This was also told in the book, A Boy and His Dream: Three Stories from the Childhood of Abdul Kalam by Vinita Krishna. The house Kalam was born in can still be found on the Mosque street at Rameswaram, abutting his brother's curio shop. This has become a point-of-call for tourists who seek out the place. Kalam grew up in an intimate relationship with nature, and he says in Wings of Fire that he never could imagine that water could be so powerful a destroying force as that he witnessed when he was six. That was in 1934 when a cyclonic storm swept away the Pamban bridge and a trainload of passengers with it and also Kalam's native village, Dhanushkodi.
Honours He has received honorary doctorates from as many as thirty universities . The Government of India has honoured him with the nation's highest civilian honours: the Padma Bhushan in 1981; Padma Vibhushan in 1990; and the Bharat Ratna in 1997. Kalam is the Fourth President of India to have been honoured with a Bharat Ratna before being elected to the highest office, the other three being Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan ,V. V. Giri and Zakir Hussain. He is also the first scientist and first bachelor to occupy Rashtrapati Bhavan. Referred to as the "People's President", Kalam is often considered amongst India's greatest president going by a winnnig poll conducted by news channel CNN-IBN for India's Best President.
Political views Something of Kalam's probable views on certain issues can be surmised from positions espoused by him in the past. His book "India 2020" strongly advocates an action plan to develop India into a knowledge superpower and into a developed nation by the year 2020. Kalam is credited with the view that India ought to take a more assertive stance in international relations; he regards his work on India's nuclear weapons program as a way to assert India's place as a future superpower. Kalam's belief in the power of technology to resolve society's problems and his views of these problems as a result of inefficient distribution of resources is modernistic. He also sees science and technology as ideology-free areas and emphasizes the cultivation of scientific temper and entrepreneurial drive. In this, he finds a lot of support among India's new business leaders like the founders of Infosys and Wipro, (leading Indian IT corporations) who began their careers as technology professionals much in the same way Kalam did.
Inspiring Thoughts by Kalam
- "Thinking should become your capital asset, no matter whatever ups and downs you come across in your life."
- "Thinking is progress. Non-thinking is stagnation of the individual, organisation and the country. Thinking leads to action. Knowledge without action is useless and irrelevant. Knowledge with action, converts adversity into prosperity."
- "When you speak, speak the truth; perform when you promise; discharge your trust.... Withhold your hands from striking, and from taking that which is unlawful and bad..."
- "What actions are most excellent? To gladden the heart of a human being, to feed the hungry, to help the afflicted to lighten the sorrow of the sorrowful and to remove the wrongs of injured..."
- "All God's creatures are His family; and he is the most beloved of God who tries to do most good to God's creatures."
- "Away! Fond thoughts, and vex my soul no more! Work claimed my wakeful nights, my busy days Albeit brought memories of Rameswaram shore Yet haunt my dreaming gaze!"
- "I will not be presumptuous enough to say that my life can be a role model for anybody; but some poor child living in an obscure place in an underprivileged social setting may find a little solace in the way my destiny has been shaped. It could perhaps help such children liberate themselves from the bondage of their illusory backwardness and hopelessness?.."
- "My worthiness is all my doubt His Merit - all my fear- Contrasting which my quality Does however appear " "Be more dedicated to making solid achievements than in running after swift but synthetic happiness". "Climbing to the top demands strength, whether it is to the top of or to the top of your career."
- "English is necessary as at present original works of science are in English. I believe that in two decades times original works of science will start coming out in our languages. Then we can move over like the Japanese".
- "Great dreams of great dreamers are always transcended".
- "I have this big library at home and my favourite poets are Milton, Walt Whitman and Rabindranath Tagore. I write poetry too".
- "Do we not realize that self respect comes with self reliance? "
- "As a child of God, I am greater than anything that can happen to me".
- "the capacities of the spirit of inquiry, creativity, entrepreneurial and moral leadership among students and become their role model".
- "I was willing to accept what I couldn't change".
- "If a country is to be corruption free and become a nation of beautiful minds, I strongly feel there are three key societal members who can make a difference. They are the father, the mother and the teacher".
- "It means, people who are in high and responsible positions, if they go against righteousness, righteousness itself will get transformed into a destroyer".
- "Let us sacrifice our today so that our children can have a better tomorrow".