Speech in Ignite 08

11-11-2008    Dr. A P J Abdul Kalam

 Learning gives creativity

I am happy to participate in the award ceremony for IGNITE 08 Awardees. My congratulation and greetings to all the participants. While I am with you, I would like to talk on the topic “Knowledge makes you Great”.


While I am with you, I would like to talk about knowledge. Knowledge has four components, creativity, righteousness, courage and indomitable spirit. That the combination of these characteristics can generate enlightened citizens. Let us look at the first component creativity:

 “Learning gives creativity

Creativity leads to thinking

Thinking provides knowledge

Knowledge makes you great”

 The next component of knowledge is righteousness. The power of Righteousness is described in a divine hymn, which is as follows:


“Where there is righteousness in the heart

There is beauty in the character.

When there is beauty in the character,

There is harmony in the home.

When there is harmony in the home.

There is order in the nation.

When there is order in the nation,

There is peace in the world.”

 It is a beautiful connectivity between heart, character, nation and the world. In a society we have to build righteousness among all its constituents. For the society as a whole to be righteous we need creation of righteousness in family, righteousness in education, righteousness in service, righteousness in career, righteousness in business & industry, righteousness in civil administration, righteousness in politics, righteousness in government, righteousness in law and order, righteousness in justice. In addition to righteousness in multiple dimensions in the society, indomitable spirit is essential for realizing the vision of developed India.

 The third component is courage, which is defined as follows:


“Courage to think different,

Courage to invent,

Courage to travel into an unexplored path,

Courage to discover the impossible,

Courage to combat the problems

And Succeed,

Are the unique qualities of the youth.

 As a youth of my nation, I will work and work with courage to achieve success in all the missions.”

 The fourth component is Indomitable Spirit.

Indomitable Spirit

I would like to recall a great clarion call of indomitable spirit, which was given by Sir C V Raman, at the age of 82. The message is still reverberating in my mind: “I would like to tell the young men and women before me not to lose hope and courage. Success can only come to you by courageous devotion to the task lying in front of you. I can assert without fear of contradiction that the quality of the Indian mind is equal to the quality of any Teutonic, Nordic or Anglo-Saxon mind. What we lack is perhaps courage, what we lack is perhaps driving force, which takes one anywhere. We have, I think, developed an inferiority complex. I think what is needed in India today is the destruction of that defeatist spirit. We need a spirit of victory, a spirit that will carry us to our rightful place under the sun, a spirit, which will recognize that we, as inheritors of a proud civilization, are entitled to a rightful place on this planet. If that indomitable spirit were to arise, nothing can hold us from achieving our rightful destiny.” Hence friends, now you realize, knowledge is equal to the equation: Knowledge = creativity + righteousness+ Courage+ indomitable spirit. Now the teachers and educators may like to see the real knowledge can be imparted to the students.

Conclusion: You can navigate the time

 As you all know, the earth rotates on its own axis once in a day having 24 hours or 1440 minutes or 86400 seconds. Earth itself orbits around the sun. It takes nearly one year for an orbit. With the completion of one rotation of earth around the sun, your age is added by one year as you are living on planet earth. Seconds fly, minutes fly, hours fly, days fly and years fly. We have no control over it. The only thing that we can do is, while the time flies, we can navigate the time. “Let not thy winged day, spent in vain”. Young friends, all of you have to have a mission in life and work for it by navigating the time towards the mission.

 Dear friends, my greetings and best wishes to all of you.

 May God bless you.

 APJ Abdul Kalam,