Convocation Address

What I would like to be remembered for?

“Be a lamp a life boat and a ladder.
Help someone’s soul heal.
Walk out of your house like a shepherd”

I am delighted to participate at the 30th Annual Convocation function of the KS Saket Post Graduate College, Ayodhya/Faizabad. KS Saket PG College established by three visionary leaders of this part of the country to impart higher education to the youth of educationally backward areas of Eastern UP. I am happy to note that the college has approximately 16 thousand students on its roll in various courses. The research focus of the college is indeed remarkable. I take this opportunity to congratulate all the Faculty, students and staff of KS Saket Post Graduate College, Ayodhya. My greetings to all the graduating students, faculty members who shaped these young minds, parents, special invitees and distinguished guests. On the Graduation Day, I would like to share with you few thoughts on “What I would like to be remembered for”.

Research – Teaching – Research

Friends. Good teaching emanates from Research. The teachers’ love for research and their experience in research are vital for the growth of the institution. Any institution is judged by the level and extent of the research work it accomplishes. This sets in a regenerative cycle of excellence. Experience of research leads to quality teaching and quality teaching imparted to the young in turn enriches the research. The campus dynamics needs such type of research teaching research environment.
Technology is the non-linear tool available to humanity. which can affect fundamental changes in the ground rules of economic competitiveness. Science is linked to technology through applications. Technology is linked to economy and environment through manufacture of knowledge products. Economy and environment are linked to technology, which promotes prosperity to the society. We have to use innovation to generate high value added products for becoming a global player. The foundation for academic excellence is the research.

Culture for excellence

Friends, science lead to a culture of excellence. Excellence is not by accident. It is a process, where an individual continuously strives to better oneself. The performance standards are set by yourself, you work on your dreams with focus and are prepared to take calculated risks and you do not get deterred by failures. As you move towards your dreams, you step up the targets and try to reach higher and higher. When you strive to work to realize your potential, in the process, you will increase your performance. At all times you are not in competition with anyone else, but your own self. This is the culture of excellence. I am sure, KS Saket PG College is being built with technology focus based on innovation and excellence which are crucial for research.

Let me share an experience from a great teacher.

Teacher who makes the student an autonomous learner

A great teacher, who is a living legend now is Prof. Chinnadurai. He taught me physics, particularly Nuclear Physics. The way the Professor taught, many students started loving physics, particularly Nuclear Physics. Rev Father Chinnadurai, when he was taking lessons, used to give reference articles and good reference books, which the students can refer and read. And the Physics teacher ensured that we all referred good Physics textbooks during the lecture instead of only reading the notes. This widened the horizon of the learning of the students. In his prime age, Fr Chinnadurai is staying in Dindugal and I meet him and pay my respects, whenever I am in that area. The method of teaching of Fr Chinnadurai is important for making the student a life long autonomous learner, which is essential for continuous contribution for the growth of individual, and thereby the nation. The best learning takes place when the teacher infuses a creative learning habit in the students and makes it an enjoyable part of life-long quest for knowledge. Even today, whenever I meet him, he radiates a sense of enlightenment. These examples show how teachers can influence the students not only by teaching but also giving practical lessons in human values, particularly the trait of selfless giving of knowledge. Always I am grateful to my college for facilitating me to acquire the knowledge and also value system in life.

In the present situation in the world where every citizen wants to live in a prosperous and peaceful atmosphere, the empowerment of youth with enlightenment becomes vital. This has three dimensions viz education with value system, bridging religions through spirituality and inclusive development. The school atmosphere and the teachers way of teaching, both inside and outside the class should inject the youth with righteousness in the heart.

Friends, now let us study convergence of technology and the linkage to science is reciprocating.

Convergence of Technologies

Friends, something very interesting is happening in present times. There is a great convergence of science and technology and each is feeding the growth of the other. Also modern machines are based on biological ideas and many biological mysteries are solved using technological tools. Present generation is indeed fortunate to be be born in these times and I will share with you my ideas on this important phenomenon.
The information technology and communication technology have already converged leading to Information and Communication Technology (ICT). Information Technology combined with bio-technology has led to bio-informatics. It helped the de-coding of human genome. Similarly, Photonics is grown out from the labs to converge with classical Electronics and Microelectronics to bring in new high speed options in consumer products. Flexible and unbreakable displays using thin layer of film on transparent polymers have emerged as new symbols of entertainment and media tools. Now, nanotechnology has come in. It is the field of the future that will replace microelectronics and many fields with tremendous application potential in the areas of medicine, electronics and material science.

When Nano technology and ICT meet, integrated silicon electronics, photonics are born and it can be said that material convergence will happen. With material convergence and biotechnology linked, a new science called Intelligent Bioscience will be born which would lead to a disease free, happy and more intelligent human habitat with longevity and high human capabilities. Convergence of bio-nano-info technologies can lead to the development of nano robots.
When Nano robots are injected into a patient, my expert friends say, it will diagnose and deliver the treatment exclusively in the affected area and then the nano-robot gets digested as it is a DNA based product. I saw the product sample in one of the labs in South Korea where best of minds with multiple technology work with a target of finding out of the box solution.

Science is reciprocating: Let me give an example. Recently, I was in the Harvard University where I visited laboratories of many eminent professors from the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. I recall, how Professor Hongkun Park, showed me his invention of nano needles, which can pierce and deliver content into individual targeted cells. That?s how nano particle sciences is shaping the bio sciences. Then I met Professor Vinod Manoharan, who showed on the other hand bio sciences are in turn shaping nano material science as well. He is using DNA material to design self assembling particles. When particular type of DNA is applied on a particle at the atomic level, he is able to generate a prefixed behavior and automatic assembly from them. This could be our answer to self assembly of devices and colonies in deep space without human intervention as envisioned by Dr K Erik Drexler. Thus, within a single research building, I saw how two different sciences are shaping each other without any iron curtain between the technologists. This reciprocating contribution of sciences to one another is going to shape our future and industry needs to be ready for it. Friends are you ready to bring down the iron curtain existing between various technological groups.

Now, a new trend is emerging. The aspect of Ecology is gaining attention. Globally, the demand is shifting towards development of sustainable systems which are technologically superior. This is the new dimension of the 21st century knowledge society, where science, technology and environment will have to go together. Thus, the new age model would be a four dimensional bio-nano-info-eco based.

Friends, here I would like to share some thoughts about a great lady for her mission “Planting of trees is the planting of ideas”.

Planting of trees is the planting of ideas

Friends during my Presidency, I met a great a lady Prof Vangari Mathai in Rashtrapati Bhavan, honouring her for a great contribution in the green environment. After discussion with Prof Wangari Mathai, her life unfurled in front of me.
Prof Wangari Maathai, who has a passion for environment and bio-diversity and is contributing to the sustainable development and growth of planet Earth. Wangari Muta Maathai was born in Nyeri, Kenya (Africa) in 1940. She was the first woman in East and Central Africa to earn a doctorate degree and to become chair of the Department of Veterinary Anatomy and an Associate Professor. Wangari Maathai was active in the National Council of Women of Kenya and was its Chairman in 1981-87, where she introduced the idea of planting trees with the people and continued to develop it into a broad-based, grassroots organization whose main focus is the planting of trees with women groups in order to conserve the environment and improve their quality of life. Through the Green Belt Movement that Prof Maathai has evolved innovatively a movement with 600 community networks across Kenya and branches in 20 countries resulting in the plantation of 31 million trees. She and the Green Belt Movement have received numerous awards, most notably The 2004 Nobel Peace Prize.

Prof Maathai gives a new meaning to the important act of planting a tree by extending it to the whole life, when she says, “the planting of trees is the planting of idea.” She highlights the qualities of patience, persistence and commitment in planning and realizing a future, which is what we learn when we plant trees and wait for them to yield fruits for the next generation. She believes that no matter how dark the cloud, there is always a thin, silver lining, and that is what we must look for. The silver lining will come, if not to us then to the next generation or the generation after that. And may be with that generation, the lining will no longer be thin. India values Prof Maathai’s involvement and contribution in furthering the relationship between India and Kenya and had the privilege of honouring her with the Jawaharlal Nehru Award for International Understanding for the year 2005. She concludes her Nobel Lecture on December 10, 2004 like this: quote, “As I conclude I reflect on my childhood experience when I would visit a stream next to our home to fetch water for my mother. I would drink water straight from the stream? I saw thousands of tadpoles: black, energetic and wriggling through the clear water against the background of the brown earth. This is the world I inherited from my parents”. Prof. Maathai would like all of us to preserve this inheritance.

Friends, soon you will all join different tasks and take up different careers. You will carry on your shoulder the responsibility of raising family, taking care of your parents and above all work to help India transform in to a Developed Copuntry. Let me now describe to you on this important day, my 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 an equitable distribution and adequate access to energy and quality water.
3. A Nation where agriculture, industry and service 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 eradicated, 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 places 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.

Dear young friends, I am thinking of an integrated solution for sustainable development which applies the convergence of technologies for bringing development to the people using natural resources optimally for generations to come. There are many national initiatives at the ground level with the help of technologies to protect the environment and bring sustainable development. Sustainability for safe drinking water and water for irrigation; reducing pollution using technology and best practices; adopting more renewable energy resources to reduce the dependency on the fossil fuel; managing mobile resources so that they do not affect the environment and lead to further deterioration of health and environment; and enriching biodiversity.

PURA as a sustainable development system

One of the key requirements towards achieving the distinctive profile of the nation would be the creation of sustainable enterprise driven models at the rural levels. One such system which I suggest is PURA (Providing Urban Amenities in Rural Areas). It is the creation of Physical, Electronic, Knowledge connectivities leading to the Economic Connectivity of the rural region. With this combined and planned intervention of infrastructure, digital technology, information and enterprise, we can select a cluster of about 20 to 50 villages, which share core competencies and empower those using local enterprises. I would like to suggest here, that the KS Saket PG College may like to pursue the implementation of one such PURA Complex covering around 50 to 100 villages on the outskirts of Ayodhya utilizing the potential of the youth of the College. This PURA would empower local villages in this region. This will facilitate faculty and students an intensive programme in societal transformation entrepreneurship.

Friends, here I would like to give an example of how great achievements are possible.

Work with integrity and succeed with integrity

The 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. Delhi Metro has a route length of around 190 kilometers now.

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. Over 1.5 million passengers travel by the Metro today which uses completely clean energy.

Mr. E. Sreedharan, the Managing Director of Delhi Metro Rail Corporation 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. Mr Sreedharan is an example of a leader who has the courage to take the decision, every action of the leader is transparent and he works with integrity and succeeds with integrity.

One thought sprang out of me was: Delhi Metro Rail Corporation has been rightly certified by the United Nations as the first metro rail and rail-based system in the world to get “carbon credits for reducing greenhouse gas emissions”and helping in reducing pollution levels in the city by 630,000 tonnes of every year.


Finally, I would like to ask you, what would you like to be remembered for? You have to evolve yourself and shape your life. You should write it on a page. That page may be a very important page in the book of human history. And you will be remembered for creating that one page in the history of the nation – whether that page is the page of invention, the page of innovation or the page of discovery or the page of creating societal change or a page of removing the poverty or the page of fighting injustice or planning and executing mission of networking of rivers. I will be happy if you could write this page and mail it to me (

Let me once again congratulate all the graduating students on the occasion of the 30th Convocation. My best wishes to all the students success in their educational missions.

May God bless you.

Oath for the students

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 protect and enhance the dignity of every human life without any bias.
5. I will always remember the importance of time. My motto will be “Let not my winged days, be spent in vain”.
6. I will always work for clean home, clean planet Earth and clean energy.
7. 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.
8. My National Flag flies in my heart and I will bring glory to my nation.

By, Dr. APJ Abdulkalam