The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Students take lessons from President

Mumbai, Feb. 15 (PTI): President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam today advocated transformation of religion into a spiritual force to contain the growing incidents of communal violence in the country and suggested introduction of value system in schools.

“Religion has to graduate into a spiritual force and disparities in development should be removed. Then only a society free from communal riots can be evolved,” Kalam told schoolchildren at the Shanmukhananda Hall during his maiden visit to the city after becoming President.

On how incidents like the Gujarat violence can be controlled, he said: “Through enlightened citizens and introduction of value system in the school curriculum.”

Interacting with over 2,500 students from 118 schools, Kalam spoke about his dream of a developed India by 2020 and said to achieve this goal, the country would have to achieve the growth rate of nine to 10 per cent, almost double the existing one.

Kalam said “brain drain” did not bother him as India produced 3,00,000 engineering and science students of which only 20 to 30 per cent go abroad.

The President also expressed his reservation about human cloning, saying “it should not be done and cannot be done”.

On whether a civilised society needed nuclear weapons, Kalam said although he believed in a peaceful world, “unfortunately man is happy with war”.

He said a movement by 300 million children below 20 can prevent a war if they insist on living in a peaceful world.

The younger generation shares his dream of a peaceful, prosperous and safe India, he said, adding that political leadership with visionary policies could make the country prosperous.

Earlier, interacting with

visually impaired children at the 100-year-old victorial memorial school for the blind, he suggested introduction of special facilities in public places for handicapped children to enable them easy access to information. This could be done by augmenting audio books, talking websites and ultramodern technologies, he suggested.

Presenting students with his two books 'wings of fire' and 'ignited mind', published in braille, kalam said 'i want you to read these books and know me, to ask me questions and to share your pains and dreams'.

Later, he drove down to mani bhavan, mahatma gandhi's abode here during the freedom struggle. He visited the museum, which housed articles used by the father of the nation.

Before leaving the place, he wrote in the visitors' book, “this is a historical and inspiring centre. Please propagate from this centre as to how the young can learn nobility of leadership and integrity of character”.

Answering a question posed by a student, the president remarked in lighter vein that as a scientist he toiled hard but he just made it to the office of president of india.

He had a dig at religious leaders saying they wanted to remain static. He cited the example of scientist galileo who was executed by religious leaders for his observations by telescope about earth rotating around its own axis and planet revolving around the sun. Pti jd lv pyj svs mb pp 02151811 d

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