Friday, April 18, 2008



"We should give 100 per cent to where we live and work, while we commit to give back our knowledge and experience to our motherland also," Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, former president of India and well known scientist told nearly a thousand Non Resident Indians (NRIs), who had gathered from across the United States to listen to him at the Hindu Temple Community Hall in Flushing, New York. The reception was organized by over 35 Indian American Organizations including GOPIO-New York, NFIA and FIA-New York, and students from more than 10 universities in the New York tri-state area, in a rare unity of purpose, indicative of Kalam's standing and wide appeal among people of all faiths, ideologies, and political affiliations.

Dr. Kalam was visiting the United States to share with NRIs his vision for India in the year 2020, and encouraged everyone to dream big, to achieve with integrity and to ignite the minds of youth of this world. Traveling along with Dr. Kalam was Mrs. Indira Rajan, Chair Person and Managing Director of Minerva Education Trust, Perumbavoor, Cochin. She is an educationist and promoter of Dr. Kalam's vision 2020 in her school systems in Kerala.

Dr. Kalam shared with the audience, mostly comprising of community leaders and students from ten Universities and 18 colleges, that since his presidential term got over last year, he has interacted with over one million people and youth to formulate his vision for India. His eloquent presentation was peppered with quotes from Plato to Tamil poet and visionary Thiruvalluvar.

Dr. Kalam listed key elements of his vision that include: a nation where the rural and urban divide is reduced to a thin line, where poverty has been eradicated, illiteracy removed and crimes against women and children are absent and none in society feels alienated, where the governance is responsive and transparent, a nation that is prosperous, healthy, secure, peaceful, and happy and continues with a sustainable growth path.

To transform India into a developed nation, Kalam said he has identified five areas of the country's core competence for integrated action: Agriculture and food processing, reliable and quality electric power, surface transport and infrastructure for all parts of the country, education and healthcare, information and communication technology and Self-reliance in critical technologies.

The major mission, he said, is development of infrastructure for bringing rural prosperity through Provision of Urban Amenities in Rural Areas (PURA), through creation of connectivity, namely, physical, electronic, and Knowledge, leading to economic connectivity.

He said it is possible to achieve the vision for India, "only if we adopt and practice the value system in a society which is derived out of our civilization heritage". He also emphasized righteousness in the heart and the "confidence that we can (achieve)". Kalam added: "We constitute one sixth of the global population and the transformation that we do to one sixth of the world will benefit the other population also." During a Q&A session that followed, he eloquently answered questions from some 20 students from area colleges and universities, pertinent to them.

While introducing India's 11th president Dr. Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam to the audience, George Abraham, Co-Chairperson of the event and General Secretary of the Indian National Overseas Congress, said, while the role of the president of India has never been so demanding or challenging. In 2002, in the form of Dr. Kalam, India finally got a president who Completely changed the way people used to look at the first citizen of India. His dynamism gave the much needed face-lift to the 'president-of-India' brand that gave a new meaning to the highest office."

Describing Dr. Kalam as a spiritualized scientist, Abraham called him a KARMAYOGI. "He dreams of a 21st century India that has economic prosperity, National security and the rightful place in the world. He is a visionary leader, calling for a national movement to transform India into a developed country with speed and making it militarily and economically self-reliant," he added.

Mr. Lal Motwani, Chairman of the Organizing Committee who is currently the president of the New York chapter of the Global Organization of the People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) and vice president of National Federation of Indian American Associations (NFIA) in his welcome address said that PIOs/NRIs are sanctified by the August presence of Dr. Kalam. Welcoming THE GREAT SON Of INDIA, Motwani said, Indian history is replete with important and dramatic events, which have been profoundly affected by great men including Dr. Kalam. His strategic leadership and his partnership with other nuclear scientists has enabled India to become a major nuclear power to protect and preserve our motherland. As Chairman of TIFAC, he led a team of 500 experts and developed technology Vision 2020, to transform India into a developed Nation, Mr. Motwani added.

According to Dr. Kalam: "The most powerful resource on the earth, above the earth and under the earth is the ignited Young mind. It should be empowered with adequate knowledge and leadership qualities to make the developed India Dream a realty."

Also address the gathering were Indian Consul General Neelam Deo, FIA President Yash Paul Soi, Tamil Sangham of New York President Albert Chelladurai, Rajiv Gowda representing New York Indo-American Political Forum and Mohamed Imran, President, American Federation of Muslims from India.

During his current week-long tour of the country, Dr. Kalam inaugurated the US chapter of Lead India 2020, a movement run under his supervision to transform India as a developed nation, and addressed the Wharton India Economic Forum at Philadelphia and delivered a lecture at the University of Kentucky.

The President released the souvenir containing quoting from Vision 2020 and it was presented to him by Mr. Alex Vilanilam Koshy, Souvenir Committee Chair along with Mr. George Abraham, Co-Chairman and Lal K. Motwani, Chairman and B. Aravindakshan, Co-Chairman. All participating organizations presented a plaque stating thanks to Dr. Kalam's vision and care to India and it was presented to him by Lal K. Motwani, George Abraham and B. Aravindakshan.

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