabad on 25 May 2011, Dr.APJ Abdul Kalam outlines his three visions for his motherland India and pleads for Indians to be involved in the nation-building process and to make India a developed nation.
Dr.Kalam’s First Vision: Freedom
In 3000 years of our history, people from all over the world have come and invaded us, captured our lands and conquered our minds. Yet, we have not conquered anyone. Because, we respect the freedom of others, and that is the reason for his first vision of Freedom. India got its first vision of this in the Indian Rebellion in the year 1857, when we started the war of Independence. It is this freedom that we must protect and nurture and build on.
His Second Vision: Development
We have been a developing nation for fifty years, and so it is time we see ourselves as a developed nation. In terms of GDP, we are among the top five nations of the world. Our poverty levels are falling. Our achievements are being globally recognised today. Yet we lack the self-confidence to see ourselves as a developed nation.
India must stand up to the world. Unless India stands up to the world, no one will respect us. Only strength respects strength. We must be strong not only as a military power but also as an economic power. Both must go hand-in-hand.
Four Milestones in Dr.Kalam’s Career:
Dr.Kalam says that being the project director for India’s first satellite launch vehicle, SLV3, was the first milestone in his career. Second was when Agni met its mission requirements in 1994. Third came the partnership between DRDO and the Dept of Atomic Energy. Removing the pain of little boys and girls in hospital, by replacing heavy metallic callipers weighing over three kg each with 300-gram callipers, was the fourth bliss or milestone of his career.
The Media’s Obsession with Bad News, Failures and Disasters:
Dr.Kalam wonders how the media in India could be so negative. Giving the example of Dr.Sudarshan, who has transferred the tribal village into a self-sustaining, self-driving unit, Dr.Kalam says that there are millions of such achievements in India but our media is only obsessed with only the bad news and failures and disasters.
In Tel Aviv, where gory killings, deaths and bombardments take place every now and then, the front page of the newspaper had the picture of a Jewish gentleman who in five years had transformed his desert land into an orchid and a granary. It was this inspiring picture that everyone woke up to.
The Nation’s Obsession with Foreign Things:
Dr.Kalam is surprised at the people’s obsession with foreign things. We want foreign TVs, foreign shirts, foreign technology. There is an obsession for everything that is imported. According to Dr.Kalam, self respect comes only with self-reliance.
Conformity in Foreign Countries but Detached in Motherland:
In India, we the people blame the government for being inefficient, the laws for being too old, the municipality for not picking up the garbage etc. But what do we do about it? In Singapore, you don’t throw cigarette butts on the roads. You wouldn’t dare to speed beyond 55mph in Washington and tell the traffic cop about your heavy political connections. You wouldn’t spit paan on the streets of Tokyo. When the same Indian can respect and conform to a foreign system in other countries, he cannot do that in his own. You will throw papers and cigarettes on the road the moment you touch Indian ground. If you can be an involved and appreciative citizen in an alien country, why cannot you be the same here in India?
The Easy way Out: Blame it on the System:
We sit back wanting the government to do everything for us, while our contribution is totally negative. We expect the government to clean up but we are not going to stop chucking garbage all over the place, nor are we going to stop to pick up a stray piece of paper and throw it in the bin. We expect the railways to provide clean bathrooms but we are not going to learn the proper use of bathrooms. When it comes to social issues like women, dowry, girl child etc., we make loud drawing room protestations and do the reverse at home.
And for all these negatives on our part, we blame it on the system. The whole system has to change, we seem to justify. For us, the system consists of everyone else except me and YOU. When it comes to making a positive contribution to the system we lock ourselves along with our families into a safe cocoon and wait for a Mr.Clean to come along and work miracles for us, or we leave the country and run away.
Like lazy cowards hounded by our fears we run to America to bask in their glory and praise their system. When New York becomes insecure we run to England. When England experiences unemployment, we take the next flight out to the Gulf. When the Gulf is war struck, we demand to be rescued and brought home by the Indian government. Everybody is out to abuse and rape the country. Nobody thinks of feeding the system, because our conscience is mortgaged to money.
Dr.Kalam winds up with the words of J.F.Kennedy to his fellow Americans, and relates it to Indians: “Ask what we can do for India and do what has to be done to make India what America and other Western countries are today.”