BRANDING adbul_kalam

Published on August 21st, 2011 | by drkkr


The excellency of an Excellency

As I saw Dr APJ Kalam’s car approaching I did not know what to think. This was years of anticipation being rewarded. For me, personally, it was a dream coming true. For 3000 students of GRD Institutions waiting in the giant campus indoor stadium a few feet away it was the encounter of a lifetime. It flashed through my mind that Dr A P J Kalam’s visit must have been ordained by the heavens because when dreams come true all dreams should come true like this: the pomp and pageantry of all the thrill and excitement of a state-level arrival, security, protocol and circumstance.

The car stopped. The door opened. The kindest, most benevolent face smiled out at us. Then he stepped out, a bundle of energy, his persona crackling with occasion and significance. He graciously accepted flowers and immediately handed them over to an aide and proceeded to clasp the hand of whoever he was talking to with warmth and fervor. Then without a moment’s delay, he looked around, figured out where he was headed and promptly set off at a pace that had us following in his heels.

As we followed him for a few yards, my mind kept racing on the peculiar connection between me and this fabulous man. I could not help but remember that 9 years ago, in 2002, when Dr APJ Abdul Kalam was made President of India, i have met three days prior to the announcement of his candidature.

I remember how, back in 2002, Dr Kalam gripped the imagination of the nation. We knew his extraordinary life story by heart. A humble birth in a little town in British India, a boy spending his first 16 years under a foreign yoke. Maybe we can understand his deep admiration for Gandhi: the young lad’s consciousnesses must have been full of the sight of a Gandhi bringing the British Empire to its knees. The little lad eked a living as a paper boy then put himself through school and college and then spent many years quietly helping arm his nation. His academic achievements, his professional achievements, his elevation to the Presidency, they all made for a compelling mix of gravitas.

There were several great men in the history of this great country, yet, there aren’t too many who turned out to be an inspiring icon for people across all age groups as this man did. In fact one needn’t search for the finest adjectives to hint at what he is. Mentioning his name alone will do the task.  I began what I knew would be a long quest to host him at our institution. Face to Face my dream event has showcased and celebrated the icons from all the fields, to name a few Kapil Dev,Kamalahassan, Sushmitha sen,John Abraham, Kiran Bedi, P.Chidambram, Arun Jaitley, Omar Farooq, Renuka Chaudhry, JJ Irani, Vijay Amirtharaj,  Narien Karthikeyan, Alyque Padamsee, Kris Srikanth, Adi Godrej, Shivakhera, Santosh Desai, Balki, Sivamani, Vikram,Mallaika Arora Khan, Shoba De, Sudha Narayana Murty, Subramania Swamy, Ram Mohan Rao, Michele Pelletier, Alvin Saldanha, Robin Srikanth, Nanditha Das, Dino Moria, Cyrus Broucha and so many other top graded personalities from different walks of life.

I started chasing Dr APJ Abdul Kalam to be our guest of honour for our face to face years ago. I met him once, at his office, and got a firsthand experience of the fabulously unexpected manner he maintains: sudden questions, sudden answers and sudden changes in conversation. The energy and his approach had left a lasting impression on any one who meets him.

As we saw his car approaching, down the gate from the college gate, I could not but help remember that if you had stood on the other side of Avinashi Road 9 years ago and told me that I would be receiving him as he stepped out of his car I would not have known what to say. But hee we were, and I was jolted out of my thoughts by the sound of 3000 students roaring their welcome. The indoor stadium which most of the students have never seen was filled with energy, positivity, dreams and i had no clue how the next one hour and twenty minutes flew. I was there and now i ask myself what was i doing there, i just know one thing that 150th Face to Face with the BEST known face in INDIA. In this blog i have shared what Dr APJ Kalam spoke and inspired….!

I am delighted to address and interact with the students and faculty members of GRD School of Commerce & International Business and Dr GR Damodaran College of Science, Coimbatore. I am happy that GRD institutions have been offering education, structured to the evolving to the Needs of our society.  I commend the faculty members who have taken care in them which will facilitate the students to achieve greater heights in their professional career.  I congratulate the pioneers both presents and past who have generated a robust education environment in these institutions during the last 25 years. My greetings to all the students, faculty members, staff and distinguished guests participating in this function.

Dimensions of Knowledge society and Economic Development

In the knowledge economy the objective of a society changes from fulfilling the basic needs of all-round development of empowerment. The education system will be promoted by creative, interactive self learning – formal and informal education with focus on values, merit and quality,.  The workers instead of being skilled or semi-skilled will be knowledgeable, self-empowered and flexibly skilled.  The type of work instead of being structured and hardware driven will be less structured and software driven. Management style will emphasize more on delegation rather than giving command.  Impact on environment and ecology will be strikingly less compared to industrial economy. Finally, the economy will mostly be driven by knowledge and knowledge driven institutions and industries.  The emphasis in knowledge society will be on sustainable development.  I am sure that the education systems followed by GRD institutions have taken these aspects into account while structuring the educational programme.

Since I am in the midst of students from multiple disciplines, I would like to talk on the topic “Knowledge society and sustainable development”.

Leadership with Transparency

Friends as you all know that Delhi Metro Rail Project has given to the nation the potential of executing a fast transportation system using high technology with reliability through a time bound mission mode operation.  Delhi, the Capital of the country with over 14 million populations, has the distinction of having a world class metro rail with frontline technologies.  The work on the metro rail commenced on 1st October 1998 and the first phase with three lines covering 66 kms has been completed by December 2005. The second phase with 121 kms of line length is already functional.

Delhi Metro Rail Corporation has brought to the country, the most advanced rail technologies for the first time.  The notable gains to the country are, light weight stainless steel, sleek, modern trains with pneumatic springs, regenerative braking, public information display, wide vestibules and automatic doors.  The sophisticated coach technology which was not available in the country so far, has been transferred to M/s.  Bharat Earth Movers Ltd., Bangalore, which is now assembling these trains with progressive indigenization.  BEML is now in a position to supply train sets needed for phase-II of Delhi Metro Rail Project and meet the requirement for Metros coming up in other cities of the country.

Mr. E. Sreedharan, the Managing Director of Delhi Metro has ensured that, all the scheduled sections were completed by their target date or before and within their respective budgets through his programme management skills. The dedicated and transparent leadership backed up with professional competence of Mr. Sreedharan has given to the nation, one of the best transportation systems of the world at the most economic cost.  He is a recipient of many national and international awards.  Also, he is in demand for undertaking the development of metro system in different countries of the world which he has politely declined due to pre-occupation with committed Indian programmes.

Indian Space Science Visionary

Now I would like to start by sharing with you, India’s great visionary in space science and space technologies Prof. Vikram Sarabhai, who was my Guru.  Very rarely, in the life journey, great human beings influence one’s life.  I was fortunate to work with Prof. Vikram Sarabhari for seven years.  While working closely with him, I saw the dawn of he vision for the space programmed in a one page statement.  Witnessing the evolution of this one page by many years of ceaseless work by a cosmic ray physicist, a great scientific mind was really a great learning for me.  Also I was thrilled to see the famous vision statement of Prof. Vikram Sarabhai made in the year 1970 which states “India with her mighty scientific knowledge and power house of young.  Should build her own huge rocket systems (satellite launch vehicles) and also build her own communication, remote sensing and meteorological spacecraft and launch form her own soil to enrich the Indian life in satellite communication. Remote sensing and meteorology.”  When I look at this vision statement now.  I am overwhelmed to see the results of this statement.  Today, India can build any type of satellite launch vehicle, any type of spacecraft and launch from Indian soil and also it has all the capability with its mighty facilities and powerful human resource.  Through space technology and space science, India can be a partner in the world space programme to enrich the planet earth and further expl0ortion.  ISRO has all the capability with its mighty facilities and powerful human resource because of he vision of Prof. Vikram Sarabhai.  Also, India has launched and placed Chandrayaan in the Lunar orbit which has completed its mission.

Science Leadership – Sir CV Raman – Value of Science:  

When I am in the midst of students of management and teachers and scholars.  I thought of sharing with you an incident about Sir CV Raman – a Nobel Laureate in physics for discovering Raman Effect.  Raman was in the first batch of Bharat Ratna Award winners.  “Bharat Ratna” is the highest civilian award in India.  The award ceremony was to take place in the last week of January, soon after the Republic Day celebrations of 1954.  The then president of India.  Dr. Rajendra Prasad wrote to Raman inviting him to be the personal guest in the Rashtrapati Bhavan, when Raman came to Delhi for the award ceremony.  Sir CV Raman wrote a polite letter, regretting his inability to go.  Raman had a noble reason for to the president that he was guiding a Ph.D. student and that thesis was positively due by the last day of January.  The student was valiant trying to wrap it all up and Raman felt, he had to be by the side of the research student, see that the thesis was finished, sign the thesis as the guide and then have it submitted.  Here was a scientist who gave up the pomp of a glittering ceremony associated with the highest honour, because he felt that his duty required him to be by the side of the student.  It is this unique trait of giving value to science that builds science.  This is one experience, how leadership can be given for the growth of science.

Leadership in Industry

At this point let me share the meeting between Swami Vivekananda and Jamsetji Nusserwanji Tata during a ship journey.  It happened in 1893.  A ship was sailing from Japan to USA.  There were hundreds of people in that ship including two significant personalities.  Swami Vivekananda and Jamsetji Tata were in that ship.  Swamji asked Jamsetji for what mission he was traveling.  Jamsetji said that he wanted to bring steel industry to India.  Swami Vivekananda blessed him.  He suggested steel technology had two components – one is steel science and the other is manufacturing technology.  What can you bring to this country in material technology – you will have to build material science within the country.  Jamsetiji was thinking and thinking and made decision.  Earlier when Jamsetji went to London he asked for technology transfer for Steel Plant.  UK steel manufacturers looked at Jamsetji crossed the Atlantic Ocean, talked to Americans and brought manufacturing technology for steel.  And the Tata Steel was established in Jamshedpur.  He seeded and worked for the steel plant.  Jamshetji is not there now, but 10 million tones per annum steel is rolling out.  The visionary jamsetji gave one portion of his asset for starting a science institute today known as Indian Institute of Science at Bangalore.  The message I would like to convey to this audience, dream gives vision, vision gives thoughts and thought leads to actions.  Jamsetji brought two establishments to India – first one was steel plant and the other was an educational research institution based on the vision of Swami Vivekananda.

A Visionary like Jamsetji with the blessing of Wsamijin paved the way for the establishment of Indian Institute of Science in 1909. The Indian Institute of Science born out of a vision of great minds is the foremost scientific research institution in India providing post graduate education. This institution as envisaged by swami Vivekananda dreamt has one of the best material science labs, providing the best of research results for development and production of material for various R&D labs and industries. Also Indian Institute of Science is a renowned institution in various areas for physics, aerospace technology, knowledge products, bio-science and bio-technology. This is the one institution where convergence of technology like bio-technology, information technology and nano-technology is emerging. The results will have tremendous influence in improving solar cell efficiency and healthcare, particularly drug delivery system.

Let me discuss with you the traits of leadership based on my experience

Traits of Leadership

I have seen three dreams which have taken shape as vision, mission and realization. Space programme of ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation), AGNI programme of DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organsiation) and PURA (Providing Urban Amenities in Rural Areas) becoming the National Mission. Of course these three programmes succeeded in the midst of many challenges and problems. I have worked in all these three areas. I would like to convey to you, what I have learnt on leadership from these three programmes.

1.Leader must have a vision.

2.Leader must have a passion to accomplish the mission.

3.Leader must be able to travel into an unexplored path.

4.Leader must know how to manage a success and failure.

5.Leader must have courage to take decision.

6.Leader should have Nobility in management.

7.Every action of the leader should be transparent.

8.Leader should work with integrity and succeed with integrity.

I have been discussing these essential traits of creative leaders with people of eminence in different areas and students from India and abroad. Apart from this what is needed is the spirit among the youth that “I can do it, we can do it and the nation can do it.” GRD Institutions have to concentrate on developing the leadership traits and the confidence to perform among every youth of the nation.

Now, let me describe me visualization of the distinctive profile of India by 2020.

Distinctive Profile of India by 2020


  1. A Nation where the rural and urban divide has reduced to a thin line.
  2. A Nation where there is and equitable distribution and adequate access to energy and quality water.
  3. A Nation where agriculture, industry and services sector work together in symphony.
  4. A Nation where education with value system is not denied to any meritorious candidates because of societal or economic discrimination.
  5. A Nation, which is the best destination for the most talented scholars, scientists, and investors
  6. A Nation where the best of health care is available to all
  7. A Nation where the governance is responsive transparent and corruption free
  8. A Nation where poverty has been totally eradication illiteracy removed and crimes against women and children are absent and none in the society feels alienated.
  9. A Nation that is prosperous, healthy, secure, devoid of terrorism, peaceful and happy and continues with a sustainable growth path.
  10. A Nation that is one of the best place to live in and is proud of its leadership

Integrated Action for developed India

To achieve the distinctive profile of India, we have the mission of transforming India into a developed nation. We have identified five areas where India has a core competence for integrated action: (1) Agriculture and food processing (2) Reliable and Quality Electric power, Surface transport and Infrastructure for all parts of the country.  (3) Education and Healthcare (4) Information and communication Technology (5) Self-reliance in critical technologies. These five areas are closely inter-related and if progressed in a coordinated way, will lead to food, economic and national security.

The major mission is the development of infrastructure for bring rural prosperity are through Provision of Urban Amenities in Rural Areas (PURA) through creation of  three connectivities namely physical, electronic, knowledge leading to economic connectivity. The number of PURA for the whole country is estimated to be 7000. Educational institutions can participate in evolving road map for development of PURAs in their region. I have come across such example: in Periyar PURA at Vallam in Tamil Nadu, where students and teachers of Periyar Maniammai College of Engineering and Technology are working in the planning and development of a cluster of sixty five village involving one lakh population. I am sure, the faculty members and students of GRD Institutions can create a GRD PURA in the rural areas close to this region. This will provide hands on experience for the students in taking up societal missions and prepare them for and exciting career.


Friends, since you are graduating from here today, I will suggest all of you should ask a question “what I will be remembered for?” I am sure, you would like to do something different – out of box missions, what are they?

 1.            Will you be remembered for a visionary action for the nation, like Shre E Sreedharan for Metro, Shri Ratan Tata for Nano car?

 2.            Will you be remembered for creating a company which finds a place in the top 100 of the Fortune 500 companies from India?

 3.            Will you be remembered for facilitating the creation of 100 (Providing Urban Amenities in Rural Areas) in your region?

4.            Will you be remembered for becoming the pioneer in developing a smart water way in the states and Interlinking of Rivers in the nation?

5.            Will you be remembered for revitalizing or revolutionizing the integrated Primary Healthcare Centre in a Public-private-participation mode?

6.            Will you be remembered for working and crating an validated system for the production of 340 million tones of food grains and value addition through food processing by the year 2020?

7.            Will you be remembered for modernization of 10 million SME’s and addition of another Million by providing Private equity funding ventures?

8.            Will you be remembered as a venture capital banker by introducing the unique private equity funding for the ideas that will bring new dimension to the society.

9.            Will you be remembered for bringing energy independence for the nation?

10.         Will you be remembered for the action oriented – “ Clean home, clean environment, clean state and clean nation”

11.         Will you be remembered for developing one million enlightened youth in your region who will participate I the accelerated societal transformation of the nation?


I would suggest you all to decide on “what you will be remembered for?” which will act as a goal post for you and facilitate your systematic work for the realization of the goal.

My best wished to all the members of GRD Institutions success in their educational mission

May God bless you.

Oath for the Youth

  1. I will have a goal and work hard to achieve that goal. I realize that small aim is a crime.
  2. I will work with integrity and succeed with integrity.
  3. I will be a good member of my family, a good member of the society, a good member of the nation and a good member of the world.
  4. I will always try to save or better someone’s life, without any discrimination of caste, creed, and language. Religion or state. Wherever I am, a thought will always come to my mind. That is “What can I give?”
  5. I will always protect and enhance the dignity of every human life without any bias.
  6. I will always remember the importance of time, My motto will be “Let not my winged days, be spent in vain”.
  7. I will always work for clean planet Earth and clean energy.
  8. As a youth of my nation, I will work and work with courage to achieve success in all my tasks and enjoy the success of others.
  9. I am as young as my faith and as old as my doubt, Hence, I will light up then, the lamp of faith in my heart.
  10. My National Flag flies in my heart and I will bring glory to my nation.

His speech in YouTube :

 The Hindu :

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