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'Unique' India is 'shining'

'Unique' India is 'shining'

Author: A Staff Reporter
Publication: Times of Oman
Date: February 18, 2004
URL: http://www.timesofoman.com/newsdetails.asp?newsid=51131&pn=local

Do you know any country where a Hindu is prime minister, a Muslim is president and a Christian is defence minister?

An eminent scientist posed this question to a packed hall of eager audience here yesterday.

With that, Dr Gopalakrishnan, scientist at the CSIR, and honorary director of the Indian Institute of Scientific Heritage, was concluding his speech on the 'Views of Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam on Indian heritage'.

The crowd in front of him did not have to scratch their heads for the answer. They might have wracked their brains if the question had the word "any country other than India". And the fact of the matter is that they would not have come up with an answer even after many hours!

"Yes, India is the only country in the world where a Hindu prime minister (A.B. Vajpayee), a Muslim president (Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam) and a Christian Defence Minister (George Fernandes) are running the affairs of the nation with a unity of purpose," said Dr Gopalakrishnan, adding: "India gave the message of unity in diversity to the world... The Vedic message given by India is still spreading the message of love, help, cooperation, rational thinking, scientific vision, patriotic mission, rational spirituality ..."

Elaborating Dr Kalam's views and message for the Indians, the scientist stressed Dr Kalam's words that "India is the country which respected the peace and freedom of each and every individual and nation. Many countries invaded India for many centuries; Indians had the bitter experience of massive destruction of wealth owing to these invasions. But India never invaded other countries. Indians never destroyed the wealth or looted any other countries. We always sent the message of peace all over the world. This is because we respect the freedom of others. This is our heritage." Dr Gopalakrisnan said modern science had its roots and branches in India, and called for all-round development which is the need of the hour.

"India has the science and technologies. Our ancient scientists had made great achievements in modern science and technologies. The mathematical and astronomical theorems of Aryabhata, Bhaskara, Vateswara, Madhava and many other ancient Indian scientists, developed centuries ago, are great contributions of ancient India to the modern world. Nagarjuna's contribution through chemistry books stand as a great example on the unique subject of applied inorganic chemistry."

Science and technology was not an alien subject for Indians.

Using the heritage of the scientific and technological knowledge existed in India, we have to build up a greater modern India. To bring home this point, Dr Gopalakrishnan quoted Dr Abdul Kalam who had always said: "For 50 years we have been a developing nation. It is time we see ourselves as a developed nation. ...We are among the top five nations of the world in terms of GDP; we have 10 per cent annual growth rate in most areas; we have to have self confidence for informing the world that we are a developed nation, a self-reliant and self-assured nation."

The great scientist-turned-president has no doubt whatsoever that "unless India stands up to the world, no one will respect us. Only strength respects strength". And that is why Dr Kalam urges Indians that "we must be strong in all spheres ... we must become an economic power ... we must be powerful enough to protect our nation."

The great missile man of India gained experience in research and development in different branches of science and technology from "three great minds - Dr Vikram Sarabhai of the Department of Space; Prof. Satish Dhawan and Dr Brahma Prakash, the father of Indian nuclear materials."

The scientific contributions of Dr Kalam during the 20 years of his service with the Indian Space Research Organisation in developing the Satellite Launching Vehicle (SLV), the achievements in developing 23 types of missiles while working in the Defence Research and Development Organisation and the achievements of nuclear tests on May 11 and 13 are, in Dr Kalam's own words, the "great milestones in my life".

Dr Gopalakrishna said Dr Kalam always advocated the utilisation of scientific achievements and innovations for the betterment of the common man. Science should always help the needy, poor, weak, in all walks of life. Dr Kalam demonstrated this by utilising space alloys for making artificial limbs for polio-crippled youths.

Dr Kalam has reservations on the Indian media. He exhorts the media to be positive. India is a nation with great achievements, strengths and merits. These positive aspects are to be brought to light, instead of printing always the negatives.

Indian achievements are worth projecting to the world and Dr Kalam urges the media to focus on them. "We are the first in milk production; we are number one in remote-sensing satellite; we are the second largest producer of wheat; we are the second largest producer of rice..."

Dr Gopalakrishanan said the president always concluded his message saying: "You must proclaim India is not an under-developed nation; it is a highly developed nation."

The president also takes a dig at those Indians who always feel proud of the greatness of "the countries they visit; they appreciate others' discipline, hard work, etc., etc." But these positives seen in other countries are to be translated to Indian life also. "Learning to follow the rules and respecting the country's heritage are inevitably important for progress. We expect the government to do everything for us."

Dr Gopalakrishan exhorted the gathering, quoting the words of Dr Kalam, that there need to be a change of mentality - the mentality to "wait for a Mr Clean to come along and work miracles for us with a majestic sweep of his hand or we leave the country and run away".

"We expect the government to clean up everything, after electing them to power. But we are not going to stop chucking the garbage all over the place, nor are we going to stop to pick up a stray piece of paper and throw it in the bin."

Like former US president John F. Kennedy, President Kalam also urges the people of India to "ask what we can do for India and do what has to be done to make India what America and other western countries are today. Let us do what India needs from us."

Dr Kalam, with a missionary spirit of taking science to the forefront and with the spirit of taking India to the forefront of the world within the next 15 years, looks forward to making the nation as the most developed country by 2020, converting India into a knowledge-based country.

The tremendous potential of youths; the fast developing infrastructure; the peaceful atmosphere; the enthusiasm prevailing in the field of process and product development and the ultra modern technology with a sound background of the international language, English, - all these are among the advantages of India, and Dr Gopalakrishnan quoted Dr Abdul Kalam's words to bring home his point that "India is changing; we have to make the world understand the greatness of our motherland."

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