Lauding Mahatma Gandhi’s leadership qualities on his first-ever visit to China, former president, A P J Abul Kalam today exhorted the Chinese students to follow his suit and also cultivate an art of questioning in pursuit of excellence.
Speaking to students of Peking University on the “Dimensions of Creative Leadership” on last leg of his high profile visit here, Kalam narrated how Mahatma Gandhi preferred to remain in Kolkata to console the victims of social disharmony on Aug 15, 1947, when the entire nation celebrated its first independence for which Gandhiji fought.
“On the great occasion of freedom celebrations, he was not in the midst of the pomp and show healing the wounded”, he said praising the move as great leadership quality.
Kalam, known as the Missile Man, under whose leadership India’s Agni missile programme evolved culminating in recent successful launch of Agni V missile, also spoke about the genesis of India’s space and missile programme.
While explaining the leadership qualities he spoke of how Prof Sathish Dhawan, the former Chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), came to his rescue when the experimental launch of SLV3, for which Kalam was project director, failed and fell into sea.
Putting up staunch of the defence of team, Dhawan said ‘we have tumbled not fallen flat’ and asked them to carry on which enabled ISRO scientists to come with successful SLV series later making India one of the top countries in the field, Kalam recalled.
Like a true leader Dhawan owned failure and credited the success to the team, which he said are prime qualities of creative leadership.
Kalam also spoke of the development of Agni missile series and narrated the material used for heat shield of the missile was later successfully used for fitting callipers for the polio affected children.
Replying to questions from the students, he stressed the importance of cultivating the concept of questioning.
“One of the important qualities science teaches you is to question; question and question till you get answer. You should not be afraid of the problem. Defeat the problem and succeed”, he said.
Kalam is visiting China at the invitation of Beijing Forum a Chinese government backed intellectual body and spoke.
He also attended a reception hosted by the Indian Ambassador to China, S Jaishakar and interacted with Beijing based Indian Diaspora.
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