“I was a teacher earlier, and I am a teacher again.”
He is none other than Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, a brilliant scientist, an honest politician and quintessentially, a teacher.
Born to a middle-class family in the island town of Rameswaram, Kalam was used to share his meals with lots of outsiders during his childhood. His father was a spiritual mentor of the local mosque and the role of an absolute companion was played by Ashiamma, Kalam’s mother. Kalam lived in a Muslim dominated area where the other Hindu families also lived in perfect harmony.
Young eyes are the fields of dreams—dreams which can change the scenario of the entire world. Kalam motivated the world of the youth not only by delivering lectures at IITs and IIMs, but also through is inspiring words. He is thus accepted as a universal teacher for the students from all parts of the world, for without being a good student, no one can become a good teacher.
In spite of being one of the shining names in the field of science and technology, Kalam believed in God. His father taught him the significance of prayer. He is a perfect epitome of modesty, diligence and integrity. Through his speeches, Kalam tried to instill confidence and determination in the hearts of all those students who aspire to be successful in life.
His teachings not only include excellent concepts of the technological world, but they also possess the aroma of values and qualities that one should imbibe to become a real human being. He gave his students the lessons of honesty and loyalty towards the country, after nurturing the elements of aeronautics.
Teachers toil their days in teaching the students not only the prescribed syllabus, but also the essential values of life. A teacher’s name resonates in the student’s success. Kalam’s teachings not only helped in bringing new brains in the era of science, but also made the students develop self-reliance.
Trying his hand in politics, he became the eleventh president of India. He also taught us how to serve our country, without being a member of any particular political party. Since he taught his students from his heart and not from the books, he became the source of inspiration for them.
For Kalam, the first teacher of his life was his father. He was an extremely hardworking and austere person. He was very much responsible for Kalam’s spiritual elevation and indiscriminate outlook towards people of different religious sects. He also learnt that adverse situations in life always present opportunities for introspection.
Human beings crave for company whenever they find themselves alone in problems. But Kalam learnt that happiness in life is not the absence of problems, but the capacity to face them boldly. Every individual on this earth has a specific role to play in the universe. For Kalam, his father was his role model, as he wrote in his autobiography, “Wings of Fire”—
“I have, throughout my life, tried to emulate my father in my own world of science and technology. I have endeavored to understand the fundamental truths revealed to me by my father, and feel convinced that there exists a divine power that can lift one up from confusion, misery, melancholy and failure, and guide one to one’s true place.
And once and individual severs his emotional and physical bond, he is on the road to freedom, happiness and peace of mind.”
Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam is one of the brightest stars in the sky of learning. According to him, he was a permanent student, a person who learnt new things every day. Besides working on new projects related to aerospace engineering, he also established the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, thus providing a platform for the development of aeronautics. He promoted India’s name on an international level.
Kalam also emphasized on the fact that in order to succeed in life, one must have single-minded devotion to one’s goal. He also arranged for different entrance examinations on behalf of ISRO in order to introduce fresh brains in the field of science. He possessed great innate wisdom and a true generosity of spirit. His words fill every student with immense energy and enthusiasm. Apart from a great scientist and politician, Kalam was an excellent litterateur which is evident from his works like “Ignited Minds”, “India 2020”, “Turning Points”, etc.
Every day, Kalam rediscovered himself in a new manner. He learnt through teaching; his entire life centered on the world of education and discoveries. He even taught his students the importance of friendship in human life. He stressed on the fact that true friends help much more in learning than the text books by saying—“One best book is equal to 100 good friends, but one good friend is equal to a library.”
He also advised his students to go beyond the limits of physicality and become a modicum of the cosmos. In that way, one can not only overcome lots of oppositions, but also realize the relevance of one’s sufferings.
This is a poem composed by me as a tribute to “The Missile Man of India” on behalf of the world of students:
Thank you for all the knowledge
Thank you for all the love,
Thank you for all the time
That you have spent for all of us.
No matter where you are,
No matter where you go,
There is something you need to know—
We will miss your lessons,
We will miss your presence,
But you will remain in our hearts
For years to come, for centuries to pass.