Author Srijan Pal Singh visited iLEAD to talk about his book, “What Can I Give?: Life lessons from My Teacher A.P.J Abdul Kalam.” The book is essentially a dedication by Srijan Pal Singh to Dr A.P.J Abdul Kalam with whom he worked very closely from 2009-2015, till the last day of his life. After playing a song called the “The Kalam Anthem” he spoke about Kalam’s life values and shared anecdotes from Kalam’s life, sometimes with help of photographs, from their time together as mentor and student.
He shared with the iLEAD students a valuable lesson from Kalam’s teachings – i) keep a diary and write down your thoughts or reflection of what you think or ideas ii) never be shy to acquire knowledge iii) learn to conquer your failures iv) if you are not failing, then you are not using your full potential.
While talking about failure he mentioned how in 1979, the first satellite launch of India failed and later succeeded in 1980, how from that era till today India has advanced in space missions by leaps and bounds. A word of caution from Mr Singh was about avoiding arrogance of knowledge.
Mr Singh also narrated an incident of a convoy in which Dr Kalam was sympathetic to one of the convoy guards painstakingly carrying out his duty throughout the journey. He told how Dr Kalam met the guard personally that evening in his guest house, appreciated him and the fact that - the image of him shaking hands with the fortunate jawan (and not with a well known person) was the last photograph of Kalam’s life before his demise.
The students took the following oath along with Mr Singh (a practice followed in Kalam’s lecture conclusions) – “Small aim is a crime, I will have a large aim. I will work with integrity and succeed with integrity. Anywhere I go, anyone I meet, one thought should come to my mind, that is - what can I give? Today onwards, I’ll make my mother happy. My national flag flies high in my heart and I will bring glory to my nation.”
Srijan Pal Singh is a gold medalist at Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad. Nominated as one of the Global Leaders of Tomorrow at the St Gallen Symposium in Switzerland, Srijan has actively travelled across rural India and participated in various international initiatives to study and evolve sustainable development systems. Many of his articles on sustainability and development have been published in reputed journals.