A.P.J. Abdul Kalam hands over the Infosys Travel Award to Tunir De from Bangalore at the inauguration of the Children Science Congress. (Arnab Mondal)
Courage to think different, courage to invent, courage to travel on an unexplored path, courage to discover the impossible, courage to combat the problems and succeed — these, according to Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, are the unique qualities of youth.
The former president, addressing the inauguration ceremony of the Children Science Congress at S.N. Bose National Centre for Basic Sciences on January 4, urged the youth to “work, work and succeed”.
Speaking on Excellence in Thinking and Actions, Kalam said: “Science is born out of curiosity turned into question. And question till you get an answer. Excellence is not by accident.”
The nuclear scientist asked young students to set standards for themselves and strive to work to their utmost potential. “This is an unending life-cycle phenomenon,” Kalam said, urging youngsters to take science as a mission of a lifetime.
Sharing his experiences at science meets he has attended, Kalam narrated the story of a young participant at National Children Science Congress, Varanasi, who had sought advice on how to remain confident. “I asked him and everyone else to repeat the poem ‘I will fly and fly’ after me,” said Kalam.
Citing the examples of Marie Curie, Thomas Edison, Wright Brothers and Srinivasa Ramanujan, India’s missile man spoke about “imagining the impossible”.
He emphasised the need to be unique and to overcome all human limitations to get one’s name inscribed in history. “I have so far met 15 million youths like you. Every youth wants to be unique but the world around you wants to make you like everybody else but you have to be unique,” Kalam said, listing four yardsticks for achieving uniqueness — great aim, continuous acquisition of knowledge, hard work and perseverance.
He encouraged the youth and made them take an oath to build a scientific temperament.
Kalam’s words of inspiration did not go in vain. “After hearing him, I realised that everyone is equal. Anyone can do anything. There are no parameters for innovation and imagination,” said Kumud Sultania, a student of Class XI at Dalmia Vidya Mandir, Rajasthan.
Union minister of earth sciences, science and technology S. Jaipal Reddy thanked Kalam for attending the event. “I am extraordinarily happy that Dr Kalam has spared time for this occasion. I personally know him for quarter of a century. He is of course a great scientist but above all he has been an inexhaustible source of inspiration,” Reddy said.