Igniting the minds of the youth has always been a mission for former President of India, APJ Abdul Kalam, and he did just that before a packed audience of students at Devi Ahilya Vishwavidyalaya auditorium on Wednesday.
Invited to address the students to mark the university’s golden jubilee, Kalam seamlessly traversed from the realms of philosophy to anecdotes about his life and experiences with ease and panache of an experienced orator, keeping his audience hanging on his every word.
In his characteristic interactive style, Kalam urged the youngsters not to be afraid of the future and try and become a ‘unique’ individual.
“Every youth has the potential and wants to become unique, but the society will try and make you like everyone else,” Kalam said. He said that the biggest challenge before anyone is sustain the urge to be unique. He said that people remember great people because they were unique through their works.
Exhorting the youth to achieve something in life, he said the main question the students should ask themselves - What can I give to the society.
Stressing that knowledge is the most powerful tool that will help a person in becoming unique, Kalam referred to ‘knowledge equation’- a term coined by him. He said that true knowledge has creativity, righteousness in the heart and courage ingrained in it.
Sharing his vision of what a 21st century university should look like, Kalam said that such a university should have a global outlook, a scientific temper, close interaction between technology and public welfare, virtual classrooms and a stress on collaborative research.
Kalam said that research was the backbone for any university and it empowered the students to ask the right questions.
On his vision for the country for 2020, Kalam said that there are still many challenges before it and there are only seven years left.
He said according to his vision, India by 2020 should not have the glaring urban rural divide, equitable distribution of water, should be a destination of great minds, should have health care for all and there should be transparent and corrupt free administration.
Kalam asked every youth present in the hall to go home and write down what he wanted to become in life, and in which sphere of life he wanted to make a mark - in invention, innovation, discovery, welfare, politics etc. and send it to him on his email id - firstname.lastname@example.org - “If I like it, I will reply and I will also give you my photograph, autograph, whatever you want,” he said in a lighter note.