“Do you want to fly?” asked Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam to hundreds of school and college students assembled at the Children’s Science Congress of the ongoing annual session of Indian Science Congress at Bhubaneswar, in a bid to ‘ignite the minds’ of his young audience.
And in his irrepressible style, Dr. Kalam asked the students to join him to say,
“I am born with potential
I am born with goodness
I am born with ideas and dreams
I am born with greatness
I am born with wings
So…I am not meant for crawling
Because I have wings…I will fly…I will fly…I will fly.”
Dr Kalam exhorted the youth, who looked wearied – in fact Dr. Kalam had to remind them, if they had at all had their breakfast and coaxed them to be more energetically interactive with him – to set a great aim to live, continuously acquire knowledge and work hard to achieve the aim. He told his young audience that inventions and discoveries emanates only from creative minds that works constantly.
“Imagining is the beginning of a creation,” said Dr. Kalam and “questioning mind is the fundamental for a scientist.”
But the question-answer session with school students at the end of the opening ceremony came as a cropper. As students jostled to get an opportunity to fire their imagination to the man who tried to ignite it, only a few could be fortunate. And even those fortunate, did not get any answer to their questions.
For example, one questioner asked whether it was worthwhile spending millions testing missiles, when a sizable population of India remains hungry. “You can select,” was the answer.
Another student asked if he has any solution to save the marine lives affected by series of missile launches from Chandipur-at-sea, off Orissa coast, Dr. Kalam preferred to explain the difference between a launch vehicle and missile.
For those select few, who thought fortunate to interact with Dr. Abdul Kalam, it was disappointing – the man who wanted them to be inquisitive, himself tried to deflect from their “young thoughts”.