Hindu Vivek Kendra

APJ Abdul Kalam - A Swayamsevak

Author:   Ramesh Patange
Publication: Vivek  Weekly Magazine
Date:   August 24, 2015
URL:   http://www.hvk.org/specialarticles/kalam/kalam.html

It may be matter of surprise for many people to call Abdul Kalam a swayamsevak. A swayamsevak is a member of RSS and the meaning of this term is one who renders service selflessly for the society. So a question may arise that how one can became swayamsevak without going in everyday shakha. A Shaka implies everyday meet of the members of RSS. That question was very well answered by Dattopant Thengadi, a senior RSS leader in past. He had said – ‘at psychological level all the persons in our society are swayamsevakas; those who have come in shakha have revealed it and those who have not come in shakha had not revealed it yet.’ In that parlance APJ can be called a swayamsevak.

Avul Pakir Jainulabaddeen Abdul Kalam had left this world as on July 27, 2015. Many had written articles and obituaries about the contribution of APJ. Almost of them had described APJ as ‘the missile man’. It is no doubt that he had lion’s share in developing the missile technology of India. We have missiles like Agni, Brahmos, Trishul in our armed forces which had been developed under the leadership of APJ. He had been awarded with Padma Vibhushan and Bharat Ratna for his peerless contribution in the field of science and technology.

I feel somehow it is not a complete delineation of his personality. The countries like USA, Russia, China, Korea, and Israel also have equipped with missile technology. These countries have many scientists and technicians working in this field. But nobody among them has garnered the wide acclamation like APJ.  He was our President and he could be appropriately described as ‘the President of the People’. And more accurately it can be said that he was a humble face of India.

He had written many books like Target 3 Billion, India 2020: A vision for the New Millennium, Wings of Fire, Turning Point, Ignited Mind, Forge Your Future, etc. We can also find the speeches of APJ on various websites also. I have been reading the writings and books of APJ since many years for different reasons. When he had left this world the expression occurred in my mind – A swayamsevak who had never gone to the shakha has left us.

It may be matter of surprise for many people to call Abdul Kalam a swayamsevak. A swayamsevak is a member of RSS and the meaning of this term is one who renders service selflessly for the society. So a question may arise that how one can became swayamsevak without going in everyday shakha. A Shaka implies everyday meet of the members of RSS. That question was very well answered by Dattopant Thengadi, a senior RSS leader in past. He had said – ‘at psychological level all the persons in our society are swayamsevakas; those who have come in shakha have revealed it and those who have not come in shakha had not revealed it yet.’ In that parlance APJ can be called a swayamsevak.

A swayamsevak of sangh thinks about the whole nation. He does not think on selfish mode. He who has selfish motive cannot be fitted in sangh. APJ Abdul Kalam is a through incarnation of selfless thought. He was unmarried. He never thought and worked for the accumulation of wealth. When he left the office of the president he had donated all his wealth for a trust founded for the development of villages.

He had evolved a concept for the development of villages which is called as PURA (Providing Urban Facilities to Rural Areas). When he left this world his property included only his apparels and books. We are familiar with the names and examples of people holding political posts who have amassed great wealth and properties. I do not want to enlist them here in the article of pure soul like APJ.

The entire life of APJ Abdul Kalam was an ideal of the sacrifice towards the nation. Our nation is an eternal nation and also an ancient one. It also has an unending current of life. It can be said that this real current of life and eternality as well as ancientness of our nation has taken a form of a personality which APJ Abdul Kalam had. His motto of life was to develop the better things that he had and this was for the sole intention to serve the nation with whole heartedness and the power. He wanted to be pilot, but he had not passed the tests to become pilot. He had become nervous and left for Hrishikesh. But he had returned soon. The Then life of APJ Abdul Kalam was a through life of a Karmayogi and a man with mission.

He said that - Learn to dream. But do not dream in your sleep. Have that kind of dream which will keep you awake. The swayamsevek of Sangh also work to realize a dream. He has a dream of prosperous and powerful India having the capacity to lead the whole world. To realize this dream it is necessary to unite the people and form an organized society which will become powerful which will in turn protect our Dharma. If we use the wording of APJ Abdul Kalam all the swayamsevakas working to accomplish the mission with a dream in awaken eyes. APJ Abdul Kalam also had the same dream.

The pathway to realize such dream is not a simple one. It is difficult and full of obstacles. It is like walking on the edge of the sword. So many problems have to be faced. Dr. Keshav Baliram Hedgewar, the founder of the Sangh had told that – Calamities do come, but only to test our caliber. APJ Abdul Kalam had told that – if you want to enjoy the pleasure of success, then you have to face the calamities as well. He also told that do not be afraid of the obstacles. You will succeed only if you have worked whole heartedly. If you are not interested in any job then you will get nothing out of it. You have to do the work of RSS whole heartedly and dedication. Sangh swayamsevakas learn this devotion in Sangh. APJ had mentioned various incidences depicting how to overcome the obstacles in life.

When he was a student of aeronautics at MIT, his team had to design a low-level attack aircraft. After a few days, Professor Srinivasan asked to see the design created by APJ. When he showed it to him, he examined it with his characteristic critical eye. Then he straightened up and his next words stunned APJ. ‘This is just not good enough, Kalam,’ he said. He continued, ‘I expected much better from you. This is dismal work and I am disappointed that someone with your talent has come up with work like this.’ This feeling of embarrassment and shame was a new experience for Kalam and he did not like it one bit. Not only was he supposed to do the work again but he had to finish it in three days! ‘Today is Friday. I want to see a flawless configuration drawing by Monday evening. If you are unable to do so, your scholarship will be stopped.’ And it is worth reading that how Kalam had completed the project within the stipulated period. Then Professor Srinivasan said, ‘I set an impossible deadline – yet you have met it with work that I can only call outstanding. As your teacher, I had to push you to your limits so that you could recognize your own true potential.’ That day APJ learnt a lesson that there is no such thing as an impossible deadline.

APJ had mentioned many such events in his journey. He went memorizing that do not yield to any obstacle, face the challenge and have patient as well as confidence. This philosophy is easy to teach. But there is inherent meaning behind the words spoken by APJ, because he had taught anything after practicing the same in his life. A swayamsevek never speaks any hollow word. He believes in doing as same is taught in the Sangh.

Force Your Future is a book by APJ. He had answered the queries by youth in it. Is it possible to rebuild our nation? The youth who had asked this question had also mentioned various difficulties in achieving this target. This question can also be asked as is it possible for India to be a superpower or is it possible for India to stand united, etc. The answer of APJ thoroughly depicts the style of a swayamsevak. He had the thought process like a swayamsevak of RSS.

APJ Kalam says – ‘You have to dream before you set for rebuilding your nation. Be dedicated and believe in action only. Self confidence is a second virtue. If you lack this feeling then your dream would not realize. The third virtue is you must have faith. If you do not have faith then you can not realize the potentials within yourself. You will succeed only if you have committed about your success.

Fourth virtue is a solid courage. Your critics will do their job but you should not yield to them. And the fifth virtue is readiness to toil. You have to toil hard to overcome the hurdles blocking your path.

The sixth virtue is there should be definite aim in your life and you should have compassion for other human beings. Many have misconception about pleasure. Selfishness does not lead real pleasure. You should have aim in your life and you should follow righteous path to achieve it. You should have self confidence also. Your life will become meaningful only after you sacrifice yourself for any upright cause.

It can be said that APJ Abdul Kalam was a real Indian Model of Abraham Lincoln. Abraham Lincoln had become extraordinary person rising up from ordinary level.  Likewise APJ Abdul Kalam had also become extraordinary person rising up from ordinary level.

A Shakha of RSS is a tool to build the character of the swayamsevak. In the prayer of RSS some virtues are claimed from the almighty like the divine character. APJ had that divine character and humble personality. He had written a poem in the form of prayer to God. In one stanza he says –

‘Create thoughts in the minds of my people,
And transform those thoughts into action.
Help all the leaders of my country to give strength
And bless the nation with peace and prosperity.
Give strength to all my religious leaders to bring
Unity of minds among all our billion people.’

His thrust has been always remaining on righteous way and righteousness. He has said- ‘If you are pious at heart then you also have a good character. And when your character is good then you have harmony and better consensus in your family. When there is consensus in a family then there is consensus throughout the nation also. When there is consensus within the nation then obviously peace will prevail all over world.

Corruption is a serious evil which our country is facing today. Character implies that one should not indulge any kind of corruption anyway. APJ says – only three persons have power to make our country free from the corruption, namely, Mata (the Mother), Pita (the Father) and Guru (the Master). Our age-old tradition also gives same message in different words. The message runs as – Mathru devo bhava, Pithru devo bhava, Aachaarya devo bhava.
In his wonderful poem about mother APJ says –

I still remember a day when I was ten,
Sleeping in your lap
To the envy of my elder brothers and sisters.
It was full-moon night, my world only you knew;
At midnight I awoke to tears on my cheeks
You knew the pain of your child, my mother.
Your caring hands, tenderly removing the pain,
Your love, your care, your faith gave me strength
To face the world void of fear and with His strength.
We will meet again on the great Judgement Day, my mother!

APJ had very humble feelings about his father. In a thunderstorm during British Raj his father has lost his ship. APJ used to tell the story again and again that how his father had built that ship again and how he got the motivation from it. His father was Imam of the Rameshwarm Mosque. The father of the Church and Priest of Rameshwaram Temple used to visit his house occasionally. They had tea and discuss various subjects there harmoniously. This thing also had everlasting effect on the personality of APJ. Therefore, the truth is one but there are various ways leading towards it became the life motto of his life. APJ also written poem about The Guru in which he says – The Guru means light and this light gives a message that The God is one.
In his poem ‘Rakhi Day is Religious Day’ APJ says-

This full moon day our hearts are in brim
Feeling of faith and serenity in mind.
We light the lamps and our hears glow
Radiance of happiness and peace are in flow.
Harmonious homes are like streams of joy
Flowing and flourishing the landscape en route.
Nobility in heart and character in deed
Righteous homes alone make a beautiful State.
Sisters will tie the thread on the brothers
Abiding them to do only what is right and clean.
Put the Kumkum and blessed rice on the head
Where will dwell right thoughts and noble action.

We have Raksha Bandhan (tying a sacred thread on the forearm) and Guru Pujan Utsav in RSS. Both this utsavas have a great social message which was grasped by APJ without going to shakha and he had also expressed the same though his poems as well.

APJ had a dream of a glorious, powerful and prosperous India. In his wonderful speech he had said – In 3000 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, their history and Tried to enforce our way of life on them. Why? Because we respect the freedom of others.

My second vision for India’s Development, for fifty years we have been a developing nation. It is time we see ourselves as a developed nation. 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.
Why is the media here so negative? Why are we in India so embarrassed to recognize our own strengths, our achievements? 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. There are millions of such achievements but our media is only obsessed in the bad news and failures and disasters. 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 technology. Why this obsession with everything imported. 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. 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? 

I am echoing J. F. Kennedy’s words to his fellow Americans to relate to Indians….. ‘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.’

At the end of the Shakha there is prayer about our motherland in which it is said that - O Loving Motherland! You hast brought me up in happiness. May my life, O great and blessed Holy Land, be laid down in your cause; I bow to you again and again. APJ had never recited this prayer. But his life was replica of this emotion. Our Bharatmata should be blessed with a son like APJ at least once again.