Vision for becoming a developed nation
World War II resulted in nuclear warfare, killing millions of people but gave birth to the United Nations. The code of war ethics and human rights in war was evolved, symbolising the elevation of human civilisation standards and concern for fellow human beings, says A.P.J. Abdul Kalam.
THE evolution of human society has followed the path from agricultural society to industrial, information and to the present-day knowledge society. In agricultural and industrial societies, humans and machines dominated warfare. In the information and knowledge society, intellectual capacity would dominate. Intellectual domination is represented by ideologies, principles and faiths. Whenever they cross paths between individuals, societies and nations, the human rights are violated. The suffocation and loss of human rights by the present generation of people due to the backwardness-induced economic status or pushed down by caste differentiation or frustrated by denial of timely justice at an affordable cost is the right cauldron from which revolution will start giving birth to a standard human being.
When the child is empowered by the parents, at various phases of growth, the child is transformed into a responsible citizen. When the teacher is empowered with knowledge and experience, good young human beings with value systems take shape. When an individual or a team is empowered with technology, transformation to higher potential for achievement is assured. When the leader of any institution empowers his or her people, leaders are born who can change the nation in multiple areas. When women are empowered, society with stability is assured. When the political leaders of the nation empower the people through visionary policies, the prosperity of the nation is certain. When religion transforms into a spiritual force, people become enlightened citizen with a value system. The road map for graduating into a standard human being will have to include.
a) education with a value system.
b) religions graduating into spirituality.
c) removal of poverty and an economically strong nation.
d) responsible judiciary and human rights.
I believe a standard human being can be created when all these four elements are properly combined.
Education with a value system
The best part for a person is his or her learning period in childhood. The prime learning environment is from the fifth to the 16th year. Of course, at home love and affection are imparted. But again most of the time in a day is spent in preparing school’s homework and studying, eating, playing and sleeping. Hence, the school hours for children are the best time for learning and need the best of environment and mission-oriented learning with value system. During this stage, they need value-based education in school and at home to become good citizens. This reminds me of Bestolozzys (a great teacher) saying, "Give me a child for seven years. Afterwards, let the God or devil take the child. They cannot change the child." For parents and teachers, the school campus and home have to have an integrated mission: education with a value system. If the child misses the value-based education of 25,000 hours in the school campus, no government or society can establish a transparent society or a society with integrity. Up to the age of 17 years, the father, the mother and the teacher lead a child to become an enlightened citizen. If the child misses the period of learning for the reasons as it is today, the nation loses an enlightened citizen.
Religion transforming into spirituality: The universal mind
I would like to recall an incident which happened four decades ago. As you all know, Prof Vikram Sarabhai, the visionary of space programme in the country, is well known for his cosmic ray research area that led to evolving of the space research programme for the nation. Both Homi Bhabha and Vikram Sarabhai were looking for a site to establish a space research station in the equatorial region. These two great scientists visited a number of places. Thumba in Kerala was selected by the scientific community for space research as it was near the equatorial region and ideally suited for ionospheric research.
When Vikram Sarabhai
visited Thumba, the locality had a series of villages and thousands of
fishermen were living in that area. It also had a beautiful ancient
church, St. Mary Magdalene Church, Pallithura, and a Bishop’s House.
Vikram Sarabhai met many politicians and bureaucrats to get the place
for the work of space science research. It did not move further because
of the nature of the place. He was asked to see the Bishop of Trivandrum,
at that time in 1962, His Excellency Rct Rev Dr Peter Bernard Pereira.
It was a Saturday when Vikram Sarabhai met the Bishop. The Bishop smiled
and asked him to meet him the next day, i.e. Sunday. In the morning
service, the Bishop told the congregation, "My children, I have a
famous scientist with me who wants our church and the place I live for
the work of space science research. Dear children, science seeks truth
by reasoning. In one way, science and spiritualism seek the same divine
blessings for doing good for the people. My children, can we give the
God’s abode for a scientific mission?" There was a chorus of ‘Amen’
from the congregation and the whole church reverberated.
Subsequently, the big event took place in 1962. His Excellency Rct Rev Dr Peter Bernard Pereira, the Bishop of Trivandrum, took the noble decision to dedicate the church in recognition of the national goal for the establishment of the Indian Space Research Organisation at Pallithura, Thumba. That was the church where we had our design centre, started rocket assembly, design of filament winding machine for FRP product and the Bishop’s house was our scientists’ place. Later, the Thumba Equatorial Rocket Launching Station (TERLS) led to the establishment of Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) and multiple space centres throughout the country.
When I think of this event, I can see how enlightened spiritual and scientific leaders, all converge towards reverence of the human life. Today, among us, Vikram Sarabhai is not there, Rev Dr Peter Bernard Pereira is not there but those who are responsible for creation and making the system flower and blossom will themselves be a different kind of a flower as described in the Bhagavadgita: "See the flower, how generously it distributes perfume and honey. It gives to all, gives freely of its love. When its work is done, it falls away quietly. Try to be like the flower, unassuming despite all its qualities." What a beautiful message for all generation of this nation, on integration of minds and universal mind. Above all, we see a great scientist and religious leader transforming into a spiritual force and spreading it to the young: good human beings do live in our country.
Removal of poverty through vision for the nation
People, who are economically or socially in the lower strata, are vulnerable to human rights exploitation by those who are in the higher strata. One way to reduce this exploitation is to narrow this divide. In our country, about 300 million people are below the poverty line. After five decades of progress, the aspirations of people are mounting because they want that India should become a developed country. This is the second vision for the nation. How can we prepare ourselves to meet this challenge? India has to be economically and commercially powerful with near self-reliance in defence. Our target should be a GDP growth of 9-11 per cent annually. People below poverty line to be reduced to nearly zero. This would also include providing of sufficient employment opportunities to the physically and mentally challenged. How are we going to achieve this? Technology Vision 2020 is a pathway to realise this cherished mission.
Five mega projects to
transform the nation
The Technology Vision 2020 consisted of 17 well-linked technology packages in core sectors. We have identified five areas where India has a core competence for an integrated action. These are:
Agriculture and food processing.
Reliable and quality electric power and surface transport for all parts of the country.
Education and healthcare.
Information and communication technology.
These five areas are closely inter-related and if well would lead to national, food, economic and security. A strong partnership among the research and development, academics, industry and the community as a whole with government departments will be essential to accomplish the vision for a developed India.
Majesty of human rights and judiciary
Every citizen in the country has a right to live with dignity; every citizen has a right to aspire for distinction. Availability of a large number of opportunities to resort to just and fair means in order to attain that dignity and distinction, is what democracy is all about. That is what our Constitution is all about. That is what makes life wholesome and worth living in a true and vibrant democracy. At this point, I would like to remind all of us that at social levels it is necessary to work for unity of minds.
The increasing intolerance
for views of others and increasing contempt about ways of lives of
others or their religions or the expressions of these differences
through lawless violence against people cannot be justified in any
context. All of us have to work hard and do everything to make our
behaviours civilised to protect the rights of every individual. That is
the very foundation of the democratic values, which I believe is our
civilisational heritage and is the very soul of our nation. The system
cannot be a mute witness to this inhuman act.