For them, Kalam is still the star

For them, Kalam is still the star

 
Kalam was at his usual best narrating the legendary scientific expeditions of Newton and Ramanujan and how scientists like Vikram Sarabhai and Satish Dhawan shaped the country’s space programme. Like a teacher taking classes, he coaxed the children numbering about 2,500 who had come from all over the country to repeat passages after him, shoot questions and even mail answers to his questions. There were interesting results when he asked them what they would like to become. The most number of hands went up for ‘doctor’ and ‘engineer’ followed by those for ‘scientist’. Hardly 10 hands went up when asked how many wanted to join politics. 

Shorn of the security he was once used to, both Kalam and the children were at ease. Kalam took his own time to answer about 25 questions even as the children egged him on to answer the mundane and tricky ones. For instance, Kalam was asked whether he also had a woman like the proverbial one behind every successful man to inspire him to the heights he had reached. He paused for a moment and replied. “Yes, my mother’’.

Kalam drove home the point that there were myriad  benefits in pursuing a career in science. “Science can empower a nation and find solutions to its crippling problems. It can create leaders of the future like Madhavan Nair’’ he said. Dr Madhavan Nair chaired the session which was also attended among others by Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre director P S Veeraraghavan and Kerala University VC, Dr Jayakrishnan.

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