t Joseph's College
has produced a number of rare and remarkable geniuses, of whom the
crown is the President of India, His Excellency, Bharat Ratna Dr A P
J Abdul Kalam. St Joseph's takes genuine pride in mentioning below a
handful from the vast number of luminaries who had received their
education in this College.
warm Welcome 160th year
Jornal do Brasil-19/04/2002 Físico nuclear eleito presidente na Índia Cientista participou dos testes de bomba nuclear de 98.
Um muçulmano que, em 98, fez parte do programa de testes das bombas nucleares na Índia foi eleito ontem pelo Parlamento o novo presidente da República. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam derrotou com 89% dos votos sua única rival, Lakshmi Sahgal, ativista do Exército Nacional Indiano.
Sua escolha para o principal cargo simbólico da Índia pela coalizão nacionalista hindu que governa o país foi apoiada por todos os outros partidos, exceto o comunista.
Conhecido por sua facilidade em recitar o Corão, Kalam foi indicado pelo primeiro-ministro Atal Behari Vajpayee depois dos mais violentos confrontos com raízes religiosas e décadas de conflitos com o vizinho Paquistão.
Khushwant Singh, prestigioso escritor indiano, diz que Abdul Kalam foi escolhido para ''expiar os pecados'' cometidos durante os recentes distúrbios em Gujarat, província do Leste, onde 900 pessoas foram mortas, quase todas muçulmanas.
Segundo a oposição e observadores internacionais, as autoridades indianas fizeram vista grossa para os ataques, dos quais a polícia teria participado.
Eleito para um mandato de cinco anos, Kalam - que assumirá a chefia de Estado no próximo dia 24 - recebeu felicitações do presidente paquistanês, Pervez Musharraf.
''Espero poder trabalhar com o senhor pelo estabelecimento de relações sem tensão'', declarou num comunicado.
The next President of India will be Avul Pakir
Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam, others things being equal. He perhaps will
start a new race of non-political Presidents at the Rashtrapati Bhavan
or if Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan started this family, he will be the
second milestone. People have talked about the many activities of this
scientific genius. To recapitulate again his achievement in the field
of missile technology is not necessary today.
In his first most impressive press conference,
he recalled the images that had stayed in his mind from childhood. He
spoke of Jawaharlal Nehru unfurling the tricolour and of Mahatma Gandhi
walking barefoot in Noakhali to put out communal flames.
This rural citizen from Rameswaram — coming
from a fisherman's family — reached such heights because of his sheer
tenacity, combined with simplicity of the highest order and rare sense
of uncommon humility.
We were both products of the St. Joseph's
College of Tiruchirapalli, the Jesuit institution of Tamil Nadu which
was one of the earliest temples of learning. St. Joseph's in those days
was known for its discipline, and the college course enabled students
to train their minds. Dr. Kalam studied physics under eminent persons
such as Prof. P.E. Subramania Iyer, and we studied under eminent
Principals such as Rev. Father Jerome D'Souza and Rev. Father Erhart,
who etched themselves in the minds of the students. Their rigorous
training shaped Dr. Kalam. They ignited the mind of their students and
no wonder Dr. Kalam took up the mission of igniting the minds of
I had the privilege of working very closely
with Dr. Kalam, then Scientific Adviser to the Defence Minister, in the
high-level task force on how to make India a super knowledge power.
This task force was formed on the call given by the Prime Minister,
A.B. Vajpayee. The Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission, K.C.
Pant, was the Chairman and I was the Member Convener. Dr. Kalam headed
the Steering Committee. During this period, I came across certain rare
qualities in this eminent man of science. We had several sessions and
workshops and invited every noted person throughout India to get their
views on how to make the country a super knowledge power. Dr. Kalam
attended every workshop and seminar and took notes. He later analysed
them on a white board in his room for the next day's seminar, just like
a class teacher preparing for his lectures. I was usually present with
him when he analysed these ideas; he would arrive at conclusions as if
he was working on a mathematical sum of calculus. This attention to
details and the interest he showed was remarkable.
I have found Dr. Kalam to be always serious
about things. He always stood up to issues and analysed them, finally
coming to the right conclusions.
The second point that made one admire him was
his respect for others and all religions. He was at ease in the Ajmer
Dargah and also at the Andal Temple in Sri Villiputhur. He could read
with the same gusto the Quran and the Bible and the Bhagavad Gita. When
we gave the Centenarian Paramacharya Award of Kanchi to this
intellectual in 1997 at Chennai, as the executive president of the
Centenarian Trust, I had the privilege of reading the citation. I said
then that this remarkable Indian from Tamil Nadu has his motto like
Tennyson: ``To strive, to seek, to find and not to yield''.
I completed my speech by saying: ``Let us
pray to God Almighty to shower on this rare person his choicest
blessings so that India can march from strength to strength in the days
This was five years ago when I never knew
that one day he would go to Raisina Hill. This award was conferred on
him by the former President, R. Venkataraman, and patron of the trust.
One more thing in Dr. Kalam that attracted me
is his great passion for knowledge. He felt that knowledge alone could
uplift a person and make a country great. He often recited `Thirukural'
to this effect. His library contains the latest books on every subject.
No wonder when we asked him to give a plan to make India a super
knowledge power and he gave one mantra to achieve this — ``Knowledge,
knowledge and knowledge''. This silent and sincere person of devotion
and dedication of a rare variety, I am sure, will deliver the goods.