United we stand, Divided we fall.
As we have the entered the year of Dr APJ Abdul Kalam and Dr Y. S. Rajan’s vision, I want to reflect on the achievements that we have accomplished yet and what we are yet to achieve.
Dr Kalam said that the 19th century was in the name of Europe, the 20 century was in the name of the US and the 21st century will be in the name of India. He had a vision for India to be a major superpower by the 21st century. We must believe that India can also become a developed nation. Kalam had huge hopes for the young minds, whom he called ‘The Ignited Minds’. And today, I think they are doing great in the fields of technology and development. But the government needs to spend more on education, and health and technology to fulfil this vision.
Dr Kalam had three visions for India:
Firstly, freedom for him not only meant freedom from the colonisers but the nation’s obsession with foreign/imported things. He said that we need to become self-reliant. It is self-reliance which brings self-respect. In India, we blame our government for its inefficiency, we blame our laws to be ineffective, but what are we doing about it? Taking, for example, Singapore, you cannot throw a cigarette on the streets there, in Washington you cannot drive your car over the speed of 55 km/hr or use your power as an excuse for your negligence.
If the same Indians can respect other nations’ rules and regulations while living there, then why not do the same here? And then we blame the government! In one of the chapters in his book, he says, “Easy way out: Blame it on the system”. But we must stand up for the right and come forward to help improve our country.
Secondly, India is reputed to be a friendly nation in many countries. We have great diplomatic relations with the US, the European countries, the Gulf countries, the Middle East, and the Southeast Asian countries. For example, the SAARC COVID-19 emergency fund has accumulated a sum of US $21.8, where India has announced a contribution of US $10 million and promised to supply medicines to other countries during this crisis.
Kalam said, “Sight is what lies right in front of us, but Vision is what lies ahead”. According to him, this vision 2020 would be achievable. We had brought the great revolution, i.e., the green revolution, and we developed our space technology from zero to launching a satellite-based communication system to Chandrayaan 1 to Mission Mars, and many more.
Dr Kalam says there are two main factors: sensing the problem and a will to achieve our target/vision. For this, we need to change your routine habits and do something different than our usual ways. Lastly, he suggested that we need to run a series of solutions to adopt the most suitable one. For example, in the health sector, he talked about the present and future ills, expressing his concerns over affordability and the lack of basic facilities for the poor.
He promoted the use of technology such as Remote Sensing Satellites, which can help detect mosquito breeding areas. But this does not imply that we have left our culture behind. Alternatively, he has also encouraged the use of our natural herbs, along with adapting relevant methods from other civilizations. The AYUSH scheme is a step towards this. According to him, scientific and technological development should spread to every society. We must strive for higher and higher development.
Dr Kalam also introduces his ‘Theory of Exploitation of Technology’ in this book. Explaining it further, he says, if you don’t have the technology, there is no use of the natural resources. India, as you know, is overpopulated, which means that the basic needs of each person in India, i.e., resource availability per person is less than the required amount. Brazil, on the other hand, is underpopulated because there, the resource availability per person is more. Similarly, the US and the European countries have ‘Optimum Population’ because of the technology-based utilization of resources.
Dr Kalam compared Japan to Africa. He said that Japan had fewer resources, but due to technological creativity, they have reached where they are now in just a few decades. However, Africa has abundant resources, but due to the lack of technology, it is behind Japan. Thus, technology is the only means to achieve this vision. For holistic development, he also asks us to remove our differences and think like an Indian and progress on the path of development.