His curls were compared to Dhoni’s; he loved them. His love for children was compared to Chacha Nehru’s; he interacted with them.
Young at 71 when he took the chair, he was young and enthusiastic till his last at an age of 83.
Coming from a humble background, this man went on to be a source of inspiration to many kids. He led them on wings of fire, his love for kids took him among children and students time and again. And that is where he breathed his last!
Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, People’s President, was a lot more than a president. It wasn’t just the inspiration, but also the way he interacted with children that endeared him to them. Whether or not he’d interact and answer to the questions of media, he made sure to interact with children.
Here are some of the innocent yet smart questions that children had asked him, and the replies that they received from him:
Q. Do we really need to view everything from a scientific side for proper understanding? (Manisha, Oxford Sr. Sec School)
A. Yes. Science is the only way man can progress fast.
Q. What is your outlook on the superstitions and religious beliefs in India over the advancing pace of science and technology? (Namrata Gautam, Institution Oxford Sr. Sec School, Delhi)
A. As education spreads and prosperity increases, people will appreciate the importance of having scientific thinking. As a result, superstitions will slowly become less. Religious beliefs in the form of spiritualism are not bad.
Q. You are the champion in nuclear physics. I want to ask you why are we making missiles, which have more harm than benefit. India is a great country, which has a great and powerful army. So far defensive purpose we can use the power of our army. Is the purpose to make missiles only to increase the grace of India in the world? (Priya Aggarwal)
A. With our neighbourhood having nuclear weapons, we cannot sit in Tapas.
Q. What role can we play towards progress and prosperity of the country? (Neeti Jain, RPVV, Gandhi Nagar, Delhi)
A. As students, you must study hard and excel in your work for good future. Also, you can do two other things. Plant five saplings in your neighbourhood, go to the surrounding villages if you are living in a city and teach five people how to read and write in your spare time.
Q. How can Science help in helping the betterment of human life? (Soumal Kant Joshi, Sr Research Fellow, GB Pant Institute of Himalayan Environment and Development, Almora, Uttarakhand)
A. Science can translate research into applications thus bringing costs down of things, which can be of practical use for the common person, especially those in rural areas.
Q. As we know that in some developed countries electricity is being generated by converting waste materials into energy. What is being done in this matter in our country where majority of our villagers go without electricity even today? (Samiya Razique, Jamia Senior Secondary School, N. Delhi)
A. There are some such projects, which have been undertakan on a small scale, for example in Andhra Pradesh. I am trying to push this idea. It will not only be able to provide electricity but also take care of the solid waste in our cities.
Q. India is a hot country. Don't you think that a strong appreciation is needed to develop green power in the country? For that individual to individual effort is necessary. Do you think that a common Indian is committed to contribute to the country's green power? (Upma Sharma, Nava Hind Sr. Secondary School, N. Delhi)
A. Let us not look to the next person. If each one contributes then the sum will be large. Let?s not wait for others to make the start. Lot of research is going on in the field of green energy in India and there is positive development.
Q. When will e-education start in India? (Manju, RPVV, Suraj Mal Vihar)
A. E-education has already started in India in many places. India is one of the few countries in the world to have a dedicated satellite in space dedicated to e-education. It is called EDUSAT.
Q. When will India become a developed country like U.S.A. and how can the young generation contribute to it? (Anubha, Mother Divine Public School, Rohini, Delhi)
A. We have a vision to become a developed nation by the year 2020 through focussed action in the following areas:- (1) Women's education and Healthcare (2)Agriculture and Food Processing (3) Information and Communication Technology (4) Infrastructure Development and (5) Self-Reliance in critical technolgies. The younger generation can help by concentrating on their studies and excelling in them. Also in your spare time, say on the weekends you can teach five people in the surrounding rural areas like villages to read and write. You can also plant five saplings in and around your home or in your school and take care of them.
Q. Why does India need to still depend upon America for nuclear fuel? (Ankit, Mother Divine Public School, Rohini, Delhi)
A. We do not have enough uranium sources of our own. But we are not dependent on just one nation, we have sources from others also.
Q. Do you think that the common man is benefited of the technological and scientific advancement? (Juhi, Kendriya Vidhyalaya, R.K.Puram, Delhi)
A. Definitely. The benefits of technological and scientific advancement is there to see in the lives of the common people. From weather forecasting and remote sensing for the farmer to the mobile phone for the middle class.
Q. What has been the biggest achievement for India in the past 58 years? (Ayushi Nigam, Central Academy, Lucknow, UP)
A. Our farmers are able to produce 200 million tonnes of food-grains and our nation is self-sufficient in food. Our ICT sector is one of the top sector in the country, we have capability to launch any type of satellite, we have electric power generation through nuclear reactors, our automobile sector is booming, pharma sector is producing state-of-the-art medicines including traditional medicines, in defence we have launched Agni and Prithivi and a Combat aircraft is flying. All these are big achievements of the nation.
Q. How can we develop India with science? How can we integrate scientific knowledge into our day-to-day life? (Ankit Kumar, Central Academy, Lucknow, UP)
A. Science is finding significant application in all walks of life whether it is TV, Radio, communication systems, household appliances etc. In addition science is applied by the farmers for improving productivity of the farm, fishermen to know the availability of fish in a particular area through satellite information, weather forecasting in every area of human activity. It has to be deliberately used more vigorously so that the scientific knowledge reaches our villages more and benefit in their day-to-day activities.
Q. Respected uncle, I am a 8 years old girl residing in a remote place of Jharkhand named 'Dakra'. This region is MCC infected and frequent incidents of violence take place in this region. I think that “Corruption” and 'faith to distorted philosophy' is the region behind this act of terror. What govt is doing to eradicate corruption from society? (Riya Sinha Std IV Ursuline Convent School, Khalari, Jharkhand)
A. I believe, corruption in the society can be eliminated in two ways. 1. We elect right representatives to legislatures and parliament. 2. Corruption free society starts from a righteous home. In my view corruption can be eliminated only by three people namely mother, father and elementary school teacher. As children you can also point out if anything is done wrong in your home. There will definitely be a change because of the love and affection of the child.