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Ignited Minds: Unleashing the Power Within India goes the logical next step and examines why, given all our skills, resources and talents, we, so obviously. User Review - Flag as inappropriate. Ignited Minds" true to its title can ignite the minds of all its readers young and old alike. The book reinstills a sense of Pride. At the heart of Ignited Minds is an irresistible premise: that people do have the power, through hard work, to realize their dream of a truly good.
When they grow, who can be the role models? Mother, father and elementary schoolteachers play a very important part as role models. When the child grows, the role models will be national leaders of quality and integrity in every field including politics, the sciences, technology and industry.
Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now.
For them, the nation was bigger than themselves and they could draw thousands to act upon their dreams. Totadri Iyengar. As a young student I saw Prof. Totadri Iyengar — a unique, divine-looking personality — walking through the college campus every morning and teaching mathematics to the students of B. Honours and M. The students looked at him with awe as one would at a guru, which indeed he was. When he walked, knowledge radiated all around.
He used to talk about Prof. Totadri Iyengar with deep respect and would organize integrated classes for first year B. Honours and first year B. Physics to be taught by him. I also had the opportunity to attend some of these classes, particularly on the subjects of modern algebra and statistics. When we were in first year B.
Totadri Iyengar used to give lecture series. He spoke for nearly one hour. The lecture still rings in my ears. Let me share with you my thoughts about some ancient mathematicians, glimpses of whom I saw in Prof. Totadri Iyengar in my own way. Aryabhata, born in ad in Kusumapura now called Patna , was an astronomer and mathematician.
He was reputed to be a repository of all the mathematical knowledge known at that point of time. He was only twenty-three years old when he wrote Aryabhatiyam in two parts. The text covers arithmetic, algebra and trigonometry and, of course, astronomy.
He gave formulae for the areas of a triangle and a circle and attempted to give the volumes of a sphere and a pyramid. To celebrate this great astronomer, India named its first satellite launched in Aryabhata. He wrote the Brahma Sphuta Siddhanta at the age of thirty. He updated works of astronomy. He covered progressions and geometry. He also studied and gave what is known as the solution of indeterminate equations of different degrees as well as solutions to quadratic equations.
Bhaskaracharya was another unique intellectual of his time. He was bom in ad at Vijjalbada, located at what is now the border of Karnataka and Maharashtra. He wrote the famous Siddhanthasiromani in four chapters. He lived only for thirty- three years and had no practical formal education or means of living.
Yet, his inexhaustible spirit and love for his subject enabled him to make a vast contribution to mathematical research and some of his contributions are still under serious study, engaging the efforts of mathematicians to establish formal proofs. Ramanujan was a unique Indian genius who could melt the heart of as rigorous a mathematician as Prof. Hardy of Trinity College, Cambridge.
In fact, it is not an exaggeration to say that it was Hardy who discovered Ramanujan for the world. Why do not our reputed scientists locate another Ramanujan in our schools? Hardy, while rating geniuses on a scale of , put most of them in the range of around 30, giving a rating of 60 to the rare exception.
However, for Ramanujan, he suggested, only the value of would fit. There can be no better tribute to either Ramanujan or to the Indian heritage. I hope that eminent teachers who teach and inspire the young students of mathematics will continue their unmatched and noble services in the years to come, thus ensuring the march of Indian brilliance in this field.
Chandrasekhar, the astrophysicist, continued the Indian mathematics tradition in his work abroad. Of course mathematics is universal.
Now the tradition will further blossom with the efforts of Prof. Seshadri, Prof. Narasimhan, Prof. Varadhan, Prof. Raghunathan, Prof.
Narender Karmakar and Prof. Ashok Sen, among others. Sir C. Raman started his career in the Office of the Accountant General, Calcutta. But the scientist in him would not let him rest and he was always probing for answers to some of the problems that interested him. Fortunately, he was supported by the great educationist Ashutosh Mukheijee, who encouraged Sir C.
Raman to pursue his research. It is noteworthy that the Raman Effect, the discovery of which brought him the Nobel prize, did not come out of a grand establishment set up at vast expense.
I believe the urge to show to the world the excellence of Indian minds would have been a major motivating factor for Sir C. The same is the case with Prof. Chandrasekhar, also a Nobel laureate for his work on black holes. There are some interesting statements in his biography Chandra by Kameshwar C. Bose, C. Raman, Meghnad Saha, Srinivasa Ramanujan, and Rabindranath Tagore, by their achievements in scientific and creative endeavours, became national heroes along with Jawaharlal Nehru, Mahatma Gandhi, and a host of others.
Between and , we had suddenly five or six internationally well-known men. I myself have associated this remarkable phenomenon with the need for self-expression, which became a dominant motive among the young during the national movement. It was a part of the national movement to assert oneself. India was a subject country, but. Here I would like to quote Sir C. 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 can recognize that we, as inheritors of a proud civilization, are entitled to our rightful place on this planet. If that indomitable spirit were to arise, nothing can hold us from achieving our rightful destiny.
What we should note is that the movement for independence generated the best of leaders in arts, science, technology, economics, history and literature who stand with the best in the world. In more recent times too we have seen the emergence of great visionary scientists. Particularly, I was interested in the lives of three scientists — Dr D.
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Kothari, Dr Homi J. Bhabha and Dr Vikram Sarabhqi. I wanted to learn more about their leadership qualities in the scientific and technological fields which helped link these to the development of the nation. Kothari, a professor at Delhi University, was an outstanding physicist and astrophysicist. He is well known for ionization of matter by pressure in cold compact objects like planets. Kothari set a scientific tradition in Indian defence tasks when he became Scientific Adviser to Defence Minister in The first thing he did was to establish the Defence Science Centre to do research in electronic materials, nuclear medicine and ballistic science.
He is considered the architect of defence science in India. We are celebrating this great mind through a research chair at the Indian Institute of Science.
Dr Bhabha did research in theoretical physics at Cambridge University. From to , Homi Bhabha carried out research relating to cosmic radiation. In , he joined Sir C. Raman at IISc, Bangalore. Later, he founded the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research with focus on nuclear and mathematical sciences.
He established the Atomic Energy Commission in These science institutions generated further technological centres keeping nuclear science as the vital component. Dr Sarabhai, the youngest of the three, had worked with Sir C. Raman in experimental cosmic rays. He established the Physical Research Laboratory at Ahmedabad with space research as the focus. His vision led to the establishment of ISRO with its allied centres responsible for development of launch vehicles, satellites, mission management and applications.
These three Indian scientists, all of them physicists, started physics research institutions that blossomed into defence technology, nuclear technology and space technology, which now employ 20, scientists in centres spread around the country.
It is essential that technologies that give immediate benefits to the people be taken up for implementation by the system regardless of which party is in power.
Another important message conveyed by these scientists is that basic science is vital for growth of technology and for developing new leaders in science. Let us learn from them the proven qualities of leadership to value science and technology in an integrated way. In , Dr Sarabhai and Dr Bhabha were looking for a site to establish the space research station in the equatorial region.
Thumba in Kerala was found most suitable as it was near the equatorial region and was ideally suited for ionospheric research. The locality, however, was inhabited by thousands of fishermen living in the villages there. As such, the acquisition of the land did not move any further. Dr Peter Bernard Pereira, on a Saturday and requested transfer of the property. The Bishop smiled and asked him to meet him the next day.
Science seeks truth that enriches human life. The higher level of religion is spirituality. The spiritual preachers seek the help of the Almighty to bring peace to human minds. It was indeed a great experience working with Dr Sarabhai from to Though the nation was in its technological infancy, Dr Sarabhai was dreaming of developing our own satellite launch vehicles. These would be used to launch from Indian soil remote sensing satellites in sun- synchronous orbit and communication satellites in geosynchronous orbit.
I wrote briefly in Wings of Fire about this episode. I was given the design project of the fourth stage of SLV-3, that is, the upper stage rocket, which would give the final velocity to put Rohini into orbit. This fourth stage uses an advanced composite material that provides high strength with minimum weight.
It also has maximum loading of high energy solid propellant. While we were developing the design of this upper stage in , I received a call from Dr Sarabhai from Ahmedabad stating that he would be visiting Thiruvananthapuram along with Prof. I was asked to give a presentation about the fourth stage to Prof. When the presentation was over, we realized that the SLV-3 fourth stage was also being considered as upper stage for the French Diamont P-4 launch vehicle.
The CNES needed an apogee rocket motor nearly double the propellant weight and also size of the stage that we had designed.
I mention this episode because at the time this decision was taken, we ourselves were in the design stage! Development work on this stage started ahead of the other stages of SLV With our motivation thus boosted, work proceeded in full swing. A series of reviews took place between the two teams and the fourth stage graduated from drawing board to developing stage.
Unfortunately in , Dr Sarabhai passed away, and at the same time the French government called off the Diamont P-4 programme. Once the fourth stage was developed and a series of tests was going on, a new requirement appeared on the horizon, in the form of India building a small communication satellite to be launched by the European Ariane launch vehicle. This achievement came as a fantastic fillip to the rocket technologists in the country.
The visionary may not be with us today but his vision gets realized. The dream of Dr Sarabhai was shaped into reality by Prof. Satish Dhawan. Dhawan structured and nurtured ISRO with a space profile and his work led to many significant accomplishments and benefits from a number of remote sensing and communication satellites.
The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle accomplished the feat of launching multiple satellites for India and other countries, injecting them in different orbits in a single mission. I learned an important lesson in management from Prof. It is a lesson that has been of abiding value all through the other projects I have worked on.
The other thing I have learnt after more than forty years of working in three departments in various projects and programmes is that you will succeed as a project leader as long as you remember that the project is bigger than you.
Wherever the project leader tries to make himself out to be bigger than the project, the enterprise suffers.
The PSLV weighed about tonnes at take-off. Dhawan wanted to study an alternative and simple configuration. I and some of my colleagues, A. Sivathanu Pillai, N. Sundarrajan and K. Padmanaba Menon, carried out mission, technology and feasibility studies for the optimal configuration. The team designed several options, including a unique core vehicle with an advanced solid propellant booster, using first stage rockets of SLV-3 as strap- ons.
Dhawan used to come almost daily to my small room, which was close to his office, and debate the possible configuration choice. He was himself a foremost aerodynamic specialist with mathematics and system engineering background, and would illustrate his ideas on the blackboard and ask us to do more homework.
We also studied the growth opportunities of PSLV with cryogenic upper stage as a GSLV and the possibility of launching due-east geosynchronous missions. Detailed examination and debate, taking the long- term plans into account, took place and they chose the PSLV configuration as proposed by my launch vehicle team. Dhawan considered the future scenario of operationalization of PSLV and GSLV, bearing in mind the satellites and application programmes, and decided on this unique configuration and evolved the roadmap for ISRO for the next fifteen years.
I and Prof. A memorable day for me is 31 May Dhawan gave me a send-off in an unconventional way. He called an ISRO council meeting to. I made a presentation to the directors of the ISRO centres on performance and cost-effectiveness of our launch vehicles and the growth profile. Dhawan broke the news that he had given me to DRDO. This decision indeed gave me a change that led to progress in a different field. This is close to the direction envisaged in the early s by Prof.
The recognition of ISRO as a successful organization was due to the strong foundation and space profile envisioned by him. One test of leadership is also how well successors are able to carry forward a programme. Rao and Dr K. Kasturirangan brought further success and glory to the organization.
After his retirement Prof. Dhawan continued as a member of the Space Commission and in that capacity continued to help the organization which he built. Remarkably, Prof. Dhawan saw the space missions envisioned by him come into being in his lifetime. What a great personality he was!
The first stage of SLV-3 became handy to configure Agni as a long-range deterrent. Both Prithvi and Agni are in production and induction phase. Trishul, which is a surface-to-air missile, and Akash, once development is complete, will be contemporary missiles. The third generation anti-tank Nag will dominate as one of the best such missiles. But this should not deter us. My experience in dealing with the network of institutions that has been established is that our country has tremendous potential to develop the best technologies in this field.
The natural course of action appeared to be the supersonic cruise missile, which is essential in tactical warfare. Many countries have cruise missiles, but they fly at subsonic speed. Our association with one of the Russian institutes, NPO Mashinostroyenia, developed into a partnership in the joint design and development of supersonic cruise missile system. This partnership is based upon friendship and equal competencies.
Yefremov, Director General of NPO Mashinostroyenia, an outstanding scientist of our time, who had developed seven types of cruise missiles and inducted the systems in the Russian Navy. Creating a joint venture between India and Russia in high-technology projects in the prevailing situation in the s became a complex question and a challenge to both Dr Yefremov and me. Dr Yefremov took me to his technology centres which are not normally shown to any foreigner.
He truly treated me as a friend and arranged an Indian lunch in his laboratory. I took him to the Research Centre Imarat, an advanced missile technology centre at Hyderabad. He was genuinely pleased to see the strides we had made.
Our scientific minds merged and our friendship blossomed. The dual role, an exceptional decision of the government, was essential to ensure the success of this venture. A new kind of joint venture came into existence, one which bridged the scientific community and industry of the two countries in design, development, production and marketing of an advanced technology weapon. It was a source of great joy for me, as it was for the two teams.
The first flight of BrahMos on 12 June from the Interim Test Range, Chandipur, was a milestone signalling the progress of the joint venture. Dr Yefremov and I are glad that both India and Russia have realized that this joint venture is the right way to bridge two friendly nations for building high-technology weapon systems that could enter the world market.
My dream of marketing an advanced weapon system ahead of the so-called developed countries will come true through BrahMos, even though I am away from the scene. The team that I built has performed creditably. I am happy. As I went around the Amul establishment, I saw value addition at work. From milk the cooperative has branched off to making numerous derivatives, including butter, cheese and ice- cream. These initiatives have given it the strength to be a major player in a highly competitive market.
When I asked him what, in his view, was one sure way of launching the country on a growth trajectory, his answer was: Without their involvement we cannot succeed.
With their involvement we cannot fail. I asked him if cancer was some unmitigated curse.
Yes and no, said the seventy-seven-year-old Albert Einstein Professor of Radiology. Yes, because we genetically inherit certain traits which make us vulnerable to cancer. Research, into how the brain can influence immune response has given rise to the new field called Psycho-Neuro-Immunology PNI.
Other fields of research include Psycho-Neuro- Cardiology PNC , the study of the mind- heart connection, or Psycho-Neuro- Haematology PNH , the study of how the mind can influence blood-related disorders, such as clotting problems in haemophilia.
Such is the power of thought! These are diseases which normally require intensive treatment. But even here, medicine acknowledges that our minds can play a major role.
India needs visionaries of the stature of J. Tata, Vikram Sarabhai, Satish Dhawan and Dr Verghese Kurien, to name a few, who can involve an entire generation in mission-driven programmes which benefit the country as a whole. They are: The combination of the two will make the Nation truly strong and prosperous. A always tell the young to dream.
When as a child Einstein first saw a compass he was fascinated by the way the needle moved whenever he changed direction. Watching the needle became an obsession with him as he tried to understand the invisible force that moved the compass needle. Where was the force located? Who controlled it? Why did it always work? What was it made of? But is that all there is to it? We can easily see the magnetic field at work, but cannot detect it with our senses, even though it is everywhere on our planet.
Logically then, it is in us also. Similarly, our planet is in a perpetual state of motion as it goes spinning through space. Everything on the planet is a part of this movement, even though it appears to us that we are motionless.
I am on the planet and thus part of the energy that moves it. Dyer argues that we can use this universal energy to bring to us the objects of our desire, because what we desire is also in us and vice versa. It becomes a matter of alignment and will that allows us to tap into this force.
Most of these places were new to me and offered me the chance to learn more about certain things I had always been interested in but could not explore — such as the world of saints and seers.
I saw a diverse range of activities being carried out in the spiritual centres I visited. At one, it was the value-based education being provided that impressed me. At another place, an attempt was being made to integrate ancient science with modern and Sanskrit documents were being studied to gauge the progress made in earlier times. I had an extended discussion on the fusion of science and spirituality with a guru. I saw how a punya atma can go beyond providing religious strength to setting up hospitals and universities, as also a scheme for supply of water.
There was one place which seeks to alleviate the distress of patients who are suffering from terminal cancer. Another centre was exploring the link between medical science and meditation. My discussion with Swamyi on the fusion of science and spirituality, and the role it could play in national development, went on for an hour.
I am tempted to reproduce verbatim the questions and answers with Swamyi. Abdul Kalam AK: Swamiji, India had the vision, since , to be an independent nation. It took ninety years for us as a nation to get freedom. The goal was one, focussed, and well understood — to acquire independence.
Swamyi, what is or what can be such a vision now? Since the last fifty years, India has been a developing country. It means economically it is not strong, socially it is not stable, in security aspects it is not self- reliant, and that is why it is called a developing country. How do we transform a developing country into a developed country in the next twenty years? We have identified five important areas to transform India — education and healthcare, agriculture, information and communication, infrastructure and critical technology.
Swamyi, our problem is that we may present this before the government, but how do we create people with values to carry out such a big vision? What we need is a cadre of value- based cidzens.
Otherwise resources will not be deployed effectively, as we are witnessing. For this, we need your suggestion, Swamiji. Along with these five, you needed a sixth one — faith in God and developing people through spirituality.
This is very important. We need to first generate a moral and spiritual atmosphere.
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We need people who live by the laws of the scriptures and bear faith in God. For this we need to resite belief. This will make things easier. Our problems will be solved and we shall be able to achieve what we dream. Swamiji, for carrying forward such a big vision of transforming India, should we first create a spiritual tradition — make people more spiritually inclined — and then embark upon our vision, or focus on one of the important areas like education or health?
Or should we integrate everything and begin simultaneously? We must move ahead simultaneously.
Therefore, together with knowledge of the Apara, one should learn the Para as well. If one learns this then Apara — worldly knowledge — vidya will become founded on dharma and spirituality. AKj To realize this great dream, three types of people are needed — punya atma virtuous people , punya neta virtuous leaders and punya adhikari virtuous officers. If the population of all the three were to increase in our society, then India would become the jagadguru world leader.
How can their numbers be increased? Together with your academic and scientific training, give spiritual training in our schools and colleges. Nowadays, spiritual education has been removed from the syllabi of schools and colleges. But from the beginning, right from birth, people should be taught values, only then will people become virtuous.
Knowledge of our scriptures and great sadhus and sages should be included in the syllabus. The social, spiritual and political leaders whom we hold in respect imbibed the correct values from the very beginning. In the past, such values were taught in our gurukul system of education. Whether a prince or a pauper, everyone studied together.
Along with academics, lessons such as satyam vada speak the truth , dharmam chara tread the path of righteousness , service towards others and faith in God were taught. Swamiji, good citizens cannot be produced by the laws of the government.
Can spiritual institutions do it? Can you ask parents to guide their children to learn the right values up to the age of fifteen? Similarly, in all elementary schools, teachers should also instil these in the students. But if we fail to do this, then the government cannot by itself produce good, honest citizens. Is my understanding correct, Swamiji? This sentiment is also expressed by Tiruvalluvar in the Thirukkural — when failure occurs, challenge it with cheerful attitude. When one possesses such noble thoughts, patriotism is but natural.
However, spiritual values should form the foundation of life. Spiritual strength is important. And along with this, we must have economic strength for strength is respected in the world.
A combination of both is necessary. And to achieve both, there is only one answer — sweat! Hard work is a must. God has ultimately given you success. I seek your blessings for this. I shall pray that your ideas are successfully realized. May India prosper both spiritually and economically. What I wish to say is that the stronger the spiritual wealth, the stronger will become all other forms of wealth.
If you increase material wealth alone, man will be lost in luxury and worldly pleasures. Spirituality will guide him back, help him rise above mundane pleasures.
In reality, we rarely provide what is really needed. We provide everything else, clothing, food, shelter, but with all this we should also provide spiritual wealth.
One should remember that when man gains extra money and power, more than what is necessary. He loses control. The rishis sages of the past have also given us science. You, too, are a rishi. Here, in ad , at the age of , the saint entered his cell to pray in seclusion for six days, at the end of which he passed away.
As I went round the dargah, I was struck by the beauty of all that the shrine symbolized. Eight hundred years ago, a saint travelled from Arabia, passing through many lands before reaching Ajmer. Here he brought together different communities who lived peacefully around his shrine.
The teachings and message of Khwaja Gharib Nawaz have been of an exceptional character. Chishti sufis who succeeded him continued the tradition set by him. They were truly the pioneers in national integration. The teachings of Khwaja Sahib have been recorded in several books. For him, one who possesses the magnanimity of the river, the kindness of the sun and humility of the earth is closest to God.
Khwaja Sahib said that the noblest character is possessed by one who is graceful in poverty, content in hunger, cheerful in grief and friendly in hostility. According to this great saint, the surest way to avoid the punishment of hell is to feed the hungry, to redress the aggrieved and to help the distressed. Khwaja Sahib gave a role model of Aarif, one who considers death as his friend, comfort as his enemy and always remembers God. An Aarif fears, respects and possesses shyness.
I wondered. Before any action, ask yourself this question: If the answer is no, be cautious of your ego that is at work. The ego promotes turmoil because it separates you from everyone, including God. Ajmer is located in the picturesque Aravalli range. Besides the Dargah Sharif it has the holy lake of Pushkar.
These two holy places symbolize, as it were, the abiding amity between the two major religions of India. Ajmer presents a model of a peaceful society. I performed namaz as a thanksgiving for this amity. The scene reminded me of the similar location of two other religious centres, Nagore Dargah and Velankanni church.
Balakrishnan of the IISc. In their questions, they showed interest not only in technological development but also in adhering to an honest way of life. After the interaction with the students I met Amma. It was a remarkable experience. How can one take oneself closer to God was the message she was giving to the people. I wondered at the extraordinary effort that had gone into setting up an institution which could build hospitals, set up management schools of high calibre, and provide housing schemes for the economically weaker sections of society.
My query led to a discussion with Amma and the other sanyasis. Though the institution imparts education in all major disciplines of knowledge and creates engineers, medical doctors, management graduates and science research scholars, they are still circumscribed by their individual specialization.
Amma suddenly said. How to connect? I was at Christ College, Rajkot, getting ready for a function there when there was a call from Swami Nikhileswarananda of the Ramakrishna Mission. Swamiji requested me to visit his ashram and I had to agree. After the function at Christ College, I rushed to the ashram.
On 6 October , the Sankaracharyas of Ranchi organized a very important gathering of farmers from hundreds of villages to launch integrated development through the concept of knowledge- empowered rural development. I was invited to participate. I was struck by the fact that spiritual leaders were helping focus programmes for development. When the meeting ended both Acharyas called me for a private meeting.
Swami Jayendra Saraswathigal inquired about the crashlanding of the helicopter and blessed me. Swami Vijayendra Saraswathigal conveyed to me that the maulvi of a very famous year-old mosque was waiting in the mutt to take me to the mosque.
Swamiji suggested that I visit the mosque. Mr Venkataraman showed me the mosque very close to the Ranchi mutt. A few years ago, the mosque jamayath authorities and the district authorities decided to relocate the mosque to some other suitable place as its present location was inconvenient both for the mutt and mosque. The mutt would rebuild the mosque in its new location. Somehow this message reached the Paramacharya. He vehemently opposed the whole idea.
He made this clear to both the district authorities and the mutt. The Paramacharya went into mouna viradham — deep silence. Finally, shifting of the mosque was stopped. I later went to the mosque and met the maulvi and kazi and offered namaz there.
About fifty students were learning the Holy Quran. I sat with them and asked them to recite the Alhamthu, the sura that embodies the Quran. In Kanchi, I was privileged to see vedic recitation and recitations from the Quran proceeding side by side. Therein lies the greatness and essence of India. During the discussion in the Sankara College of Engineering among Sanskrit professors, students and teachers, presided over by the Sankaracharyas, it became clear that ancient Sanskrit literature is a storehouse of scientific principles and methodology, even to the extent of there being texts about how to build a viman aeroplane.
Subjects like physics, chemistry, medicine and ayurveda are, of course, well documented. There was a consensus that the work of our ancient scholars and scientists should be thoroughly examined and where possible integrated with modern science.
Rama Rao and me. The day began with a morning prayer at 7. Its subject was how to remove hatred from our hearts — by sacrificing the ego and substituting love in its place. All through the conference, which began at 9. He blessed every presentation and when I finished my five- minute presentation on how technology would transform human life — an example being the cardiac stent that we had made — he got up and blessed me, to the cheers of participants. I was impressed to see his interest in the conference, as I had been impressed by the speciality hospital at Whitefield that I had visited earlier.
He had been told that Chennai was facing a water problem. So, when he announced that he would ensure water flowed to the city, it was more heartening still. Before our eyes, her personality changed. Her face became radiant, her voice became deeper as she talked about the four treasures: Knowledge, Yoga, Virtue and Service. We — I, Sivathanu Pillai, and Selvamurthy — were lucky to be called by her to the dais and blessed. My friend Dr W. Dr Pratap Midha and Dr Selvamurthy joined together and formulated a unique treatment for cardiac patients.
When I reviewed this project, two years back, about sixty patients reported an improved sense of well-being. Now, it has yielded excellent results with patients reporting progress.
The treatment included lifestyle intervention with Raja Yoga meditation for stress management, low-fat high-fibre diet for reducing risk of hyper lipidemia and regular aerobic exercise or walking to improve the cardio-vascular and metabolic efficiency I hope that medical treatment will begin to lay greater emphasis on healing not only the body but also the mind.
It was a pleasure to look at their bright faces bubbling with enthusiasm. In a post-dinner session when I asked them in turn about their mission in life, the reply was unanimous: Dr Selvamurthy and I were moved to recite a Tamil poem composed 1, years ago by Awaiyar which in translation reads thus: It is rare to be born as a human being It is still more rare to be bom without any deformity Even if you are born without any deformity It is rare to acquire knowledge and education Even if one could acquire knowledge and education It is still rare to do offerings and tapas But for one who does offerings and tapas The doors of heaven open to greet him.
What is the conclusion to be drawn from this story? I asked them. The Brahma Kumaris responded by saying that our civilization is rich, which leads to forward thinking, harmony and better understanding. With such a great nation and people, why are there communal clashes? The unification of science and spirituality will be essential to take the benefit of science and technology to mankind. In , Sri Aurobindo wrote in the Song of Humanity: There was one message common to all the places I visited — there is a higher self within you that transcends the limitations of the physical world.
I felt the presence of this higher self in my father. I have learned over the years to maintain my equanimity regardless of circumstances. I have faced failures and disappointments without feeling defeated. I wish to live the rest of my life at peace with myself and others. I have no wish to engage in quarrels with others. This is the challenge before the individual as he tries to transcend his limitations.
At this point, I recall a sura from the Holy Quran. The result of my actions belongs to me. Once we have trust in the wisdom that created us, we can develop a faith that sustains us through our lives.
Indians are well versed with the concept of higher self, or perhaps highest self is the preferable term. For generations our ancestors lived their lives by this concept. But for many today, rooted perhaps too deeply in the material world, this idea sounds lofty and spiritual. For me it has been a cornerstone of the way I live. On one occasion, as I was leaving for Bangalore, I spoke to a friend of mine and told him that I would be talking to young people and whether he had any suggestions.
He did not offer any suggestions as such, but offered me these nuggets of wisdom. To gladden the heart of a human being, to feed the hungry, to help the afflicted, to lighten the sorrow of the sorrowful and to remove the wrongs of the injured.
My friend who told me this is a greatgrandson of a Deekshidar of Tamil Nadu and a Ganapaathigal vedic scholar. He is none other than Y. Such an outlook is possible only in our country. Let us remember the Rig Veda: My grandfather and greatgrandfather were called Ambalakarar — noble leaders — in Rameswaram. The island celebrates this event by organizing his marriage with Sita — his divine counterpart.
My greatgrandfather would provide a floating platform for the occasion to carry the decorated vigraha through the holy tank named Ramar Theertham. The tank is very deep. The floating platform with vigraha, bedecked with beautiful gold ornaments, of Lord Rama is taken round a small mandapa at the centre of the tank.
Then and now, all of Rameswaram assembles for the occasion. One year, my greatgrandfather was witnessing the event when a mishap took place. The vigraha toppled down and sank. Without any hesitation or prompting, he jumped into the tank and recovered the vigraha as the entire town watched. The temple priests instituted muthal mariathai first honour for our family.
Could not each of us help nurture such a brotherhood wherever we happen to be? On 15 August , my high school teacher. We were all moved to hear him say that we were free. It was about how Mahatma Gandhi was walking barefoot in Noakhali, to help assuage the pain of the riot-affected families there.
Instead, he was at Noakhali. Having sensed the pulse of the young, and armed with the wisdom of the elders, I thought deeply about my own experiences with technology projects where people worked on problems that were new and demanded efforts that were unprecedented.
What really makes one succeed in the face of difficult tasks? We have talked about the importance of having a dream and of commitment, of hard work and having the spiritual strength to persevere through difficulties and failures. Is there anything missing in the cycle of creation? We survived as a nation the onslaughts of invaders and the numbing effects of colonialism. We have also learnt to adjust to the rifts and divisions in our own society. We must regain our broad outlook and draw upon our heritage and wisdom to enrich our lives.
The fact that we advance technologically does not preclude spiritual development. We need to home-grow our own model of development based on our inherent strengths. Each time I experience these phenomena — the cool breeze, the singing of the birds and the arrival of the sun — I am filled with awe at how nature brings together all the elements that go into making this moment possible and feel thankful to God.
I have been fortunate in that my work has taken me to very many beautiful places that opened up my mind to the cosmic reality. One such was Chandipur in Orissa. From Kolkata, the distance to Balasore is around km and Chandipur is 16 km from the town. The name means the abode of the Goddess Chandi or Durga.
The beach here is surely among the finest in India. At low tide the water recedes three kilometres as the tides follow their rhythmic cycle. The lonely beach, the whispering of tamarisk trees and the cool breeze create a feeling of extraordinary calm. I used to wadEk on the beach to the mouth of the rover Suwarnarekha. It was a feeling as close to bliss as I have ever felt. The Interim Test Range ITR was established in as a dedicated range for launching missiles, rockets and flight test vehicles.
A number of missiles of different class including the multi- role Trishul, multi-target capable Akash, the anti-tank Nag missile, the surface-to-surface missile Prithvi, and the long-range technology demonstrator Agni have been test-fired from the ITR. BrahMos, the Indo-Russian joint venture set up to develop supersonic cruise missiles has also been tested at this range. The ITR has also supported a number of other missions such as testing of the multi- barrel rocket launcher Pinaka and the pilotless aircraft Lakshya.
The ITR has also been made capable for testing airborne weapons and systems with the help of sophisticated instrumentation. The ITR extends 17 km along the seacoast where a number of tracking instruments have been deployed along the flight path of the test vehicles. Some of the significant test facilities at the ITR are a mobile and fixed electro-optical tracking system, mobile S-band tracking radar, fixed C-band tracking radar, fixed and mobile telemetry system, range computer, photo processing system, meteorological system and range safety systems.
An expert system has been developed for aiding safety decisions during launch. The ITR is slowly but surely growing into a world-class range. It was a hot and humid midnight sometime in July We were going through the results of the fourth consecutive successful flight of Prithvi. There was a mood of celebration.
Ramesh Khosla, Director General Artillery, suggested that the Army needed a flight test on a land range with the accuracy of impact at the final destination within meters. We opened a geographical map of India. There were five tiny dots at a distance of 70 to 80 km from ITR. These are the Wheeler Islands. We could not go to the Rajasthan desert for obvious reasons. The Andaman and Nicobar Islands are far away. Now the search for a suitable island started. A helicopter was used to survey the area.
Someone proposed asking the fishermen to guide us to the islands. My two colleagues, Saraswat and Salwan, drove to a place called Dhamra. From Dhamra, they hired a boat for the day for Rs.
By the time they reached the island it was almost dark. There was no option but to stay on the island. Early the next morning, they began their survey of the island, which is about 3 km long and metres wide. To their surprise, they saw on the eastern side of the island a Bangladesh flag flying atop a tree with huts nearby. The island was probably frequented by fishermen from the neighbouring country. My friends quickly removed the flag. Things moved fast thereafter.
The district authorities, including forest and environment officers, visited the island. The formalities were gone through with the Orissa government and the forest department to transfer the land. I personally met the concerned senior officials to make the file move to the desk of the Chief Minister.
We had already done preparatory work before moving the application. There were typical questions about fishing activity in the vicinity, the disturbance that might be caused to turde migration and above all the cost of the islands. Within ten days we got an appointment from the Chief Minister. I had heard a lot about Chief Minister Biju Patnaik, particularly about his days as a pilot and his friendship with President Sukarno.
Singh and Salwan, he welcomed us warmly. Whatever you ask, I will give. Your mission — the missile programme — is very important to the country. I had to respond immediately. Byu Patnaik was a man with a tremendous personality and deeply impressive as a leader too, one whose love for the nation transcended politics. I will discuss your thought in Delhi.
Sukarno explained the problem on hand to the visitor from India. For great men, religion is a way of making friends; small people make religion a fighting tool. Many years later, after several political upheavals, Megawati Sukarnoputri would become first the Vice President and then the President of Indonesia. Lament, my friend, at the passing away of a generation of politicians with a voice, vision and reach that went far beyond our borders.
Lament at our State-sponsored, abnormal and paranoid fixation with a particular country that has blinded us to the rest of the world, including the Third World, which we used to head not so long ago.
And weep softly at what we have reduced ourselves to in the comity of nations. For a large country with a billion people, a country with a thriving industry and large pool of scientific talent, a country, moreover, that is a nuclear power, India does not count for as much as it should. Is it not in our national interest to demonstrate to the world that we can think of a world beyond Pakistan, that we are a qualitatively better, more mature and secular country with a greater commitment to the values of democracy and freedom?
On the final day of the interaction, there was a discussion on Dual Use Technologies. One of the students raised a question. Dr Amartya Sen is a great economist and a Nobel laureate who is much respected for his ideas on development. A comment from such a personality cannot be ignored.
What is your view on his comments? In his view, India should have a friendly relationship with all countries to enhance its economic prosperity. The words were said by Pramukh Swami Maharaj on a discussion with A. Abdul Kalam at Swaminarayan Sanstha at Ahmedabad. It brings new thought; new thoughts lead to innovative actions. Your mind transcends limitations, your consciousness expands in every direction, and you find yourself in a new, great, and wonderful world.
Dormant forces, faculties, and talents become alive, and you discover yourself to be a greater person by far than you ever dreamed yourself to be. Shall I be successful? But what I do know is that there is no great power in heaven or on earth than the commitment to a dream.
Dreams hold something of that energy which lies at the heart of all things and are the binding force that brings the spiritual and the material together. What history teaches us? 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 driving force, which takes one anywhere. Whenever the project leader tries to make himself out to be bigger than the project, the enterprise suffers.
Where are we making the mistake? There seems to be an attitude problem as if we cannot shake ourselves out of a mindset of limited achievement. For great men, religion is a way of making friends; small people make religion a fighting tool. What are the forces which lead to the rise or fall of nations? And what are the factors which go to make a nation strong: a collective pride in its achievements, unity and the ability for combined actions.
Challenges throw up opportunities. Once one selects a task, one should get immersed in it.The lonely beach, the whispering of tamarisk trees and the cool breeze create a feeling of extraordinary calm. Because India can only be developed if all, that is, institutions, political parties, industries, communities, families and individuals take responsibility of developing India.
Thoughts result in actions. And as parents and teachers well know, children are the source of unending questions. And they surely will!
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