Saturday, June 25, 2005

From the President’s kalam

APJ Abdul KalamAPJ Abdul Kalam’s latest book The Life Tree, a collection of poems, covers the journey of his life. The selection below gives us a peep into his inspiring world, marked by simplicity and love for nature, people and the country.

Song of Youth


As a young citizen of India,

Armed with technology, knowledge and love for my nation,

I realise, small aim is a crime.


I will work and sweat for a great vision,

The vision of transforming India into a developed nation,

Powered by economic strength and a strong value system.


I am one of the citizens of the billion;

Only the vision will ignite the billion souls.

It has entered into me.


The ignited soul compared to any resource

Is the most powerful resource on the earth,

Above the earth and under the earth.


I will keep the lamp of knowledge burning

To achieve the vision — Developed India.

If we work and sweat for the great vision with ignited minds,

The transformation leading to the birth

Of a vibrant, developed India will happen.


I pray to the Almighty:

May the divine peace with beauty enter into our people;

Happiness and good health blossom in our bodies, minds and souls.


Whispers of Jasmine


Breezy dawn, crackling birds,

Jasmine grove my walking track,

Fragrance in the air of this noisy alley,

Creepers dancing to tunes of cuckoos,

Gust of wind threw a strand on the path


Taken aback just for a moment

Bees are back, just about their work

Even on the fallen jasmine flowers.

Dreading that I might tread on the creeper

Gently I take a circuitous route.


Whispers from creeper touch my soul,

Halting my gait caring to listen

Toddler bud talking to mother:

Why should we blossom asks that bud,

Plucked and treated shabbily by humans.


Hearing the child laughed the mother

Laughed and laughed and laughed:

Look, my child, why do birds sing,

See that lawn, peacocks dancing,

Jumping deer dancing to winds,


Water birds washing their feathers

As they go gliding fashionably on water —

All these beauties adding to scene.

Joyous nature’s bounteous ways

Enable humans to listen to their heart.




When I flip through the pages of my boyhood

They get tossed about like Wordsworth’s daffodils,

Angelic beauty of nostalgic seize

And beautiful spring flowers dancing in breeze.


Bluish sea waves breaching the golden shore,

With silvery foam dressing their leaping fine hands.

My father was crafting a seafaring boat

And we used to walk on the Rameswaram beach.


Taste of that padani still sweetens my soul,

Booming conch shells and pilgrims’ pious walk

Act like fragrant breeze of divine hearts in motion

And my father still concentrating on carving his boat.


Piece after piece he works on the boat form,

Like praying to achieve divinely fine art.

Shoots of the seed, nature blossoms to flowers;

His craft was in unison with sea waves and nature.


The floating boats, the surging waves,

Widening horizons and breathtaking sky,

All of them were one and alike in his eyes:

Boats are just playthings for those who venture to sea.


Fish and sea creatures surrounding that boat

To appreciate the art and kiss on its forehead.

Sea, birds, fish and humans are all but one

And they just share the sea home on earth.


Fifty years later, the scene is quite different.

Fine art isn’t created but just manufactured,

Soul of the creator nor does it manifest.

Humans and nature got separated somewhere....

Motorboats dissecting the heart of the sea line,

Driving the fish hordes terrified all around.

Even the sun dawns here fearing the fog,

Like a frightened child scanning featureless darkness.

Who will merge humans to peace of the Lord?

Nature and humans were created together,

Together they can govern this world,

Then only peace and bliss will be here!


Excerpted with permission from the publishers, Penguin-Viking India.