Excerpts from the book ‘Ignited Minds‘ Written By A.P.J. Abdul Kalamji


Another student asked me a question for which again I had no ready answer. He said, ‘Sir, big leaders in any field don’t come and talk to us. We see our Prime Minister often going to Chennai, Lucknow, and many places. But he never comes here. We want him; we want to talk to him.’ I was impressed by this urge to communicate with the country’s leaders. I said, when I reach Delhi, I will tell your dream to the leaders and your dream will come true. 


I later narrated this to the Prime Minister. He conceded the point and said, ‘Children don’t talk to me any more. Maybe the security cordon has created a separation.’ I request our leaders in different fields to interact more with the children of the country for a better understanding of their own purpose in life as also for helping create a better future for our children. 


I have visited Jharkhand a number of times after its formation. Every time I visit it, I am struck by the tremendous resources that wait to be harnessed in the state, which will multiply its wealth manifold. At the Sri Ramakrishna High School, Bokaro, I addressed a gathering of about 3,000 students and saw their creativity on display in an exhibition of their paintings, toys and other items made by them. In my conversation with them, one student asked me, ‘In Jharkhand, it is green everywhere. We have forests, streams and hills. Why is it that we have a desert in Rajasthan?’ 


The question reminded me of a similar one in Assam: Why cannot the Brahmaputra’s waters be taken to Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan? ‘You know, twenty years ago, you would not have seen much cultivation in Rajasthan. But once the Indira Gandhi Canal was constructed agriculture became possible in many places. It is possible for man to transform the desert into a fertile land.’ I repeated what I had told the student in Assam. ‘It has to be one of the greatest missions of India to connect rivers so that water can reach many water-starved states. Visionary action is needed. When you grow up you will probably be part of reconstructing this nation and giving shape to these thoughts.’ 


One child came to me with a serious expression and asked, ‘Sir, will your Agni missile cross the ocean and reach America?’ 


I was a little startled by this thought. ‘For us no country is our enemy to send Agni there. Particularly America is our friend. Agni symbolizes our strength. It shows that India has all the capabilities.’