Posted on August 6th, 2015

By Dr. Tilak S. Fernando

 Dr. Abdul Kalam, who was one of India’s most respected leaders and the 11th President, answered the inescapable call last week from above suddenly. He was considered as an outstanding statesman India ever produced.

Dr. Kalam was also regarded as the ‘missile man of India who strongly advocated ‘an action plan to develop his Motherland into a ‘knowledge based super power’.  Despite India’s recognition as number one in production, and in remote sensing satellites, second largest producer of wheat, rice and millions of such other achievements, Dr. Kalam was often baffled by the fact why the Indian media was obsessed and hell bent in projecting and engaged on negative reporting prominently, viz failures, disasters, deaths, sickness and terrorism!

Dr. Kalam was a human being with an invincible disposition. He often questioned as to why the Indians were so downbeat as a nation and so gripped with foreign consumer products such as TVs, shirts and foreign technology with a fixation on everything imported!  He always questioned about such paranoia and was eager to know whether Indians realise their self-respect that often comes with self-reliance!

He became an open critic on the Indian Government for being inefficient by highlighting that laws were too antiquated; talked openly about the people who moan about the municipality not picking up garbage, who fuss about phones not working properly, for railways becoming a joke, national airline becoming the worst in the world or mails never reaching their destinations. In short  the whole country has been fed to the dogs and it was in the absolute pits”. He criticised.

On a general analysis on the society as well he was on record stating: you complain…! complain ….!! and complain …!!!” but  what do you do about it?”. As travellers how do you behave when you go abroad? In Singapore no one dare throws cigarette ends  on to the road or eat inside any stores or in  Dubai you wouldn’t dare eat in public during Ramadan!  You would not exceed your motor vehicle speed beyond 55 mph (88 km/h) in Washington or tell the traffic cop, Jaanta hai main kaun hoon (Do you know who I am…..? I am the son of so and so – take your two bucks and get lost. Why dont you spit Pan (chewed beetle) on the streets of Tokyo? You wouldn’t chuck an empty king coconut shell anywhere other than into the garbage pail on the beaches in Australia and New Zealand!

If  people  can respect and conform to a foreign system in other countries,  why are they unable to be disciplined in their own country, and instead start throwing papers and cigarettes ends on the road the moment they touch home ground? If people can be involved and appreciative citizens in an alien country why cannot they  be the same at home….?” Such were the meaningful  gems he threw openly at the society.


Touching on politics, Dr. Kalam explained how people choose governments and after that forfeited their responsibility by sitting back wanting to be pampered and expecting the governments to do everything for them whilst neglecting their contribution as citizens. People expect the governments to clean up, but they are not going to stop chucking garbage all over the place, neither they will stop to pick up a stray piece of paper and throw it into a bin!

What does a system consist of?  He paused. Definitely not you and I”, he answered. When it came to make a positive contribution to the system he always said,  we lock ourselves along with our families into a safe cocoon and look into the distance at countries far away and wait for a Mr. Clean to come along and work miracles with a majestic magic wand or we flee the country. Like lazy cowards hounded by fears then we run to America to bask in their glory and praise the American system. When New York becomes insecure we run to England. When England experiences unemployment we decide to take the next flight out to the Gulf. When the Gulf is war struck we demand to be rescued and brought home by the government”. Everybody is out to abuse and rape the country but nobody thinks of feeding the system. Our conscience is mortgaged to money, he constantly bemoaned

Dr. Kalam did not confine his ideas and statements to himself or to his native India, but with the intention of making his voice heard and to depict such vital advices act as a role model for the whole world, he once concentrated his  thoughts into a short  a email message which went viral throughout the world , including the writer’s email box .

Dr. Kalam’s demise is not only a loss to India but to the whole modern world where his thought processes will remain immortal enabling every country to emulate them.


One Response to “Opinion  Column – REMEMBERING DR. ABDUL KALAM”

  1. Ananda-USA Says:

    There is ONE, AND ONLY ONE “solution” to the problem of Indian fishermen fishing in Sri Lankan waters … and that is FOR INDIA to ENFORCE ITS INTERNATIONAL MARITIME OBLIGATIONS by PREVENTING its fishermen from crossing into and fishing in Sri Lankan waters, just as Sri Lanka does with respect to HER OWN fishermen!

    Why is that such an ABSTRUSE, COMPLEX, and DIFFICULT TO UNDERSTAND concept we need to DISCUSS interminably? Forget the SELF-SERVING local Indian politics in DRavida-Nadu, and ENFORCE the INTERNATIONAL MARITIME LAW!

    India MUST STOP BULLYING Sri Lanka into allowing its Fishermen to POACH in Sri Lankan waters FOR WHATEVER REASON!

    If India has DENUDED its OWN WATER of Fish by HABITUAL OVERFISHING … that is India’s Prerogative and Right to do so.

    However, having DEPLETED its own Fish Resource by overfishing, India has no right to DEPLETE Sri Lanka’s fisheries!

    Sri Lanka … is ENFORCING its own Fishing Rights to protect the livlihood of its own citizens by using the Sri Lanka Navy, and the Coast Guard to ARREST, PROSECUTE and PUNISH the violaters, and CONFISCATE their BOATS and FISHING GEAR as the MOST EFFECTIVE DETERRENCE against the boat owners who deploy the boats and PROFIT from the ILLEGAL FISHING!

    All these “DISCUSSIONS” with Sri Lanka are geared to EXTRACTING CONCESSIONS from Sri Lanka to GIVE UP ITS FISH RESOURCES in part or as a whole! DON’T DO IT!

    Please tell India that THERE IS NOTHING TO TALK ABOUT, and ask hem to ENFORCE THE LAW and CONTROL their own fisherman in their OWN country! SHORT, SWEET & EFFECTIVE!

    Indian government to find a solution to fishermen issue with Sri Lanka

    Aug 06, New Delhi: The central Indian government Wednesday informed parliament that it is working towards evolving a permanent solution for Tamil fishermen issue and that the External Affairs Ministry is engaged in discussions with Sri Lanka.

    Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkaiah Naidu has described the fishermen issue as a serious and recurring one and Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj is taking necessary interest and engaged in discussions with Sri Lanka from time to time.

    Minister Naidu made this assurance after the AIADMK’s P Venugopal raised the issue of frequent attacks on Tamil Fishermen by Sri Lankan Navy, New Indian Express reported.

    “Over the years and months, these attacks have become very frequent and severe. From capture, detention and harassment of our fishermen, now a state has come when they are shot at sight. It is criminal, inhuman and unjustified action by Sri Lanka,” Venugopal said in Lok Sabha. He also slammed the Centre for not condemning the statement of Sri Lankan Prime Minister against Tamil fishermen. Venugopal said despite raising this issue on several occasions in the House, no concrete action had been taken by the government.

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