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APJ Abdul Kalam: The respect that its women enjoy tell us how developed a country is

  • IWB Post
  •  July 28, 2015

We are saddened by the news of ex-President A.P.J Abdul Kalam’s sudden demise. On the other hand, we are inspired to see this man taking his last breath doing his favorite work – nurturing the youth of India.

However, Dr. Kalam’s one plan remained unfulfilled. He came with a surprise assignment for the students of IIM Shillong – on finding innovative ways to end disruption in Parliament. No wonder this octogenarian’s mind was always working towards realizing his vision 2020 wherein he constantly asked the youth to develop an “I can do it” attitude.

Below are the excerpts from his speech that appeared in newspapers in 2013 as a part of Gillette India’s Soldiers for Women campaign. In the extract, he speaks about his mother, the incomparable love she showered on him and his siblings and why one needs to respect every woman:

I firmly believe that the respect that its women enjoy tell us how developed a country is. Equally, I truly believe that in every man burns the courage to stand up against any injustice done to the other gender. He has demonstrated this over centuries, and we must salute and further this quality.

Today I have the opportunity to be a soldier for women, by telling you a story of the woman who taught me how important it is to embrace the values of a solider; to stand up for and stand by women. Let me tell you of my own mother. We lived as a joint family in Rameswaram, with my grandmother and mother managing this large contingent. When I was just 10, World War II put everything in short supply.

One day, at dinner, my mother went on giving me chapattis. When we rose, my elder brother chided me in private: “Kalam, do you realise you went on eating chapattis and Amma kept giving you even her share? It is a difficult time. Be a responsible son and do not make your mother starve”. I was seized by a shivering sensation which I could not control. I rushed to my mother and hugged her. My brother that day demonstrated in a very small way the values of a soldier; respecting and standing by our mother.

Mother lived till 93, a woman of love, kindness and, above all, a divine nature.

In my 80 years, I have interacted with many great women’s minds. Their professionalism, contribution to family and society have left a permanent imprint on me. And I am sure everyone has similar inspiring memories.

Our nation has a noble tradition of respecting women, and all good minds must unite to eliminate the inhumanities which blot our traditions. When we respect women we respect our nation. All men must stand by and stand up for all women. In this, they would be doing nothing more than nurturing their own inherent goodness ,be the best they can be – and act as a morale booster for others of our gender.

Isn’t it so pleasing to read thoughts so deep coming from a person who was a bachelor all his life?

Not only did he signal towards treating the women with respect, he also confidently declared that only women empowerment can make a society stable. In 2006, while interacting with the students of Avinashilingam University, he said, “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. Universities and educational institutions should aim at generating employment and not employment seekers.”

Dear Dr. Kalam, we at JWB are not going to remorse your death. Rather in high spirits, we have planned to contribute more profoundly towards the development of the society in our own way – by empowering women of Jaipur by 2020, helping them become strong & independent.

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