Kalam A P J Speach @ KV

Pune

14 January 2009

 

“IGNITED MINDS: THE POWER OF THE YOUTH”

 

Of

is the most powerful resource

above the earth and under the earth.

 

I am delighted to interact with the students of Kendriya

Vidyalaya. My greetings to all of you. Today, I would like to

talk on the topic

YOUTH’

 

Friends, let me share with you a beautiful expenence

when I visited Greece in April 2007. I was negotiating and

climbing towards Acropolis mountain top in Athens and came

across a group of 150 Greek students. They threw a

spontaneous smile on me, the teachers came forward and

introduced the students. They said, they were very happy to

see the Indian president and that the children would like to

hear from him few words. My mind at that time was thinking

about the great personalities, the land of Greece had given to

the world: Socrates, Plato and Aristotle. The words of Plato

were ringing in my mind when I saw the young students. Plato

 

brings out that

disproportionate happiness of anyone class, but the greatest

happiness of the whole”,

Similarly, around the same period Tamil poet Saint

Thiruvalluvar said,

 

r!1Wii’JfimmlO

~8iliifQwliiru

 

That is, “the important elements that constitute a nation

are: being disease free; high earning capacity; high

productivity; harmonious living and strong defence”. We have

to find how we can provide all these elements to the citizens of

every nation on an equitable basis for happiness for all.

With these thoughts, I made up my mind, of what to say

to the students and the youth of Greece. I slowly repeated line

by line, a hymn which I normally hear in Indian spiritual

centers.

 

Righteousness

 

Where there is righteousness in the heart

There is beauty in the character.

When there is beauty in the character,

there is harmony in the home.

When there is harmony in the home.

There is an order in the nation.

When there is order in the nation,

There is peace in the world.

 

When the students and the youth repeated with me, the

tOllrists around at the Acropolis also repeated and there was

all round ovations. Then I realized how people from multiple

nations, young and experienced were influenced by the

thought of righteousness in the heart irrespective of their

nationality. You can see how the righteousness in the heart

generates beauty in the character in the human beings and

beauty in the character leads to harmony in the home.

Harmony in the home in an integrated way generates order in

the nation. Of course the order in the nation finally blossoms

peace in the world. The righteousness in the heart is the

starting point for great individual, great family and great

nation and ultimately great planet earth.

Now the question is: How do we inculcate the

righteousness in the heart. In my opinion, there are three

sources which can build a youth with righteousness in the

heart. One is mother, second is father and the third and the

most important is the teacher, particularly primary school

teacher. Also to provide righteousness in the heart to the

young minds, we should have an environment of great

education and a spiritual way of life and spiritual

environment.

 

Youth Power

 

I would like to put forth to this youth convention that

the ignited minds of the youth is the most powerful resource

on the earth, above the earth and under the earth. I am

convinced that the youth power, if properly directed and

controlled, could bring about transformational changes in

humanity for its progress, meeting its challenges and bring

peace and prosperity. Let us now consider two major problems

the world faces: one is, out of 6.6 billion people, two thirds of

the population lives below poverty line, 50% of the population

do not have access to safe drinking water, above all many do

not have access to quality education. What can the youth of

the world contribute to face the situation? Can every one of

the educated spread literacy at least to five in their life? Can

the youth spread the message of water conservation? Can the

youth come with “out of box solutions” for solving water

scarcity? I have started in my country, what is called Lead

India 2020 movement. It is indeed a youth movement, with

the mission for young students based on the 10 point oath

which I have specially designed.

The ten point oath given to the. youth conveys that the

youth can make difference to the society where they are living

in the areas of literacy, environment, social justice, minimizing

rural urban divide, and work for the national development,

 

while working hard for an individual goal. I insist that small

aim is a crime. I see the youth development has multiple

dimensions: The youth working hard improving his knowledge

with a career goal, can serve the family, can serve the society,

can serve the nation to which he or she belongs and can serve

the humanity as a whole. All are complimentary. The very

theme of this convention “Man m~ing education” signifies

this hierarchy of evolving youth. Keeping this in view, I have

designed a nine point oath for the youth. We will jointly take

the oath shortly.

Dear friends, I would like to share with you seven unique

events that have inspired millions of lives.

 

Save or better someone life

 

While talking about good deeds, I am reminded of the

advice given to Mahatma Gandhiji by his mother. She says,

 

“Son, in your entire life time, if you can save or better

someone’s life, your birth as a human being and your

life is a success. You have the blessing of the

Almighty God”.

 

This advice has made a deep impact in the mind of

Gandhiji, which made him to work for the humanity

throughout his life.

 

Remove “I” and “Me”

 

During the year 2003, when I was visiting one of the

Indian states, Arunachal Pradesh, I visited a Buddhist

monastery at Tawang 3500 m. altitude. I was in the Monastery

nearly for a day. I observed a unique situation in all the

nearby villages, where young and experienced radiating

happiness in spite of severe winter’ environment. Then, I

visited the 400 year old Tawang monastery and there I saw

monks of all age groups in a state of serenity. I was asking

myself what is the unique feature of Tawang and surrounding

villages which makes people and monks to be at peace with

themselves. When the time came, I asked the Chief Monk, how

in Tawang villages and monastery, I am experiencing peace

and happiness being radiated by everyone. There was a pause,

the chief monk smiled. He said, “You are the President of

India. You will know all about us and the whole nation.”

Again, I said, “it is very important for me, please give me your

thoughtful analysis”.

There was a beautiful golden image of Lord Buddha

radiating smile and peace. The Chief Monk assembled nearly

100 young and experienced monks. The Chief Monk and

myself were sitting amidst them. The Chief Monk gave a short

discourse, which I would like to share with you. Chief Monk

said, “In the present world, we have a problem of distrust,

 

unhappiness transforming into violence. This monastery

spreads: when you remove “I” and “Me” from your mind, you

will eliminate ego; if you get rid of ego, hatred towards fellow

human beings will vanish; if the hatred goes out of our mind,

the violence in thinking and action will disappear; if violence

in our mind is taken away, peace springs in human minds.

Then peace and peace and peace al0!1e will blossom in the

society”. I realized the meaning of beautiful equation for

peaceful life, but difficult mission for the individual is how to

remove the ethos of “I” and “ME”. For this, we need the

education inculcated in the young age as propagated by

ancient philosophers.

 

Forgiveness

 

In my search for evolving a peaceful and prosperous

society, I got a part answer. My search for real tru th

continues. I visited an ancient Christian monastery in

Bulgaria, where I had a discussion with highly experienced

monks on the message of Tawang. The Monk added that

forgiveness is also the foundation of good life.

 

Good deed results in good actions

 

When I visited Ajmeer Sharif where I participated in the

Friday Namaz. Here, the Sufi expert told me that Almighty’s

creation, the man, has been challenged with another powerful

creation of Shaitan. Only good deeds lead to good thinkinl”>’

 

good thinking results into actions radiating love as

commanded by Almighty.

The message from all these and other spiritual thinkers

IS that there are many ideas and spiritual thoughts which

transcend religions, geographies and time. If only we could

bridge the spirituality among religions and nations, many of

the problems like the gaps between. haves and have nots,

deprivation causing unrest leading to extremism, the

remnants of past animosities and war and several other road

blocks to peace and prosperity can be tackled. I am sure the

global youth will be able to work on this theme for a safe world

that they dream.

 

Together we will Win

 

Friends, I would like to share with you an inspirational

experience, which I came across. At a Special Olympics, nine

contestants, all physically or mentally disabled, assembled at

the starting line for the 100 mtr race. At the starting signal,

they all started out, not exactly in a dash, but with a relish to

run the race to the finish and win. All, others except one little

boy who stumbled on the asphalt, tumbled over a couple of

times, and began to

 

They slowed down and looked back. Then they all tumed

around and went back .every one of them. One girl with

Down’s syndrome bent down and kissed him and said, “This

 

will make it better” Then all nine linked their arms together

and walked together and finally reached the destination.

Everyone in the stadium stood, and the cheering went on for

several minutes. People who were there are still telling the

story. Why? Because deep down we know this one thing:

What matters in this life is more than winning for ourselves.

What matters in this life is helping others win, even if it means

slowing down and changing our course. I would say that, you

do not have to slow down. Rather by helping difficult areas,

the feed back will make you go faster. If you pass this on, we

may be able to change our hearts as well as someone else’s. “A

 

candle loses nothing by lighting another candle

 

Indomitable Spirit

 

I was reading a book called “Everyday Greatness”. I

would like to share one event which is essential component of

our development today. Today, what we need is a leadership

with compassion. Let me narrate one experience which

happened in Mexico.

A riot was raging in La Mesa Prison in Mexico. Twenty

five hundred prisoners were packed into a compound, which

had been built for only six hundred. They angrily hurled

broken bottles at the police who fired back with machine guns.

Then came a startling sight. A tiny five feet two inches, sixty

three year old woman, calmly got into the crowd, with

 

outstretched hands, in a simple gesture of peace. Ignoring the

shower of bullets, she stood quietly and asked every one to

stop. Incredibly every one did. No one else in the world, but

sister Antonia could have done this. Why did the people listen

to her? All because of her decades of service to the prisoners

by her choice. She sacrificed all her life for the sake of

prisoners lived in the midst of murderers, thieves and drug

lords all of whom she called her sons. She attended their

needs round the clock, procured antibiotics, distributed

eyeglasses, washed bodies for the burial and counseled the

suicidal. This selfless act of love and compassion generated

the respect among the prisoners to control themselves and

urged them to do what she wanted them to do. What a great

message for humanity? We have seen a leader with

compassion is there for even prisoners, but we need leaders

with compassion for the voiceless people of millions in the

world.

 

Dialogue of Cultures

 

I would like to recall one incident which commonly

occurs in many parts of my country. I have witnessed this

even t when I was a young boy (10 yrs). In our house,

periodically I used to see three different unique personalities

meet. Pakshi Lakshmana Shastrigal, who was the head priest

of the famous Rameshwaram temple and a vedic scholar, Rev

Father Bodal, who built the first church in Rameswaram

 

Island and my father who was an Imam in the mosque. All

three of them used to sit and discuss the islands problems

and find solutions. In addition they built several religious

connectivities with compassion. These connectivities quietly

spread to others in the island like the fragrance from the

flowers. This sight always comes to my mind whenever, I

discuss with people on Dialogue of re,ligions. India has had

this advantage of integration of minds for thousands of years.

Throughout the world, the need to have a frank dialogue

among cultures, religions and civi1iza~ions has been felt now

more than ever.

 

Conclusion

 

Now I would like to administer an oath for the youth

since the planet Earth is facing many conflicts both natural

and man-made. As a youth, all of you have a responsibility to

work for universal harmony by ironing out all the causes of

conflicts. Are you ready to repeat with me?

 

Oath for the Youth

 

1 I will have a goal and work hard to achieve that goal. I

realize that small aim is a crime.

2 I will always be righteous in the heart which leads to

beauty in the character, beauty in the character brings

harmony in the home, harmony in the home leads to

 

order in the nation and order in the nation leads to

peace in the world.

3 I will work with integrity and succeed with integrity.

4 I will be a good citizen, a good member of my family, a

good member of the society, a good member of the

nation and a good member of the world.

S I will always try to save or better someone’s life.

Wherever I am, a thought will always come to my

mind. That is “What can I give?”

6 I will always protect and enhance the dignity of every

human life.

7 I will always remember that “Let not my winged days,

be spent in vain”.

8 I will always work for clean planet Earth and clean

energy

 

9 As a youth of my nation, I will work and work with

courage to achieve success in all my tasks and enjoy

the success of others.

My best wishes to all the students assembled here

success in their educational mission.

May God Bless You.

 

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