Monday, December 16, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

President Kalam goes informal
A. Balu

Chennai, December 15
No stickler for protocol, President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam spoke and sang at the inauguration of the 60th annual music festival of the Tamil Isai Sangam here last night, sending the assembled gathering into raptures.

At the conclusion of his address in which he said Carnatic music and the Quran were like his two eyes, the President sang a song composed by him along with his friend Chellamurthy. He took the audience by surprise with his informality when he greeted a group of students who had rendered the National Anthem in ‘Nagaswaram’ and sat with them to listen to the evening’s concert by Seerkazhi G. Sivachidambaram

Dr Kalam called for the inclusion of music in the school curriculum, saying music had a magical power, which would help improve the personality of students. “Music helps one realise God and plays a vital role in the development of human personality by removing egocentric qualities,” he said.

The President’s informality also came into focus at the silver jubilee celebrations of Anna University of which he was Professor Emeritus before he was elected to his present office. After formally inaugurating ‘knowledge connectivity’ between the university and several affiliated colleges, Dr Kalam turned a teacher in a teleconference programme, interacting with students and exhorting them to think because “thinking is progress.”

In the presence of the President, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa inaugurated a ‘telemedicine network’, a joint effort by Anna University and the Apolo Hospitals Group with government backing. The objective is to extend high-quality health facilities to students at engineering colleges and the neighbouring community throughout Tamil Nadu.

Dr Kalam lauded the vision of Ms Jayalalithaa to make the state the country’s top performer and said it could be realised through hard work and innovation. Tamil Nadu could then become a “knowledge society,” he added.

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