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Indian President Dr. Kalaam’s Message
Vasu Reddy from Chicago
Dr. A.P.J. Kalaam the current Indian president is an intellectual and seems to be focused on issues of education, reform and general issues that pertain to bringing global sanity into the Indian systems. Since he became the President he has consistently expressed his independent views without controversy. His stature as statesmen and a scientist, makes it easy to connect with all groups of Indians, and the simplicity of his messages are easy to get through the masses.
One of my new friends Seenu from Hyderabad sent me a full power point presentation by Dr. Kalaam and asked that I spread the message of our President. Seenu has visited the USA early summer and was supportive of my weekly exercises in writing, and his request prompts me to write on Dr. Kalaam’s presentation.
The presentation starts with “Hello Friends”. This is something we all do using “Dost” or “Bhai” as a common phrase and I was drawn that our President chose to introduce his presentation with “Hello Friends.”
After addressing his audience he starts the presentation with the below quote.
“I was in Hyderabad giving this lecture, when a 14 year old girl asked me for my autograph. I asked her what her goal in life is. She replied: I want to live in a developed India. For her, you and I will have to build this developed India. You must proclaim. India is not an under-developed nation; it is a highly developed nation.
Do you have 10 minutes? “
Immediately I was drawn to the phrase “live in a developed India”. I was thinking for goodness sake why not? And what do I have to do to help? Just a few days ago my uncle and aunt visited China and were astonished at the modernization China and my uncle first words were India needs fifty more years to get to the development where China’s infrastructure is today. If you reflect that China still is a closed society and India an open one, in fifty years China will make much more progress, and we still will count of the gap of years at that time to be much greater unless we make rapid and sustainable progress in India now. Don’t get me wrong as I did work quite a bit on India projects and continue to look at India as a source of personal and part professional destination. But we certainly need countrywide development not just one sector or the other, and planning to support the massive population.
The president continues with his presentation of ten minutes and asks a series of questions:
YOU say that our government is inefficient.
YOU say that our laws are too old.
YOU say that the municipality does not pick up the garbage.
YOU say that the phones don't work; the railways are a joke, the airline is the worst in the world, mails never reach their destination.
YOU say that our country has been fed to the dogs and is the absolute pits.
YOU say, say and say. What do YOU do about it? Take a person on his way to Singapore. Give him a name...YOURS. Give him a face...YOURS.
YOU walk out of the airport and you are at your International best. - In Singapore you don't throw cigarette butts on the roads or eat in the stores.
YOU are as proud of their Underground Links as they are.
You pay $5(approx. Rs.60) to drive through Orchard Road (equivalent of Mahim Causeway or Pedder Road) between 5 PM and 8 PM.
YOU comeback to the parking lot to punch your parking ticket if you have over-stayed, identity. In Singapore you don't say anything, DO YOU?
YOU wouldn't dare to eat in public during Ramadan, in Dubai.
YOU would not dare to go out without your head covered in Jeddah.
YOU would not dare to buy an employee of the telephone exchange in London at 10 pounds (Rs.650) a month to, "see to it that my STD and ISD calls are billed to someone else."
YOU would not dare to speed beyond 55 mph (88 km/h) in Washington and then tell the traffic cop, "Jaanta hai main kaun hoon (Do you know who I am?). I am so and so's son.
YOU wouldn't chuck an empty coconut shell anywhere other than the garbage pail on the beaches in Australia and New Zealand. Why don't YOU spit Paan on the streets of Tokyo? Why don't YOU use examination jockeys or buy fake certificates in Boston????? We are still talking of the same YOU.
YOU can respect and conform to a foreign system in other countries but cannot in your own. You throw papers and cigarettes on the road the moment you touch the Indian ground. If you can be an involved and appreciative citizen in an alien country, why cannot you be the same here in India?
Once in an interview, the famous Ex-municipal Commissioner of Bombay, Mr. Tinaikar, had a point to make. "Rich people's dogs are walked on the streets to leave their affluent droppings all over the place," he said. "And then the same people turn around to criticize and blame the authorities for inefficiency and dirty pavements. What do they expect the officers to do? Go down with a broom every time their dog feels the pressure in his bowels?
In America every dog owner has to clean up after his pet has done the job. Same in Japan. Will the Indian citizen do that here?" He's right. We go to the polls to choose a government and after that forfeit all responsibility. We sit back wanting to be pampered and expect the government to do everything for us whilst our contribution is totally negative. We expect the government to clean up but we are not going to stop chucking garbage all over the place nor are we going to stop to pickup a stray piece of paper and throw it in the bin. We expect the railways to provide clean bathrooms but we are not going to learn the proper use of bathrooms.
We want Indian Airlines and Air India to provide the best of food and toiletries but we are not going to stop pilfering at the least opportunity. This applies even to the staff that is known not to pass on the service to the public. When it comes to burning social issues like those related to women, dowry, girl child and others, we make loud drawing room protestations and continue to do the reverse at home. Our excuse? "It's the whole system which has to change, how will it matter if I alone forego my son's rights to a dowry.
" So who's going to change the system? What does a system consist of? Very conveniently for us it consists of our neighbors, other households, other cities, other communities and the government. But definitely not me and YOU. When it comes to us actually making a positive contribution to the system we lock ourselves along with our families into a safe cocoon and look into the distance at countries far away and wait for a Mr. Clean to come along & work miracles for us with a majestic sweep of his hand or we leave the country and run away.
Like lazy cowards hounded by our fears we run to America to bask in their glory and praise their system. - When New York becomes insecure we run to England.
When England experiences unemployment, we take the next flight out to the Gulf. - When the Gulf is war struck, we demand to be rescued and brought home by the Indian government. Everybody is out to abuse and rape the country. Nobody thinks of feeding the system. Our conscience is mortgaged to money.
Dear Indians, the article is highly thought inductive, calls for a great deal of introspection and pricks one's conscience too?..
I am echoing J.F. Kennedy's words to his fellow American to relate to Indians. "ASK WHAT WE CAN DO FOR INDIA AND DO WHAT HAS TO BE DONE TO MAKE INDIA WHAT AMERICA AND OTHER WESTERN COUNTRIES ARE TODAY" Let's do what India needs from us.
Forward this mail to each Indian for a change instead of sending Jokes or junk mails.
Thank You, Dr. Abdul Kalaam – “
Dr. Kalaam presents a long list of examples on behavior and asks for introspection. All of his examples are simple day-to-day behaviors exhibited by Indians and perhaps all other societies, but he is asking for a well-behaved Indian population and drawing parallels to a developed nation. In this case picks most developed nations and substantiates with example. Those of us who live outside India and all people who live in India certainly need to introspect and attempt to associate civic and social responsibility to development. Spread the word and introspect. Change is difficult and rapid changes are more difficult, but we can and work towards a developed and well-behaved India.
Source: Power Point presentation from the Indian President Dr. Abdul Kalaam.
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