The President Speaks August 2015
Mixed Blessings and Rays of Hope!
“My ‘Swaraj’ is to keep intact the genius of our
civilisation. I want to write many new things but they
must all be written on the Indian Slate. I would
gladly borrow from the West when I can return the
amount with decent interest”. – Mahatma Gandhi.
Happy Independence Day on the 15th of August. We can proudly state that Swaraj (self rule or independence) has been our birth-right for the last sixty-eight years. We have our own civilisation to be proud of, besides our heritage. The new things that have been written on the Indian Slate, which has weathered wars, the Emergency era and the progressive economic development of India’s awakening to make her tryst with destiny on its unending journey, to become one of the world’s most influential nations, helps us to keep us going. We borrowed the democratic system of governance from the West, which has held the country in good stead so far but what is the amount of decent interest that can be repaid when one sees the ongoing monsoon session in our Parliament? I leave it to you to contemplate and evaluate! I have hope and confidence that we shall overcome. You may ask me, why?.
‘India 2020 – a Vision for the New Millennium’ by APJ Abdul Kalam with YS Rajan, published in 1998, is dedicated to a ten-year old girl whose ambition was to live in a developed India. The people’s president was respected and admired by all and the loss of a great teacher can never be replaced.
In October 2008 I had an opportunity to visit Dr APJ Kalam in New Delhi, who had just laid down office as President of India, to invite him for the opening of the cancer treatment unit in Fr Muller Hospital. Dr Kalam did visit Mangalore and as per usual custom and courtesy, I had gone to see off the former President at the Old Bajpe Airport. Offering the farewell bouquet to Dr Kalam, I was requested to give company to our honoured guest by his staff, who I had the pleasure to meet in New Delhi, as the flight was late. The next one hour that followed was one of the memorable moments of my life in terms of experiencing humility, knowledge gained and diplomacy. It was a one to one session with just two of us in the VIP lounge exchanging notes on various subjects. The rapport Dr Kalam enjoyed with his personal staff and his concern in taking care of their wellbeing was touching. Dr Kalam had a very good knowledge of Mangalore, its history, people and its industrial potential. I had to answer personal questions, professional matters followed next and my opinion on how Indian shipping fared at the international level was well taken. The diplomacy par excellence was personified, when I asked him boldly on the silence that he was maintaining on the Nuclear Pressler Amendment 123 when the issue was rocking the nation then. The answer was short and sweet, ‘I will, when it is needed’, with that famous smile.
Dr Kalam never spoke on the evils of corruption but fought corruption by walking the talk igniting and awakening the youth, inculcating dreams and visions. Finally, let me add that Dr Kalam wrote many new things on the Modern Indian Slate in every public office that he held, to make all Indians proud. May Dr Kalam’s soul rest in peace.
I am happy to inform that Fr Muller Charitable Foundation (FMCF) in the US has informed CASK that they will continue to support the Eye Care Project for the following year too. CASK is grateful to Drs Vinaya and Sameer Kapoor for their generous contribution of USD 10,000 for the third successive year and M/s Atlantic Sub Sea Inc, New Jersey, for matching an equal amount of USD 10,000. CASK is working with Fr Muller Medical College Hospital Management on how to reach out the eye harvesting and transplant action scheme in and around Mangalore region.
Many donors have responded to our annual scholarship programme too. Special thanks to Prof Edmund Frank, Chairman of Sylvester Frank Centenary Foundation, for his contribution of Rs one lakh for this year’s scholarship programme.
Our ongoing activities have been covered separately in this issue. I thank all office bearers, editorial team, committee members for shouldering responsibility on a collective basis for making things happen in a seamless manner. It is for you readers to write your views on the CASK slate when we complete one year in office next month.
Let me personally invite you for the 14thAugust 2015 CASK event, as part of our 2015 Independence Day Celebrations. It will be our pleasure to interact once again after our last programme on ‘Issues and concerns of our community’ held on 1st May 2015. I also take this opportunity to remind you to mark the Annual General Meeting date of 20th Sept. 2015 in your diary. CASK is your Association and make sure you will be present at 10 AM on 20thSept. St. Aloysius College Auditorium, next to Idgah Maidan, for the AGM. Once again 69th Independence Day ‘SWARAJ’ greetings.
John Prasad Menezes