On July 27th, the world lost a great scientist, a wonderful human being, and former President of India, Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam. A man of humble origin, Dr Kalam achieved many laurels in the field of science, and is often referred to as “The Missile Man of India”, in line with his major efforts in development of missiles. Education was one of his passions, and he visited various educational institutions, to interact with students, earning him the affection of many children and youth of India. It will be an understatement to say that perhaps Dr. Kalam was one of the most loved leaders of the nation.
Dr. Kalam often spoke of the rights of the women, and on many occasions said that empowering women is the key to a better India. In 1998, at the International Conference of Women in Science in Mumbai, he said that “For India to be a developed country by 2020, women will have to play an important role and education will be the key”. He also stated that women have entered all areas of science and cited the examples of women scientists who have played a role in developing the Akash and Agni missile systems. In 2006, after inaugurating a seminar on “Women, Science and Technology” organised by the Bangalore University and the UGC, he called for creating the right atmosphere for women scientists to play the role expected of them in national development. In yet another interaction with another group of students in Tamil Nadu, he clearly stated “First, we must get 33 per cent reservation for women in Parliament. Then you (a woman) can become the President. If women get into the Assembly, they would bring some order. We can also hope to see developmental politics instead of political politics if more women enter the scene.”
We at CSR, salute the great man and his innumerable contributions to India, and hope that in our own way, by empowering the women and girls of the country, we are able to fulfill the dreams which he envisioned for a developed India.