The man who fired rockets, and imagination – Sir APJ Abdul Kalam

In the year 2010, United Nations decided to mark the importance of India’s former President and great scientist APJ Abdul Kalam and declared his birthday as ‘World Students Day’ – The perfect tribute to the legend, who wished to be remembered as a teacher.
United Nations decided to mark the importance of India’s former President and great scientist APJ Abdul Kalam and declared his birthday October 15th as ‘World Students Day’ – The perfect tribute to the legend, who wished to be remembered as a teacher.

One of our most loved Presidents in India was also the most special common man. It is not easy to describe a giant of his caliber, a teacher, a scientist, a music lover, a motivator, he was everything one could aspire to be. The best way to maybe present him would be through his quotes, so we can explore the impact and a trail of inspiration that he has left for us.



“A teacher should have a creative mind.”

He knew the power of a teacher and the impact of the guru’s words on the young minds. He could connect brilliantly with every child he interacted with. His books were always inspiring children to think and go beyond. He realized the power of responsibility of a teacher and the value of the words he spoke.

“Building capacity dissolves differences. It irons out inequalities.”

He understood the power of learning, educating and its transformational edge. He had his own share of ups and downs but kept on coming back like a spring. Rather than complain on shortcomings or situations beyond our control, he emphasized on bridging the gap and making the individual strong. He believed in spreading capacity development and enabling everyone.

“Creativity is the key to success in the future, and primary education is where teachers can bring creativity in children at that level.”

Primary education is where the foundation is set for a child. The yardstick of acceptance as a bright student is dictated by school systems. But a teacher can make a difference by helping children think more, dream more, ask the right questions and develop their abilities. He also reinforced how this creativity and the ability to think differently will help a person succeed.

“English is necessary as at present original works of science are in English. I believe that in two decades times original works of science will start coming out in our languages. Then we can move over like the Japanese.”

He understood the knowledge ecosystem and the demands of regional pride, especially in a complex country like India which uses English as a link language. Decades of invading and submission to cross-cultural influences has rendered us to rethink our communication gene. He balanced the best of international thought with cultural DNA and became a global figure.

“One of the very important characteristics of a student is to question. Let the students ask questions.”

He nudged children to ponder and made his interactions two-way. He was everyone’s favourite teacher and he pushed people to think. Who can forget his endearing way of summarizing by asking the entire audience, including adults, to repeat affirmations behind him? He knew that a young mind should be as inquisitive as possible, to ask, realize, understand and absorb.

“Thinking should become your capital asset, no matter whatever ups and downs you come across in your life.” 

He stressed on the power of thinking and showed how we all can keep on coming back from every setback, to win. He was truly inspirational and made us understand competition as not between others, but between us and our dreams. He made us believe that we can keep on becoming better and better, and be our best.

“Dream is not that which you see while sleeping, it is something that does not let you sleep.”

He instilled the power of dreaming up on the larger than life canvas, in a most beautiful way. Thinking about others, what you can give back, living your dream and creating the impossible was ingrained in his message.

“All birds find shelter during a rain. But an eagle avoids the rain by flying above the clouds.”

This is not just an example of being your best, but helps us look beyond the box in its truest sense. Even beyond competition. His message tells us to look for creative alternatives when arriving at a solution, going beyond anything conventional.

“If you want to shine like a sun, first burn like a sun.”

This one line has it all. From the smallest child to the biggest billionaire, if there is one act of persuasion that can push you to create excellence, this is it. Hard work can only make your achievements shine even better as this message goads us to go out there and be all that we can be.

The man who wanted to fly actually made the imagination of millions fly, when he and his wonderful team of scientists gave us the confidence to dream big. Imagine the challenge, when you are faced with an open brief like the space and have to give tangible solutions to the world.

Thank you Kalam Sir!


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