Keeping The ‘Kalam’ In Hand
A passionate engineer. A reluctant politician. A man who was so intellectually and empathetically connected with the youth of this nation that his birthday is regarded as World Students Day.
A tragic news detonated across the internet: The People’s President had passed away due to cardiac arrest. Knowing this, the social media flooded with remorse, venerations and even stories of the man’s intelligence, accomplishments and — above all — his kindness.
This isn’t one of those stories. There’s plenty of them elsewhere.
I sometimes wonder if he worried about the cruelty of mortality. I’ve been a die-hard fan of those who had great dreams but died because they could accomplish half of them, and when most of those dreams are born out of compassion, for the welfare and development of the people — such as igniting the passion for science in the youths, making it accessible for masses to do amazing things — they knew that those dreams mattered MORE than their own lives.
It was never about what he has achieved, but always about what he wanted to give back. Even after his tenure as a president, he had been dreaming of leaving a better a world behind. His last tweet definitely shows us that:
His kindness was immeasurable. Besides giving India its missile program, he wanted to see the oncoming of an enlightened age in this country. He was trying to find new solutions for the country’s energy requirements, and was even proud of the Solar Plant at Kannauj. He held lectures for children to inspire them to dream beyond what conventions expect them to. He wanted to share his love of science with pretty much everybody he ever met. He, even as a busy President, always made time for budding teenagers who dreamed of being scientists, talking to them about their ideas on how to make this world better and take them seriously enough to take notes. He never let that pen down.
During his last years, he was extremely concerned about Climate Change and its various ill effects.
Sure, we’re all pretty sad that he’s gone. Facebook is being flooded with plenty “RIPs” dedicated to him as I type this, but here’s the thing: Kalam did not live to remain alive. He lived wanting to give away an ideal for the masses. Bodies may die, but ideas don’t. Breaths may cease, but concerns don’t. He had a vision for the year 2020 and, whether you agree with his ideas or no, we can all safely assume that’s where we all want to see ourselves.
So what is the one way we can truly honor Dr. Abdul Kalam? Keep that dream and passion alive. We honor his concerns, his visions, and do our part to create what he idealized. We continue to share the love of science, continue to play our part to make this world better. Take a couple of courses, such as for sustainable development (they’re free, so what the heck), follow the ISRO on Twitter, and support our national scientists and science literacy in India.
And most importantly, perhaps gift a book called Reignited that Abdul Kalam left behind to wide-eyed children and dreamers you know. After all, somewhere in this little subcontinent there’s a son of a boatman and a daughter of a tea-seller trying to find their way across the horizons, build robots or even cure cancer. The People’s President is no longer there for them, so they will need someone to listen to their ideas and support their zeal. They will need someone to help them discover their potential.
Because dreams aren’t meant to be lived and died for. Dreams are meant to be shared. Dreams are meant to be given away, and — like Kalam and other scientists out there — we all have a collective responsibility of sharing them and celebrating it. So let’s continue to inspire people to be empowered with sciences and arts as long as we live.
Don’t keep that kalam down just yet. There’s still a lot of ink — and a lot of ideas and determination — left in us.