On behalf of India Vision group, an UnConference titled Action 2020 was held at Chennai on Saturday the 17th Jan 2009. One hundred young professionals and students representing 35 social service organisations participated. These organisations are already silently doing great service to the society. They already into more than 500 projects benefiting more than 1.50 lakh beneficiaries, involving funds outlay of 50 lakhs.
In the morning Dr Y S
Rajan, co-author of the book India 2020 with Dr Kalam interacted with
participants on phone. In the evening, Dr Abdul Kalam interacted with them
on phone and answered the questions from youth. A detailed report is
available in the following links.
To listen to the audio of Dr
Abdul Kalam's interaction, please click here
The text of the speech by Dr Abdul Kalam is given below:
“It doesn’t matter who you are,
You will achieve if you work for it”.
“Plant a tree and plant an idea”
Dear members of “Action 2020 - UnConference 2009” organized by the India Vision Group and the 35 partner organizations who are working on bringing societal transformation through achievers, intellectuals and other contributors, my greetings to all of you. I am very happy to communicate with all of you telephonically, when you have assembled at Chennai and discussing on how to achieve Vision 2020 with peoples’ participation.
On 15 Jan 2009, I inaugurated the Youth Meet at Pune and interacted with nearly 1500 youth. The theme, I selected for the youth was, “the ignited minds of the youth is the most powerful resource, on the earth, above the earth and under the earth”. Here it was important to remember, the powerful call given by Swami Vivekananda “how has all the knowledge in the world been gained but by the concentration of the power of the mind? The world is ready to give up its secret if we only know, how to knock, how to give it the necessary blow. The strength and force of the blow come through concentration. There is no limit to the power of the human mind. The more concentrated it is, the more power is brought to bear on one point that is the secret”.
When I put forth this thought to the young, there was tremendous enthusiasm and the youth repeated the statement. Then I brought out the power of three great minds:
“It doesn’t matter who you are, you will achieve if you work for it”. Mario Capecchi – a street boy becomes a noble prize winner in 2007 for his remarkable work on Gene targeting which can be used to cure diseases such as cancer.
Failure didn’t deter him. Srinivasa Ramanujam with his best capability generated his own equations and became an expert in number theory. He failed in his FA Exam, but he didn’t bother. Mathematics became his friend. He saw divinity associated with each number. He became a renowned number theorist and a great mathematician recognized by the world of mathematics including Royal society.
“Plant a tree and plant an idea” - Prof Wangari Maathai had a passion for environment and bio-diversity and has been contributing to the sustainable development and growth of planet Earth through tree plantation. She has been instrumental in getting 31 million trees planted in 20 countries in African region. She won the Nobel Prize for this unique contribution of environmental upgradation. With these three thoughts, “It doesn’t matter who you are, you will achieve if you work for it”. “Failure didn’t deter him” and “Plant a tree and plant an idea” the 1500 youth at Pune were fully ignited; they were all asking tell us, what we can give? I asked the audience, why don’t you young boys and girls share your experience. One girl got up and introduced herself, she is from rural Maharashtra. She said, Mr. Kalam, let me share with you what myself and my classmates have done. There is a hospital in our small town, where the entire place is dirty and the patients are not at all cared for. Seeing the situation, the student community decided to go to the hospital once in a week, to clean up the entire place including toilets. And we also provide necessary help to the patients, such as: communicating with their relatives, drying their clothes, bringing the medicines, giving them a feeling of cheer by talking to them. What a noble mission?
Series of questions came in after words. What the youth can do to remove the corruption? was one of the question. Here I gave my experience at Adichunchunagari Mutt, when I addressed 50,000 students and 1000’s of parents in the presence of spiritual leaders and political leaders in 2005. After my address on vision 2020, one girl Bhavani got up, she said, she is studying bio-science in 10+1, and she would like to know from me and the leaders sitting on the dais, what actions youth should do to remove corruption, so that we can live in a corruption free society. The funds allotted for development can reach the citizens fully. Answer to this question really was not coming forth from any quarters, but I had to answer. I told, dear Bhavani, your question is very important in the present context of the nation. You know, we are one billion population. We live in 200 million homes. It is estimated that 30% of the homes may be corrupt, that means 60 million homes are corrupt. Each home has on an average 5 members: Father, mother, two sons + one daughter or parents + two daughters + one son. Now I have got a question for you Bhavani. In case your parents, particularly your father is unfortunately corrupt, will you go to your father and say “Father, please stop corruption - Our scriptures will not allow that, our teacher taught us” Will you say this to your father? There was pin drop silence. Then a surprise. Nearly all the children got up, they all said in chorus, we can do it. We will stop our parents if they are corrupt. I couldn’t believe this. Of course, I turned to parents where 1000’s of them were sitting. I particularly asked the mothers. How will you react to your daughter or son coming to you and saying that you should stop corrupt actions. After some thought, the mother gave the following statement:
“Mr. Kalam, so far no one has asked such a directed question. But I want to tell you one thing on behalf of womanhood that “Daughter or son, have got a unique relationship with parents. They have a great and grand tool that is mutual love and affection. If our child comes and tells us that we are corrupt, it is a great insult to me and my husband. We have to change, we have to change, we have to change. Then the whole gathering took an oath. “I will lead an honest life free from all corruption and will set an example for others to adopt a transparent way of life”.
I asked the youth of Pune on 15 Jan 2009, what is your reaction? They said, we would like to take the same oath and abide by it. The entire hall reverberated when they took the oath. Then I realized the vision 2020 of transforming India into a developed nation definitely will succeed with such a committed youth power. I would like Mr. Prime Point Srinivasan; you may kindly see my website www.abdulkalam.com and click PURA as a business proposition. Here many successful operational PURAs in different parts of the country has been describe. Our young participants can definitely create such sustainable rural development model in their own area which will accelerate the realization of our development vision 2020.