NATA Mourns Death of - The People's President APJ Abdul Kalam

Former Indian President APJ Abdul Kalam died on Monday at a hospital in Meghalaya, where he had gone to deliver a lecture at the Indian Institute of Management in Shillong. He was 83.

Dr Kalam -- the 11th President on India between 2002 and 2007 -- was born in Rameswaram on October 15, 1931, to the family of a boatman.  After serving a term of five years, he returned to his civilian life of education, writing, and public service. He has received several prestigious awards, including the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian honor.


1. On the youth: My message, especially to young people is to have courage to think differently, courage to invent, to travel the unexplored path, courage to discover the impossible and to conquer the problems and succeed. These are great qualities that they must work towards.

2. On leadership: Let me define a leader. He must have vision and passion and not be afraid of any problem. Instead, he should know how to defeat it. Most importantly, he must work with integrity.

3. On religion: For great men, religion is a way of making friends; small people make religion a fighting tool.

4. On corruption: If a country is to be corruption free and become a nation of beautiful minds, I strongly feel there are three key societal members who can make a difference. They are the father, the mother and the teacher.

5. On scientific development: English is necessary as at present original works of science are in English. I believe that in two decades times original works of science will start coming out in our languages. Then we can move over like the Japanese.

6. On hardship: Man needs his difficulties because they are necessary to enjoy success.

7. On students: One of the very important characteristics of a students is to question. Let the students ask questions.

8. On freedom: If we are not free, no one will respect us.

9. On poetry: Poetry comes from the highest happiness or the deepest sorrow.

10. On children: While children are studying to be unique, the world around them is trying by all means to make them like everybody else.

11. On science: Science is global. Einstein's equation E=mc2 has to reach everywhere. Science is a beautiful gift to humanity. We should not distort it. Science does not discriminate between multiple races.

12. On life: Life is a difficult game. You can win it only by retaining your birthright to be a person.

13. On the death penalty: One of the more difficult tasks for me as President was to decide on the issue of confirming capital punishment awarded by courts... to my surprise... almost all cases which were pending had a social and economic bias. This gave me an impression that we were punishing the person who was least involved in the enmity and who did not have a direct motive for committing the crime.

14. On dreaming: Dream, Dream, Dream. Dream transforms in to thoughts. And thoughts result in action.

15. On beauty: I'm not a handsome guy, but I can give my hand to someone who needs help.Beauty is in the heart, not in the face.

"If you want to shine like a sun, first burn like a sun," APJ Abdul Kalam had said in one of his inspirational speeches. He certainly did.

Today that sun has set.


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