Dimensions of Creativity

Dr A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, President of the Republic of India

Address to the children of Bal Yoga Mitra Mandal (Children's Yoga Fellowship) on the occasion of Bal Yoga Diwas (Children's Yoga Day), 14th February 2004, at the Polo Ground, Munger

I am delighted to interact with the children in this divine place. I greet the organizers of this program the Bal Yoga Mitra Mandal for arranging this beautiful function.

Dear children, you are all in the mission of learning. What will learning give?

When learning is purposeful, creativity blossoms.

When creativity blossoms, thinking emanates.

When thinking emanates, knowledge is fully lit.

When knowledge is lit, the economy flourishes.

In the dimensions of knowledge, we can see the scientific, technological history coupled with human endeavours.

Creativity changes the life pattern

What we have seen in science and technology in the last 60 years, the predictions and happenings are going at different rates and phases. What was impossible has happened and what is thought possible has not yet happened and it will happen. Particularly in the field of aeronautics, space technology, electronics, materials, computer science and software products, the world has progressed to new dimensions and India itself is a part of these challenges. Indian bio-technologists with business houses will have the opportunity of analyzing the available genomic data, leading to production of drugs for healthcare and early treatment. Bioresearch transforming into technology will lead to higher production of agricultural products. In the coming decades, we may see the birth of unified field theory integrating gravitational forces, electro-magnetic forces and general relativity theory, space and time as functions. Young people may also see in their time the establishment of a habitat or industry in one of our planets or moon by the human race. The world may also enter into the launch of solar power satellites through a re-usable launch vehicle (hyper plane) system for electricity needs, as fossil based fuel will become rare in fifty to a hundred years. These are possible only through creative minds.

On the successful completion of the Moon Mission in 1961, Farnbraun, a very famous rocket designer, who built Saturn-V, to launch the capsule with astronauts and make the moon walk a reality, said in 1975, "If I am authorized, I will remove the word impossible."

In ancient days, Ptolemaic astronomy was a widely used system for calculating the dynamics of various stars and planets. The assumption by them was that the earth is flat. What a scientific struggle had to take place to prove that the earth is spherical in shape, orbiting around the sun. The three great astronomers Copernicus, Galileo and Kepler had to give a new dimension to the world of astronomy. Today we take it for granted that the earth is a globe orbiting around the sun and that the sun orbits the Milky Way. All the technological advancements we have today are the outcome of scientific exploration by scientists of earlier centuries. At no time was man beaten by problems. He strives continuously to subjugate impossibility and then succeeds.

Impossibility to possibility

Human flight is nothing but creativity of the human mind and it undergoes several struggles to achieve excellence. In 1890, a great and well-known scientist Lord Kelvin, who was the President of the Royal Society of London, said, "Anything heavier than air cannot fly, and cannot be flown." Within two decades the Wright Brothers proved man could fly, of course at heavy risk and cost.

Creative Indians

In India many innovations and creative thinking took place at various phases of our development. In the 1960s Dr Vikram Sarabhai said that India should design and develop a large satellite launch vehicle and put a communication satellite and remote sensing satellite in geo-synchronous orbit and polar orbit respectively. In India this was thought impossible. But, this visionary statement ignited hundreds of scientists and technologists and thousands of technicians. Today India is capable of building any type of satellite launch vehicle and satellite.

Similarly during the 1960s, I remember that India was in a ship to mouth existence for food grains. If the American ships had not brought wheat, there would have been a famine in India. But there were two visionaries who worked together with the farming community and brought the first green revolution. They are the political thinker Sri C. Subramaniam and the agricultural scientist Dr M. S. Swaminathan. Today we produce two hundred million tonnes of food grains, which is not only sufficient for us, but we can also export a quantity. In the 1980s India had a very low base in Information Technology. Some young entrepreneurs with their innovative and creative thoughts, within the difficult boundary conditions of India's rules and regulations, showed how IT enabled services could fetch export revenue. Subsequently, even the government had to bring out innovative and liberalized IT policies. Now, our young IT entrepreneurs are making export revenue of 15 billion dollars. Similarly, the pharma industries are making a positive impact on the Indian economy.

Till 1953, it was thought impossible to reach the top of Mount Everest. Hillary and Tenzing disproved this impossibility. Let us take the Raman effect; till Sir C. V. Raman discovered molecular scattering, people did not know why the sea appeared to be blue. Similarly, Chandrasekar Subramaniam asked why many stars shine and a few don't, thereby proving the 'Chandrasekar Limit', which enabled him to discover the Black Hole.

In India, in the 1960s, none of us dreamt that nuclear energy could lead to electric power generation or that nuclear medicine would be used for the treatment of thyroid disorder and in curing cancer. Homi Bhabha's vision led to the electric energy generated by nuclear power flowing into grid. By another decade, it may generate more than 20,000 megawatts of power.

Indomitable spirit

Let us study the characteristics of indomitable spirit. It has two components. The first component is that there must be a vision leading to higher goals of achievement. I recall a couplet from Thirukkural by the poet saint Thiruvalluvar, written 2,500 years ago, which means that whatever may be the depth of the river or lake or pond, whatever may be the condition of the water, the lily flower always comes out and blossoms. Similarly, if there is a definite determination to achieve a goal, even if it is impossible to achieve, the person succeeds.

Many of us have gone through large programs and projects. We have experienced that success is not in sight and there are many hurdles. The same poet reminds us at this point of time through another couplet that we should never be defeated by any problems. We should become master of the situation and defeat the problems. I consider these couplets from Thirukkural characterize the indomitable spirit.


When a child is empowered by the parents at various phases of growth, the child is transformed into a responsible citizen. When a teacher is empowered with knowledge and experience, good young human beings with value systems emerge. When a leader of any institution empowers his or her people, leaders are born who can change the nation in multiple areas. When women are empowered, a society with stability is assured. When the political leaders of the nation empower the people through visionary policies, the prosperity of the nation is certain. There is a need to empower the students to explore new avenues for making faster progress in the development mission. When an individual or a team is empowered with technology, transformation to a higher potential for achievement is assured.

All our lives we need righteousness. When there is righteousness in the heart, there is beauty in the character. When there is beauty in the character, there is harmony in the home. When there is harmony in the home, there is order in the nation. When there is order in the nation, there is peace in the world.

Friends, you are young and you represent nearly half the population of the nation. Your creative mind is very powerful. An ignited mind is the most powerful resource onthe earth, above the earth and under the earth. I wish you all the best.

Now I would like to administer the TEN POINT OATH to our children. Are you ready?


  1. I will pursue my education with dedication and I will excel in it.
  2. From now onwards, I will teach at least 10 persons who cannot read and write to read and write.
  3. I will plant at least 10 saplings and will ensure their growth through constant care.
  4. I will visit rural and urban areas and permanently wean away at least 5 persons from addiction and gambling.
  5. I will constantly endeavour to remove the pain of my suffering brethren.
  6. I will not support any religious, caste or language differentiation.
  7. I will be honest and set an example for others to follow.
  8. I will work to become an enlightened citizen and make my family righteous.
  9. I will always be a friend of the mentally and physically challenged and will work hard to make them feel normal, like the rest of us.
  10. I will proudly celebrate the success of my country and my people.

Questions from the Children

Sir, what inspiration do you get from meeting the various saints of the country?

Every religion has two components: the religious dogma and the spiritual component. Recently there was a meeting of 50 leaders from all the various religions. They came to the conclusion that the spiritual component of the religions should be integrated since all religions preach the same message of love and compassion. All the religious heads should come together to spread the message of love and compassion, which is the real bridge between religions.

What is the role of ordinary people like us in your vision of a developed India?

The billion people in our country are all the same type of people, but out of the billion, 260 million live below the poverty line. Our aim is to raise those 260 million people to a normal level in education, health care and employment potential. In these three areas we have to push the people together, so that the nation prospers.

Do you believe in destiny or human effort?

I believe only one thing. That belief comes from the great Tamil saint Thiruvalluvar who said, "You should have a great aim in life. If you have a great aim, whatever struggle comes, whatever fate comes, you can defeat it." That means your hard work and the goal in your life, what you want to achieve, will decide what you are and what you will be.

Please tell us of some incidents in your life which have inspired and uplifted you?

An inspiring incident happened when we launched a rocket system. Professor Satish Dhawan was the Chairman of the Indian Space Research Organization and when the system failed, he took the failure on himself. The next launch was successful and he gave the credit to his team members. This means a leader must always take failure on himself and when success comes he has to give it to his team members and others. This is a big lesson I learnt in life.

We are very happy to have you with us for the second time in one year. How do you feel about it all?

I feel very happy particularly in the presence of all of you 20,000 young people. It has been a great experience.

Rural India is the foundation of India. Will development reach India on time? What is your message for the children of rural India?

Seven hundred million people, that is 70% of the population, live in rural India, in 600,000 villages. Recently the government has decided to launch a program, called PURA - Providing Urban facilities in the Rural Area, which will give physical connectivity like roads, electronic connectivity like communication, infrastructure like networking of the wires and then self-reliance in the critical technology. By providing these four areas the rural villagers will be empowered, so there will be no difference between people living in urban areas and those living in village areas.

We believe that the Ganga, tulsi, the cow and the earth are our mother, but even so our environment is being polluted. What can we do to improve this?

Every one of you can decide today that you will be an ambassador, that you will take over the responsibility for cleanliness in life. For example, every one of you can plant five trees. You can decide today, I will go to my school, I will go to my home, I will plant five trees. There are about 500 million young people. Imagine, if every one were to plant five trees, which is around two billion trees, India would be enriched with greenery and a beautiful environment. In the same way, if young people decide not to pollute our water system, you can be a source to propagate the importance of cleanliness. It is now in your hands and you can start today.