March - April 2002   
  Vol. 2 No.2   
Know Your Founders Oddities, Eccentricities, Etc. Of Enduring Interest Corporate Commentary Back to Main Page Editorial

Why Are We So Negative?

I have three visions for India. In 3,000 years of our history people from all over the world have come and invaded us, captured our lands, conquered our minds. From Alexander onwards. The Greeks, the Turks, the Moguls, the Portuguese, the British, the French, the Dutch, all of them came and looted us, took over what was ours. Yet we have not done this to any other nation. We have not conquered anyone. We have not grabbed their land, their culture and their history, and tried to enforce our way of life on them. Why? Because we respect the freedom of others. That is why my first vision is that of FREEDOM.

My second vision for India is DEVELOPMENT. For fifty years we have been a developing nation. It is time we see ourselves as a developed nation. We are among top five nations of the world in terms of GDP. We have 10 per cent growth rate in most areas. Our poverty levels are falling. Our achievements are being globally recognised today. Yet we lack the self-confidence to see ourselves as a developed nation, self-reliant and self-assured. Isnít this incorrect?

I have a third vision. India must stand up to the world. Because I believe that unless India stands up to the world, no one will respect us. Only strength respects strength. We must be strong not only as a military power, but also as an economic power. Both must go hand-in-hand. My good fortune was to have worked with three great minds: Dr. Vikram Sarabhai of the Department of Space, Prof. Satish Dhawan, who succeeded him and Dr. Brahm Prakash, father of nuclear material. I was lucky to have worked with all three of them closely and consider this the great opportunity of my life.

Let me tell you a story. One day an orthopaedic surgeon from Nizam Institute of Medical Sciences visited my laboratory. He lifted the new material called carbon-carbon and found it so light that he took me to his hospital and showed me his patients. There were these little girls and boys with heavy metallic calipers weighing over three kgs. each, dragging their feet around. He said to me: Please remove the pain of my patients. In three weeks, we made these floor reaction Orthosis 300 gms. Calipers and took them to the orthopaedic centre. The children didnít believe their eyes. From dragging around a three kgs. load on their legs, they could now move around! Their parents had tears in their eyes. That was my fourth bliss!

Why is the media here so negative? Why are we in India so embarrassed to recognise our own strengths, our achievements? We are such a great nation. We have so many amazing success stories, but we refuse to acknowledge them.



We are the first in milk production. We are number one in remote sensing satellites. We are the second largest producer of wheat. We are the second largest producer of rice. Look at Dr. Sudarshan; he has transformed the tribal village into a self-sustaining, self-driving unit. There are millions of such achievements but our media is only obsessed with the bad news and failures and disasters. I was in Tel Aviv once and I was reading the Israeli newspaper. It was the day after a lot of attacks and bombardments and deaths had taken place. The Hamas had struck. But the front page of the newspaper had the picture of a Jewish gentleman who in five years had transformed his desert land into an orchid and a granary. It was this inspiring picture that everyone woke up to. The gory details of killings, bombardments, deaths, were inside in the newspaper, buried among other news.

In India we only read about death, sickness, terrorism, crime. Why are we so NEGATIVE?

Another question: Why are we, as a nation so obsessed with foreign things? We want foreign TVs. We want foreign shirts. We want foreign technology. Why this obsession with everything imported? Do we not realise that self-respect comes with self-reliance? 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.

ó Dr. Abdul Kalam

Coming Up .... In the Next Issue ......
Know Your Founders:
Holy Ground of Research: Burjor Pirojsha Godrej
Sustaining Life Through Sophisticated Fabrication: I.P. Singh, President
Corporate Concerns:
Shared Joys: Century Mills
Of Enduring Interest:
C.K. Prahalad Ė Inside The Guruís Mind
Oddities, Eccentricities, ETc.: Security As Farce: Rajiv Gandhi
Womenís Empowerment: Banks To The Fore: Reserve Bank of India, Bank of India
Earth Day: Letís Make A Difference
N.P. Mani: From Test Typing To Rocket Selling
A Touch of Heroism: The Indian Coast Guard
Of Archival Interest:Donít Write Me Off!
Corporate Commentary, Little Wonders, Home Base and other regular features.