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The Kill List: A Review

November 25, 2013

I recently read the book “The Kill List” by Frederick Forsyth. This was the first book from Forsyth that I read. My friends told me that he is a very good author and all his books have an amazing plot. This made me even more eager to read the book.

The excerpt from the book is something like this:

“In Virginia, there is an agency bearing the bland name of Technical Operations Support Activity, or TOSA. Its one mission is to track, find, and kill those so dangerous to the United States that they are on a short document known as the Kill List. TOSA actually exists. So does the Kill List.

Added to it is a new name: a terrorist of frightening effectiveness called the Preacher, who radicalizes young Muslims abroad to carry out assassinations. Unfortunately for him, one of the kills is a retired Marine general, whose son is TOSA’s top hunter of men.

He has spent the last six years at his job. He knows nothing about his target’s name, face, or location. He realizes his search will take him to places where few could survive. But the Preacher has made it personal now. The hunt is on.”

The story revolves around a secret agent named Tracker, who has a mission to track down people who are deemed dangerous to the United States and her citizens. His latest target is a person who is known as the Preacher. He delivers online sermons and induces youth into terrorism. The Tracker’s mission becomes personal when an extremist, who was indoctrinated by the Preacher’s sermons, kills his father.

The plot revolves around how the Tracker gets the identity of the Preacher and how he plans to take him down. The Tracker uses his contacts in other secret service agencies, a brilliant hacker, coupled with his own investigations to track down the Preacher.  Once he tracks him down, he plans to spoil his reputation using a fake sermon. Once his reputation is destroyed, the Tracker plans to finish off the Preacher. But since the Preacher used to stay in a civilian area, using missiles to take him down there was a big no-no.

There is a parallel story of a Swedish merchant ship getting into the hands of pirates and a captive being taken. This story merges with the original plot in the end, when the Tracker uses the captive to bring the Preacher out into the open and finish him off.

All in all, it’s a gripping tale, which flies at a terrific pace. Its sure to keep you on tenterhooks till the end!

Happy reading.

 

Details:

VLSI analog circuits for lab

November 15, 2010

vlsi analog

Rags to Riches – AMAZING STORY

October 14, 2010

Here is the rags-to-riches story of an extremely talented boy from a small village in Tamil Nadu who has risen to be the chief executive officer of a company in Seattle, USA. It is also the story of how Kalyana Raman Srinivasan, who was so indigent that he had to study under a streetlight, but then managed to score excellent marks, rose in life and became today’s Kal Raman.  At every turn in his life, he took the difficult path and it turned out to be the right one and in the right direction. His rise to the top is more dramatic than a thriller. Today, he is a very successful entrepreneur and the founder CEO of of Global Scholar.

Kalyana Raman Srinivasan

Difficult childhood

Kal Raman was born and brought up in a small village called Mannarakoil in Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu. It was a comfortable normal middle class life for him and his siblings as his father was a Tahasildar there. But the sudden death of his father at the age of 45 changed everything overnight. Kal was 15 then. “My mother got a pension of Rs 420 a month and you can imagine how tough it is to educate four children and feed five mouths with Rs 420?” Hi life changed dramatically after his father’s death. The family moved from the rented house to a hut that had no proper water supply or electricity. Kal Raman remembers, “All of us used to study under the streetlight and, thank god, the streetlights used to work those days! MGR (M G Ramachandran) was the chief minister then. We had to sell the plates to buy rice to eat and my mother used to give us rice in our hands. That bad was our situation.” But his mother, who had studied till the 8th standard, was very particular that her children studied. “All our relatives wanted my elder brother to stop studying and take up the small job offered by the government but my mother wanted him to continue studying.” “Then they wanted me to learn typewriting and shorthand so that I could get some job after the 10th standard. But mother said, ‘My children are going to get the best education I can offer. Education is our salvation.’ She was my hero for her vision and she still is my hero.” What kept the family going? “We were sad but because we accepted our fate, we were at peace with whatever that happened to us. We knew our father would not come back to lift us up from poverty. We also knew our salvation was a long way away.” He didn’t know why he used to tell his mother, “One day I will give you so much money that you will not know what to do with it!” Years later, he did exactly that!

First turning point in life

Kal Raman believes that God played a hand in all the major turning points in his life. The first turning point in life was after his 12th standard. He got good marks in both the engineering and medicine entrance exams, and for engineering, he got admission at the Anna University in Chennai while for medicine, it was in the Tirunelveli Medical College. “While going in the bus with my mother to join the medical college, I told her, “If I join for medicine here, the high probability is that my life may begin and end in Tirunelveli. I really want to see the world.’ She agreed with my decision to go to Chennai and join Anna University and study Electrical Engineering and Electronics.” So, he stepped into a new world outside Tirunelveli, and that was Chennai. Though he had got merit scholarship and a lot of good people helped him pay the initial fee, the scholarship amount never used to reach him regularly or on time. “The mess fee was Rs 250 a month and I used to be a defaulter in the mess at least six months in a year. Till you pay the mess fee, you cannot eat in the mess. So, I used to live on day scholars’ lunch boxes and also use to fast. That is when I learnt to fast ! I must say a lot of friends helped me with money and food.” Scarcity of money was so bad that he had no money to buy food just before the final semester exams. When he gave his final semester exams, he had not eaten for a day-and-a-half. “After finishing the exam, I almost fainted.” The day after the exams came all the scholarship money that was due and it was around Rs 5,000. “So, I went home a rich man and that helped us repay some loans.”

First job

Like opting for Chennai and joining Anna University instead of a college in Tirunelveli, Kal Raman took another risk with his first job also. His first job was with Tata Consulting Engineers (TCE), and he had a choice of joining either Chennai or Mumbai. Although he knew nobody in Mumbai, he chose the capital of Maharashtra. He remembered the first day. “It was interesting. With bag and baggage, I went to the TCE office after taking a shower at the railway station as I had no money to go to any hotel. After the first introduction at the office, the manager noticed that I was wearing slippers to the office. He called me and said, “I don’t care which college you are coming from but this is not acceptable. You should come in shoes tomorrow.” I said I couldn’t come in shoes the next day and this the manager construed as arrogance. “How could you talk like this?” he asked me. I said, “Sir, it is not that I don’t want to, but I can’t afford to buy shoes. Only after I get my first pay cheque, can I buy shoes. Sir, I request you not to terminate my job because of this. I and my family need this job.” Shocked to hear the explanation, the manager asked, “Where are you staying?” and the reply was, “Dadar Railway Station.” So distressed was the manager to hear Kal speak that he immediately released a month’s salary in advance and also arranged for him to be at his friend’s place till he could find a place to stay. “He bought me a pair of shoes and those were my first shoes. The next day, I sent Rs 1,500 from the advance to my mother.”

From electrical engineering to programming

Kal’s rise in career was meteoric in a short span of time. Within a month, he got a chance to move to Bengaluru (then Bangalore) and also to programming. Soon, he was in Chennai with Tata Consultancy Services (TCS). Within a few months, he was sent to Edinburgh, UK. From Edinburgh, his next stop was the United States. In 1992, he went to the US as an entry level contractor with Wal-Mart. In two years, he was a director running a division. When he left Wal-Mart after six years, he was a man running the information systems for the International Division of the retail giant. In 1998, he joined drugstore.com Online Pharmacy as the chief information officer and in 2001 at the age of 30, he was the CEO of the company. He was at the right place at the right time. “God was there at every step guiding me to take the right decisions. I was also willing to take risks and tread new paths,” Kal says.

Starting GlobalScholar

Philanthropist Mike Milken who had donated more than a billion dollars to education, wanted to use technology so that high quality education was accessible to ordinary people. Milken convinced Kal to join him. That was the time Kal was building schools in his village for poor students. In October 2007, GlobalScholar was launched targetting both teachers and students by acquiring four companies — National Scholar (USA), Classof1 (India), Excelsior (USA), and Ex-Logica (USA) — that were into education. “Three months after the launch, I travelled all over the US, India, Singapore and China talking to teachers and companies and the public. I found that the only way to impact education was by impressing teachers. The biggest scarcity in the world is good teachers. We decided to help teachers with teaching practices and kids, learning practices.” Kal Raman decided to concentrate on the US market as the US is more advanced in using technology. “They are also willing to pay money for technology. At present, schools buy the material which can be used by teachers, students and parents.” Today, they have 200 people working for GlobalScholar in Chennai and 150 in the US. The study material is prepared in the Chennai office. The company that was started with $50 million will have in excess of $32 million and will generate $5 million of profits. In 2008, the turnover of the company was Rs 40 crore (Rs 400 million) and in 2009, it was Rs 80 crore (Rs 800 million). In the current year it will be 150-160 crore (Rs 1.5-1.6 billion). “GlobalScholar is growing at 200 per cent every year. We have 1,000 schools and 10 million students, which is one out of 10 kids in the US, using our study material. This is almost 18 per cent of the US population. We are the fastest growing education company in the US.” GlobalScholar will soon introduce a pilot project in India and China. In the course of all this, Kalyana Raman became Kal Raman. “The country gave me everything and took half my name.”

Giving back to society

Kal Raman is in India now for the Kumbhabhishekam of the temple at his village Mannarkoil. “It is taking place after 500 years. It is the culmination of two-and-a-half years of work. I have spent more than one and a half crore rupees (Rs 15 million) to renovate the temple and do the Kumbhabhishekam. More than anything else, I have given jobs to all my friends in the village who are masons and carpenters.” Other than this, he has also adopted all the orphanages around his village and he takes care of around 2,000 kids, some of whom are physically handicapped. “I feel if I can educate these children, eventually we can make a difference in the society. We also help 100 children in their higher education. Around my village, everyone knows that if a kid who studies well cannot afford to pay fees, he has to only come to my house; his education will be taken care of.” “I do not do this as charity; its my responsibility. I am giving something back to the society that fed me, taught me, and took care of me and gave me hopes. “

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Bajaj: Amazing comeback

September 25, 2010

“Bajaj Auto”. is a prominent name in Motorcycles today. But rewind Back 15 years and perhaps even in ur wildest dreams u wouldn hav imagined this much growth and market share for Bajaj. During early days(1984)Bajaj

Auto’s major field was Scooters. Its was considered the King in Indian Scooter industry. It had a collabration with Kawasaki to introduce motorcycles. They produced the famous KB 100 series competing against range of 2-stroke bikes and mainly the RX-100 from Yamaha. Those were the times when the Indian economy was a closed one, where it was very difficult for foreign player to enter the Market.

But the liberalisation of our economy in 1991 opened up new avenues as well as incresed competition for most of Indian companies. Bajaj was headed by its founder and CEO Mr. Rahul Bajaj at that time. He became famous as head of the Bombay Club, opposing liberalisation till there was a level playing field for Indians and foreigners.The Bombay Club managed to slow liberalisation but could not stop it. Moreover, liberalisation brought the threat of cheap imports and FDI from top companies like Honda. Meanwhile Indians began to prefer motor-cycles to scooters, and Bajaj Auto could not touch Hero Honda in this field. Bajaj had released the K bajaj 4S champion which took of well only to lose to Hero Honda. Its K bajaj Boxer AT also failed miserably with HH launching Splendour which was a run away hit(still running now).Kawasaki also parted leaving the future of Bajaj motor cycles a big question mark.Scooter sales continued to plummet, the recession and stock market collapse of 2001 hit the company hard, and some stock market analysts thought it was doomed.

It was the time Mr. Rajiv Bajaj, Rahul’s eldest son, came back to India from business school in the US. He took a hard look at the company and came to very different conclusions. He saw that Rahul’s ambition of becoming world No. 1 in scooters was irrelevant in a global economy where motor-cycles ruled supreme, and that the company needed to change its strategy accordingly. What followed was a stunning peice of turn around which has all criteria to get into the best books of Strategic Management!!!.

His startegy was simple yet path breaking. When u have a competitor so strong as HH dont compete in his domain of strength. The 100cc market was HH strength. Repeated attempts to compete in that space by Caliber, Boxer AT didnt make much of a difference. That was the time they decided to launch something new, perhaps create a new market. The concept was Pulsar began to grow. The Pulsar underwent almost 2 years of R&D. After so much of efforts and sweat Pulsar was launched in 2001 in two variants. 150cc and 180 cc. For the first 3 months the bike was termed a failure. I remember my Friend booking Chennai city’s 3rd P-180 and we all ridiculed and laughed at him saying “u hav brought a failure model.CBZ rules always!!!”. But the performance was jus awesome. The power it could generate, the macho looks, the huge tank, it was like a Wresler. A well-oiled Wresler. Gradually the sales began to pick up by the end of 8 months, Pulsar was considered a Huge hit with P-150 leading the way. Pulsar instantly became the fav of all collage lads. The result was so obvious in the Stock prices.

The dream did not stop with that, having created and captured the upper market(more than 150cc). Bajaj immdeiatly revamped its older model The Boxer At. It did some face lift and rechristened as Bajaj Boxer CT. The pricing played a important role here. When all HH model were priced higher, the Boxer CT was made available at 34k odd. The diff in price for CT and Splendour was a whopping 10K. Slowly it began eating the market share of HH. But HH was still going good with its splendours, Passions and CBZs.

The masterstroke which Bajaj had planned yet failed was the Calliber 115 and Wind 125!!!. Yes Bajaj’s ploy was not to directly attack a strong competitor but to close all his ways and then kill him by cornering!!. Bajaj already had a Upper market(CBZ sales soon dwindled due to poor mileage), it was growing in the lower end 100cc market. Its aim was to capture the 110-125 cc market so that customers are left with more alternatives from Bajaj. But sadly the only thing that clicked for those two bikes were its marketing campagins.This provided the HH some way out which had lately realised the submerged threat from Bajaj.

The R&D of Bajaj then came up with a jem of reaserch – The DTS-i (Digital Twin Spark ingnition). The DTSi technology incorporates twin sparkplugs at either ends of the combustion chamber for faster and better combustion. Single sparkplug meant slower burning of the air-fuel mixture and sub-optimal combustion chamber characteristics. Soon the Pulsar DTSi was launched with the much needed front fairing. It was a craze then. The snail paced HH was still running its splendours and passions, but took some intiative and launched the Super Splendour and Glamour.(both 125cc bikes).This space where Bajaj had let off briefly, only to come back stronger with its Discover 125cc. This also had the DTSi technology.

The Pulsar then launched the stuningly handsome Pulsar Version 3 with a low flung head peice, smashing alloys wheels and a new rider position. It aslo improved the suspension system with gas filled(Nitrox) shock absorbers. Bajaj very strongly captured the upper segment market share, competing the likes of HH Karizma and new entrants Honda Unicorn, and the TVS Apache.

The latest Pulsar version(4) has new designed heald light, A LED(Light Emmiting Diode – faster response time than ordinary bulbs)tail lamp, A LCD Digital Speedo wih Odometer. Unbreakable indicators, car like indicator turn switch. Though the latest bikes form TVS (RTR), Honda(Unicorn) and HH(Extreme) are also very good bikes and are competing for the space orginally created by Bajaj.

What is more important is the way these two companies hav taken their businesses about. While HH was leathargic for most time, Bajaj had been constantly innovating. The splendour was a splendour for more than 10 Years now. but the Pulsar has undergone 4 upgradations in 5 years. Yes, there may be some quality issues, but Bajaj didnt produce motorcycles from the time Honda, Suzuki or Yamaha started. For an Indian company to have taken up these forigen gaints head on and winning it is something really great. The stock prices for Bajaj as of now is 2 times higher than HH.

One need not be a proud Indian only when we win a cricket match against Pakistan or winning a Hockey world cup. U can proud of this Indian who had made a company resurge after everybody closed their doors on it. I am not saying Pulsar is a great bike or Bajaj is a great company, No, my intention is not that. There are bikes in India which are far more superior and refined than Bajaj bikes. Infact i dont own a Bajaj or i am not planning to own one!!. But i want u to appreciate the guts and brillance of Bajaj’s strategy. I want u to know how much efforts was put in at a difficult time to bring out the pulsar. Its a star for Bajaj.

Always remember, “Its not great to take up horses and train them to race. Its about taking in donkeys to race against horses and winning it too!!!”.

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A LETTER FROM A GIRL TO JRD TATA

September 17, 2010

IN 1974 (Worth a read..) by Nitesh Chandra Mani on Saturday, September 11, 2010 at 6:14pm This is the stuff legends are made of..Worth a read.. THE GIRL WRITING AS HERSELF…. It was probably the April of 1974. Bangalore was getting warm and gulmohars were blooming at the IISc campus. I was the only girl in my postgraduate department and was staying at the ladies’ hostel. Other girls were pursuing research in different departments of Science. I was looking forward to going abroad to complete a doctorate in computer science. I had been offered scholarships from Universities in the US… I had not thought of taking up a job in India. One day, while on the way to my hostel from our lecture-hall complex, I saw an advertisement on the notice board. It was a standard job-requirement notice from the famous automobile company Telco (now Tata Motors)… It stated that the company required young, bright engineers, hardworking and with an excellent academic background, etc. At the bottom was a small line: ‘Lady Candidates need not apply.’ I read it and was very upset. For the first time in my life I was up against gender discrimination. Though I was not keen on taking up the job, I saw it as a challenge. I had done extremely well in academics, better than most of my male peers… Little did I know then that in real life academic excellence is not enough to be successful? After reading the notice I went fuming to my room. I decided to inform the topmost person in Telco’s management about the injustice the company was perpetrating. I got a postcard and started to write, but there was a problem: I did not know who headed Telco I thought it must be one of the Tatas. I knew JRD Tata was the head of the Tata Group; I had seen his pictures in newspapers (actually, Sumant Moolgaokar was the company’s chairman then) I took the card, addressed it to JRD and started writing. To this day I remember clearly what I wrote. ‘The great Tatas have always been pioneers. They are the people who started the basic infrastructure industries in India, such as iron and steel, chemicals, textiles and locomotives they have cared for higher education in India since 1900 and they were responsible for the establishment of the Indian Institute of Science. Fortunately, I study there. But I am surprised how a company such as Telco is discriminating on the basis of gender.’ I posted the letter and forgot about it. Less than 10 days later, I received a telegram stating that I had to appear for an interview at Telco’s Pune facility at the company’s expense. I was taken aback by the telegram. My hostel mate told me I should use the opportunity to go to Pune free of cost and buy them the famous Pune saris for cheap! I collected Rs30 each from everyone who wanted a sari when I look back, I feel like laughing at the reasons for my going, but back then they seemed good enough to make the trip. It was my first visit to Pune and I immediately fell in love with the city. To this day it remains dear to me. I feel as much at home in Pune as I do in Hubli, my hometown. The place changed my life in so many ways. As directed, I went to Telco’s Pimpri office for the interview. There were six people on the panel and I realized then that this was serious business. ‘This is the girl who wrote to JRD,’ I heard somebody whisper as soon as I entered the room. By then I knew for sure that I would not get the job. The realization abolished all fear from my mind, so I was rather cool while the interview was being conducted. Even before the interview started, I reckoned the panel was biased, so I told them, rather impolitely, ‘I hope this is only a technical interview.’ They were taken aback by my rudeness, and even today I am ashamed about my attitude. The panel asked me technical questions and I answered all of them. Then an elderly gentleman with an affectionate voice told me, ‘Do you know why we said lady candidates need not apply? The reason is that we have never employed any ladies on the shop floor. This is not a co-ed college; this is a factory. When it comes to academics, you are a first ranker throughout. We appreciate that, but people like you should work in research laboratories. I was a young girl from small-town Hubli. My world had been a limited place. I did not know the ways of large corporate houses and their difficulties, so I answered, ‘But you must start somewhere, otherwise no woman will ever be able to work in your factories.’ Finally, after a long interview, I was told I had been successful. So this was what the future had in store for me. Never had I thought I would take up a job in Pune. I met a shy young man from Karnataka there, we became good friends and we got married. It was only after joining Telco that I realized who JRD was: the uncrowned king of Indian industry. Now I was scared, but I did not get to meet him till I was transferred to Bombay. One day I had to show some reports to Mr Moolgaokar, our chairman, who we all knew as SM. I was in his office on the first floor of Bombay House (the Tata headquarters) when, suddenly JRD walked in. That was the first time I saw ‘appro JRD’. Appro means ‘our’ in Gujarati. This was the affectionate term by which people at Bombay House called him. I was feeling very nervous, remembering my postcard episode. SM introduced me nicely, ‘Jeh (that’s what his close associates called him), this young woman is an engineer and that too a postgraduate. She is the first woman to work on the Telco shop floor.’ JRD looked at me. I was praying he would not ask me any questions about my interview (or the postcard that preceded it). Thankfully, he didn’t. Instead, he remarked. ‘It is nice that girls are getting into engineering in our country. By the way, what is your name?’ ‘When I joined Telco I was Sudha Kulkarni, Sir,’ I replied. ‘Now I am Sudha Murthy.’ He smiled and kindly smile and started a discussion with SM. As for me, I almost ran out of the room. After that I used to see JRD on and off. He was the Tata Group chairman and I was merely an engineer. There was nothing that we had in common. I was in awe of him. One day I was waiting for Murthy, my husband, to pick me up after office hours. To my surprise I saw JRD standing next to me. I did not know how to react. Yet again I started worrying about that postcard. Looking back, I realize JRD had forgotten about it. It must have been a small incident for him, but not so for me. ‘Young lady, why are you here?’ he asked. ‘Office time is over.’ I said, ‘Sir, I’m waiting for my husband to come and pick me up.’ JRD said, ‘It is getting dark and there’s no one in the corridor. I’ll wait with you till your husband comes.’ I was quite used to waiting for Murthy, but having JRD waiting alongside made me extremely uncomfortable. I was nervous. Out of the corner of my eye I looked at him. He wore a simple white pant and shirt. He was old, yet his face was glowing. There wasn’t any air of superiority about him. I was thinking, ‘Look at this person. He is a chairman, a well-respected man in our country and he is waiting for the sake of an ordinary employee.’ Then I saw Murthy and I rushed out. JRD called and said, ‘Young lady, tell your husband never to make his wife wait again.’ In 1982 I had to resign from my job at Telco. I was reluctant to go, but I really did not have a choice. I was coming down the steps of Bombay House after wrapping up my final settlement when I saw JRD coming up. He was absorbed in thought. I wanted to say goodbye to him, so I stopped. He saw me and paused. Gently, he said, ‘So what are you doing, Mrs. Kulkarni?’ (That was the way he always addressed me.) ‘Sir, I am leaving Telco.’ ‘Where are you going?’ he asked. ‘Pune, Sir. My husband is starting a company called Infosys and I’m shifting to Pune.’ ‘Oh! And what will you do when you are successful.’ ‘Sir, I don’t know whether we will be successful.’ ‘Never start with diffidence,’ he advised me ‘Always start with confidence. When you are successful you must give back to society. Society gives us so much; we must reciprocate. Wish you all the best.’ Then JRD continued walking up the stairs. I stood there for what seemed like a millennium. That was the last time I saw him alive. Many years later I met Ratan Tata in the same Bombay House, occupying the chair JRD once did. I told him of my many sweet memories of working with Telco. Later, he wrote to me, ‘It was nice hearing about Jeh from you. The sad part is that he’s not alive to see you today.’ I consider JRD a great man because, despite being an extremely busy person, he valued one postcard written by a young girl seeking justice. He must have received thousands of letters everyday. He could have thrown mine away, but he didn’t do that. He respected the intentions of that unknown girl, who had neither influence nor money, and gave her an opportunity in his company. He did not merely give her a job; he changed her life and mindset forever. Close to 50 per cent of the students in today’s engineering colleges are girls. And there are women on the shop floor in many industry segments. I see these changes and I think of JRD. If at all time stops and asks me what I want from life, I would say I wish JRD were alive today to see how the company we started has grown. He would have enjoyed it wholeheartedly. My love and respect for the House of Tata remains undiminished by the passage of time. I always looked up to JRD. I saw him as a role model for his simplicity, his generosity, his kindness and the care he took of his employees. Those blue eyes always reminded me of the sky; they had the same vastness and magnificence. (Sudha Murthy is a widely published writer and chairperson of the Infosys Foundation involved in a number of social development initiatives. Infosys chairman Narayana Murthy is her husband.) Article sourced from: Lasting Legacies (Tata Review- Special Commemorative Issue 2004), brought out by the house of Tatas to commemorate the 100th birth anniversary of JRD Tata on July 29, 2004 .

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Dr. Abdul Kalam’s Letter to Every Indian

July 28, 2010

Why is the media here so negative?
Why are we in India so embarrassed to recognize our own strengths, our achievements?
We are such a great nation. We have so many amazing success stories but we refuse to acknowledge them. Why?
We are the first in milk production.
We are number one in Remote sensing satellites.
We are the second largest producer of wheat.
We are the second largest producer of rice.
Look at Dr. Sudarshan , he has transferred the tribal village into a self-sustaining, self-driving unit.. There are millions of such achievements but our media is only obsessed in the bad news and failures and disasters.
I was in Tel Aviv once and I was reading the Israeli newspaper. It was the day after a lot of attacks and bombardments and deaths had taken place. The Hamas had struck. But the front page of the newspaper had the picture of a Jewish gentleman who in five years had transformed his desert into an orchid and a granary. It was this inspiring picture that everyone woke up to. The gory details of killings, bombardments, deaths, were inside in the newspaper, buried among other news.

 

 

In India we only read about death, sickness, terrorism, crime.. Why are we so NEGATIVE? Another question: Why are we, as a nation so obsessed with foreign things? We want foreign T.Vs, we want foreign shirts. We want foreign technology.

Why this obsession with everything imported. Do we not realize that self-respect comes with self-reliance? I was in Hyderabad giving this lecture, when a 14 year old girl asked me for my autograph. I asked her what her goal in life is.. She replied: I want to live in a developed India . For her, you and I will have to build this developed India . You must proclaim. India is not an under-developed nation; it is a highly developed nation.

..
YOU say that our government is inefficient.
YOU say that our laws are too old.
YOU say that the municipality does not pick up the garbage.
YOU say that the phones don’t work, the railways are a joke. The airline is the worst in the world, mails never reach their destination.
YOU say that our country has been fed to the dogs and is the absolute pits.

YOU say, say and say.. What do YOU do about it?

Take a person on his way to Singapore . Give him a name – ‘YOURS’. Give him a face – ‘YOURS’. YOU walk out of the airport and you are at your International best. In Singapore you don’t throw cigarette butts on the roads or eat in the stores. YOU are as proud of their Underground links as they are.. You pay $5 (approx. Rs.. 60) to drive through Orchard Road (equivalent of Mahim Causeway or Pedder Road) between 5 PM and 8 PM. YOU come back to the parking lot to punch your parking ticket if you have over stayed in a restaurant or a shopping mall irrespective of your status identity… In Singapore you don’t say anything, DO YOU? YOU wouldn’t dare to eat in public during Ramadan, in Dubai .. YOU would not dare to go out without your head covered in Jeddah.
YOU would not dare to buy an employee of the telephone exchange in London at 10 pounds (Rs..650) a month to, ‘see to it that my STD and ISD calls are billed to someone else.’YOU would not dare to speed beyond 55 mph (88 km/h) in Washington and then tell the traffic cop, ‘Jaanta hai main kaun hoon (Do you know who I am?). I am so and so’s son. Take your two bucks and get lost.’ YOU wouldn’t chuck an empty coconut shell anywhere other than the garbage pail on the beaches in Australia and New Zealand ..
Why don’t YOU spit Paan on the streets of Tokyo ? Why don’t YOU use examination jockeys or buy fake certificates in Boston ??? We are still talking of the same YOU. YOU who can respect and conform to a foreign system in other countries but cannot in your own. You who will throw papers and cigarettes on the road the moment you touch Indian ground. If you can be an involved and appreciative citizen in an alien country, why cannot you be the same here in India ?

In America every dog owner has to clean up after his pet has done the job. Same in Japan ..
Will the Indian citizen do that here?’ He’s right. We go to the polls to choose a government and after that forfeit all responsibility.
We sit back wanting to be pampered and expect the government to do everything for us whilst our contribution is totally negative. We expect the government to clean up but we are not going to stop chucking garbage all over the place nor are we going to stop to pick a up a stray piece of paper and throw it in the bin. We expect the railways to provide clean bathrooms but we are not going to learn the proper use of bathrooms.
We want Indian Airlines and Air India to provide the best of food and toiletries but we are not going to stop pilfering at the least opportunity.
This applies even to the staff who is known not to pass on the service to the public.

When it comes to burning social issues like those related to women, dowry, girl child! and others, we make loud drawing room protestations and continue to do the reverse at home. Our excuse? ‘It’s the whole system which has to change, how will it matter if I alone forego my sons’ rights to a dowry.’ So who’s going to change the system?
What does a system consist of? Very conveniently for us it consists of our neighbours, other households, other cities, other communities and the government. But definitely not me and YOU. When it comes to us actually making a positive contribution to the system we lock ourselves along with our families into a safe cocoon and look into the distance at countries far away and wait for a Mr.Clean to come along & work miracles for us with a majestic sweep of his hand or we leave the country and run away.
Like lazy cowards hounded by our fears we run to America to bask in their glory and praise their system. When New York becomes insecure we run to England . When England experiences unemployment, we take the next flight out to the Gulf. When the Gulf is war struck, we demand to be rescued and brought home by the Indian government. Everybody is out to abuse and rape the country. Nobody thinks of feeding the system. Our conscience is mortgaged to money.

Dear Indians, The article is highly thought inductive, calls for a great deal of introspection and pricks one’s conscience too….. I am echoing J. F. Kennedy’s words to his fellow Americans to relate to Indians…..

‘ASK WHAT WE CAN DO FOR INDIA AND DO WHAT HAS TO BE DONE TO MAKE INDIA WHAT AMERICA AND OTHER WESTERN COUNTRIES ARE TODAY’

Lets do what India needs from us.

Thank you,

Dr.. Abdul Kalam

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March 20, 2010

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