A few days ago, at the Lead India 2020:A Vision for the New Millennium programme I had a chance to see firsthand the power of our ex-President, A. P. J. Abdul Kalam  to inspire.

His message is a simple one, and all the more attractive for that. A developed India by 2020, or even earlier, is not a dream, he says. It need not be a mere vision in the minds of many Indians. It is a mission we can all take up and succeed. Following the UNDP lead of putting people at the center of the development and keeping in perspective that 54% of our population is youth, Prof. N. B Sudershan Acharya integrated Dr. Kalam’s ideals, vision and mission and created a training program for the youth titled Aap Badho Desh Ko Bhadao the fundamental philosophy being Individual development leads to National Development.

Lead India 2020 Foundation, is now on the path of carrying the torch forward, focused on igniting and channelizing hidden potential in our youth. Most of the training is delivered to the students by their peers, Change Agents, who form the Lead India National Club (LINC) in their respective schools. Guided by a 10-point oath designed by Dr. Kalam, the Change Agents embrace a new way of living. Graduates of Lead India 2020 training program set high goals in life and become Change Agents to change society and environment around them. The training was first delivered to 6,000 tribal students in remote villages and then to 25,000 tribal students in the next two years.  Later on mass transformation in high school students was accomplished with over 1 lakh students participating in Medak and over 2 lakh students in Karimnagar.  (The above paragraphs are taken from their website.)

What is striking about the photograph I took from the dais is not the image of Dr Kalam himself- he can be recognized instantly, and the pose is now characteristic- but the look on those who are looking at him, riveted by what he is saying…The 10 point oath is a simple formula that combines a set of instructions for living that essentially nobody can argue with, and yet its simplicity appeals… Here they are (simplified even more):

  1. I will pursue my education or my work with dedication.
  2. I will work to eradicate illiteracy.
  3. I will work for reforestation.
  4. I will work towards reducing social evils.
  5. I will constantly endeavour to remove the pain of my suffering brethren.
  6. I will not support any discrimination
  7. I will be honest and will endeavour to make a corruption-free society.
  8. I will strive to become an enlightened person.
  9. I will be sensitive to the needs of the differently abled.
  10. I will celebrate the success of my country and my people with pride.

It is difficult to not be impressed. Mobilizing such large numbers is not easily done, and the admiration that these students have for Dr Kalam is genuine and moreover appears to serve genuinely to inspire. Earlier, when writing about the DST’s INSPIRE program I had said that in the end our salvation will be in numbers, and the numbers are here for the asking. There is a large number of our youth who can see that the only way forward is to lead from the front, to be the change, however clichéd that may sound. Seeing school after school send up children who had clearly overcome several hurdles, both social and personal, to come this far, the event was not just impressive, it was humbling.

This is the vanguard of LEAD India 2020, and in all likelihood, the vanguard of the new India.


4 thoughts on “Rock(et)star

  1. All things have I seen in the days of my vanity: there is a just man that perisheth in his righteousness, and there is a wicked man that prolongeth his life in his wickedness. Be not righteous over much; neither make thyself over wise: why shouldest thou destroy thyself?

    The Bible, (Ecclesiastes) KJV

  2. A Central CENTRAL University with NO BRAND in Karnataka at least.
    1. I did my MA, M.Phil & PhD from the University of Hyderabad between 2001 to 2010.
    2. I didn’t get thru JNU in 2001, then 1 of my UG teachers consoled me saying, don’t worry, Central University will be certainly better than any University in Karnataka.
    3. My 10 years on campus taught me where I was, no better person than the present Honourable VC to throw some light on that. If one were to take the geographical advantage away from JNU, it is no competition. For evidence, visit the resident at
    Quarters No. 45
    University of Hyderabad
    Prof. C.R. Rao Road
    4. I attended my first interview for the post of an Asst. Prof (temporary) in September 2010, the VC asked me where I am from and when I said the University of Hyderabad, he asked me thrice, if I was from OSMANIA UNIVERSITY, n when I said Central University, He asked me if my PhD was thru correspondence. Irony that the VC was born in the neighbouring district of Gulbarga or may be Raichur.
    5. The saga continues. Im now in a fairly good position to access the best in academics in Karnataka. They ask my background n when I say UH, their reaction ‘OK CENTRAL UNIVERSITY’.
    Dearest Honourable VC, just try interacting with all of the VCs in 95% of the publicly funded Universities in Karnataka and you’l know your self and if you think Karnataka may be an isolated case, I’l stop here.

    • Hi Ozmond, not sure why you tagged the comment to this post, but yes,
      UoH does not have great press. Should we just blow our trumpet, or
      should we let our alumni (i.e. you and friends) make us better known
      through your actions and work? I think I’d prefer the latter, even if
      it will take much more time…


      • Two reasons why I tagged…
        One the link to this blog is
        HCU rocks true, but none of the posts says when, where n why it rocks?
        Two, I had to put it somewhere, I did it here.
        Alumni…. Please do not play pranks Honourable VC. When the world wants to see Rock music, our University is presenting a Classical one! We’re nothing more than a replica of some/any regional university. Natural Sciences, I’ve no issues with, coz we’re the best. Others is a big ?

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