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Abdul Kalam inspires both teachers and students

15 October is World Students Day

The birthday of our former President Abdul Kalam, the 15th October, is celebrated as the World Students Day.

Stamp in the name of Kalam

The United Nations, in 2010 has declared October 15 as the World Student’s Day as a tribute to Abdul Kalam, the missile man of India, who was also fond of meeting the students and inspiring them with his speeches.  He believed that the students are the future, and they are the minds that shape our country’s nature and future.

Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam was born on 15 October 1931 in Rameshwaram of Madras Presidency of the then British India.  He dedicated himself to the defence of India working with DRDO and ISRO as an aeronautical engineer. He is famous as ‘Missile Man’ of India as he played major role in India’s Ballistic Missiles development. As a scientist, he played a significant role in the 1998 when India tested its nuclear weapons. From 2002 to 2007, he served term as the 11th President of India.

He authored ‘Wings of Fire,’ ‘Ignited Minds and ‘India 2020: A Vision for the New Millennium’ which are inspiring books. In ‘Wings of Fire,’ he wrote: “All Birds find shelter during a rain. But Eagle avoids rain by flying above the Clouds. Problems are common, but attitude makes the difference.”

On being asked how he wanted to be remembered, the former President said, “Teacher”. Kalam had set himself a goal of interacting with 1,00,000 students every month to help them realize their dreams. He said: “One of the very important characteristics of a student is to question. Let the students ask questions.“While children are struggling to be unique, the world around them is trying all means to make them look like everybody else.”

On another occasion he advised: “Don’t fear failing in the first attempt because even the successful Math starts with zero only.”

Some of his famous quotes are:

“You cannot change your future, but you can change your habits, and surely your habits will change your future.”

“Dream, Dream, Dream. Dreams transform into thoughts and thoughts result in action.”

“Wisdom is a weapon to ward off destruction; It is an inner fortress which enemies cannot destroy.”

“Look at the sky. we are not alone. The whole universe is friendly to us and conspires only to give the best to those who dream and work.”

“All of us do not have equal talent. But, all of us have an equal opportunity to develop our talents.”

“Thinking Should become your CAPITAL ASSET, no matter Whatever ups and downs You Come across in your Life.”

“A renaissance is imperative for us to once again become a knowledge superpower rather than simply providing cheap labor in areas of high technology.”

“Success is when your signature turns into your autograph.”

This year the world students day will be celebrated with the theme of “Learning for people, planet, prosperity and peace”, which reaffirms the role of education as a fundamental right for public good. It also enables the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. He believed that the“Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world” reminds us the power students can possess through education.

He wanted to be with students till the end of life, and as he wished, his end came when he was addressing students of IIM Shillong on 27 July 2015. Being in Delhi as Central Information Commission I had an opportunity to visit his house and pay my tributes to departed soul. Earlier I got a great chance of being on dais as member of Academic Council on first Convocation of NALSAR University of Law in 2003, and participate in a seminar addressed by him in Ramoji Film City in the same year. He was honoured with the Padma Bhushan in 1981, the Padma Vibhushan in 1990 and ultimately with the Bharat Ratna in 1997 for his work with ISRO and DRDO and his role as a scientific advisor to the Indian government. He was ‘Bharat Ratna’ before he became President of India.

Since 2010, the United Nations Organisation (UNO) has marked October 15 as World Student’s Day acknowledging his efforts towardsdevelopment of education and inspiring students. The theme of last year’s world students’ day was ‘Learning for people, planet, prosperity, and peace’.

Earlier Students day

Earlier, the international students day was celebrated on 17 November, the day when Nazis stormed in 1939 Czech Universities and several students were killed while hundreds of them were taken to concentration camps. University of Prague mourns nine killed by Nazis and 1200 students sent to concentration camps. All the universities were closed. They suppressed the demonstrations on 28th October to commemorate the anniversary of the independence of Czechoslovak Republic in 1918. A student was shot during this demonstration and his funeral procession turned into a protest rally against the Nazi regime. It is in this context 1200 students were arrested, execution of nine students and professors without any trial.

On this World Students Day, the School of Law, Mahindra University has organized a webinar in association with Hyderabad District Legal Services Authority today to explain the duties and responsibilities of the students towards society and the democratic governance.

Prof. M. Sridhar Acharyulu
Prof. M. Sridhar Acharyulu
Author is Dean, Professor of law at Mahindra University at Hyderabad and former Central Information Commissioner. He published a number books in English and Telugu.


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