Books are my close Friends

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Dr. Abdul Kalam is a voracious reader and gives advice to make books our friends.
He has also written a number of books. Dr. Kalam states that books help us to wipe out tears and share joyful moments.  Here he opens up his mind to the students.

Earlier when I had been to the North-eastern states, namely, Sikkim, Assam, Megalaya and Mizoram, I met many literary scholars and thinkers of different North-eastern states languages.  They have contributed to literature many works as well as created cultural programmes.  I was moved to see a unique Musical Dance programme at Mizoram.

Likewise at Sikkim, I saw another programme wherein the three groups,  Nepali, Bhutia and Lepcha synchronized together. We were all very happy  with the striking music and artistic beauty of the Dance Drama programmes that displayed the talents of united hearts. Generally, any programme will present only the existing social differences; but, by integrating the multi-faceted cultural aspects, this programme exhibited it as a single feature.  We were very happy about it.

Amidst the events at Mizoram, I had a unique experience.  Generally, there is no Air service after 4.00 pm from Aizawl, the capital city of Mizoram. But, I had work at Aizawl till 9.00 pm. I had to return to Delhi also the same night. Hence, our Air Force men had made minimum arrangements essential for the take-off of the aircraft.

I came to the Airport with my team.  The Governor, Chief Minister and the other Government personnels also arrived there.  I saw a rare sight there in the midst of darkness with the help of light coming from the aircraft. A team of Musicians with musical instruments, standing at a safe distance near the aircraft, was waiting to present a programme.

As soon as they saw me, they began to sing a beautiful, melodious Farewell Song composed by their Poet Rokunga.  The title of the song was World in Farewell.  The meaning of the song runs like this-

With heavy, sobbing  heart,
We bid goodbye now.
To bid farewell to world we live in,
So decided pine Father,
But created  re we sure to live in a
Better world than this,
Lets live in an eternal City
Sans separation pain.

I was stirred by the unlimited beauty of India, the emotion filled  melody of the song, our multi-faceted culture and their synchronization, and this great countrys unity of mind.  I am delighted to see that having realized this truth, the  Bharathia Jnanapit  acknowledges the writers of perse languages recognized by Section 8 of our Constitution for their achievements in creative writing.

During 1950s, at Moor Market, Chennai I bought a book entitled Light from Many Lamps from a second hand bookshop. I also had a copy of M.Varadarajans Thirukural Clarification in Tamil, which I had won as a prize in an Essay Competition. These two books had become my intimate friends.  For more than fifty years, they have been my companions.  The books that have shaped and moulded me many a time, by reading them again and again, have now become quite worn-out.  Whenever I had problems, my tears are wiped away by the experiences of the great minds revealed in these books.  When we indulge in pleasurable moments, they fondle us gently and make us remain balanced.  Basically books are interminable.

Progressed India does not designate economically developed India. It points to its integrated growth of Fine arts, Literature, Humanism, the high meritorious thoughts and above all its five thousand years of cherished tradition.

Best wishes to all of you

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