At 83, former president APJ Abdul Kalam showed on Saturday that he has still has it in him. The scientist-turned-administrator received a rock star welcome at the Jaipur Literature Festival, drawing loud cheers, whistles and applause from a massive crowd, especially youngsters.
And true to form, Kalam had some advice to ignite the minds of his young fans: “To become unique, the challenge is to fight the hardest battle which anyone can imagine, until you reach your destination.”
Addressing a session that focussed on his book ‘Ignited Minds’, Kalam said he had met numerous youngsters in the past two decades and learnt the importance of being unique. “The world around you is doing its best day and night… It’s you who have to believe that ‘I will became the captain of problems, defeat them and succeed,’ and you will become unique,” he said.
The Bharat Ratna urged youngsters to focus on the big picture. “Small aim is a crime, have a great aim,” he said. He began his session with a message: “Wings to fly – believe that I am born with potential, goodness and trust, idea and dreams, greatness and confidence. And I am not meant for crawling because I have wings and I will fly.”
Sharing his own experiences, Kalam spoke of how he became an aeronautical engineer, moved to making missiles and satellites, and then became the president. “If four things are followed – having a great aim, acquiring knowledge, hard work and perseverance – then anything can be achieved,” he said.
Kalam’s session was interactive, with the capacity crowd shouting hip-hip hurray on his arrival and cheering him repeatedly during his speech. He asked the youngsters, who comprised a majority of the audience, to defeat fear so that they could overcome failure that is a part of life.
He concluded the session by saying: “An ignited mind of the youth is the most powerful resource on earth, above earth and under the earth.”