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Craze for medical profession amuses Kalam

Special Correspondent



GIVING USEFUL TIPS: President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam interacting with schoolchildren at the Soviet Cultural Centre in Thiruvananthapuram on Thursday. Photo: S. Mahinsha

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam appeared amused when some schoolchildren, who participated in the first interactive session under the EDUSAT programme, told him, one after another, that their ambition was to become doctors. "Everyone wants to become a doctor in Kerala," was Mr. Kalam's response when yet another student proudly declared his ambition. The President appeared relaxed while interacting with the children in seven remote locations at the studio at Gorky Bhavan, the venue of the inauguration of the EDUSAT interactive programme. There were a few occasions when he virtually took over compeering of the programme, and at one point of time, even suggested that the volume be raised to make the session more audible. One student wanted to know how he too could be President. Mr. Kalam patiently explained to him that he should have a goal. "You should acquire knowledge. One should learn continuously. Have heard of sweat? You should sweat it out. You should not be frightened by problems. And you should have perseverance," he said. A student from Malappuram wanted to know what benefits EDUSAT would have. The President pointed out that the current education provided in schools and colleges did not teach a student how to be an entrepreneur. "It is a medium to provide knowledge and training," he said. Each student or a group of students should be equipped to start a small enterprise of his own, instead of depending on employment, he said.

He said nothing was impossible. In 1885, Lord Kelvin said that anything heavier than gas could not be flown. But in 1903, the Wright brothers proved that it was possible to fly. Similarly, in 1960, Vikram Sarabhai wanted India to design and develop a rocket system and put a satellite in orbit. Nobody believed him. He went on working at it. Finally, he was able to convince everyone and get the Government sanction for it. Today, India can launch any kind of rocket, he told them.

To make his point more effective, he narrated the story of the bumblebee. If he were to put his scientific calculations to work, he would say the bumblebee could not fly. It was of a small size and weight. "Yet the bumblebee flies. Why?" he asked. All eyes were looking at the President, inquiringly. Then came the reply: "Because it wants to fly!" With that emphatic reply, the President wound up his interactive session, pleased with the responses of the schoolchildren.

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