Pujya Swamiji Awarded with the 4th Dr Kalam Memorial Honour for His Tireless Services to Creating a Liveable Planet for all Beings
DELHI: On 27 July 2015, the 11th President of India, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam – an aerospace scientist, who spent 40 years as a scientist and science administrator, mainly at the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), elected to the presidency in a landslide victory and serving one term from 2002-2007 – mounted the stairs to the podium at the Indian Institute of Management Shillong to deliver a lecture to second-year students of the B-school on the topic “Creating a Livable Planet Earth.” Five minutes into his much-awaited speech, he collapsed following a massive heart attack and was pronounced dead at hospital a short time later. The nation and the world mourned his loss for the days, months and years to come.
Dubbed the People’s President, the Bharat Ratna award-winning Kalam ji started life in humble circumstances, selling newspapers to supplement the income of his family, whose once-prosperous position in the community had taken a turn. He put himself through school, and subsequently and rapidly progressed in the scientific community. When he left his body, HH the Dalai Lama, most prominently amongst many others, called his passing “an irreparable loss”.
It is for him that the Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam International Youth Memorial Conclave for Creating a Livable Planet (KLP) was planned in the year 2016 on the first anniversary of his passing, to pick up where he left off. The 4th Edition of this Conclave this year was organized by Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Centre for Creating Livable Planet Earth & Sustainable Development in partnership with Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Technical University, Lucknow and had a special focus on Vision 2020 ensuring sustainable growth for all. The Conclave always featured distinct honours that are presented to selected individuals and institutions for their exemplary work for the nation and society.
Present at this years event were Hon’ble Member of Parliament Smt Meenakshi Lekhiji, Vice Chancellor of the Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Technical University Prof Vinay Pathakji, Shri Srijan Pal Singhji, CEO Kalam Centre, and Dr Ashok Patil, President of International Rural Healthcare and Medicine amongst many other dignitaries on and off the dias.
The prestigious 4th Dr Abdul Kalam Memorial honour was given to His Holiness Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji, President Parmarth Niketan, Co-Founder Global Interfaith Wash Alliance, Ganga Action Parivar, for his extraordinary efforts for bringing faith to the forefront of climate action, environmental preservation & for creating a livable planet Earth for all beings.
Inspiring the audience Pujya Swamiji said, “India is not merely blessed because it has sacred natural, cultural and historical heritage sites, monuments such as the iconic Taj Mahal. It is not merely special because it has the Ganga and the Himalayas but it is truly blessed because it has the divine example of people who are as pure as the Ganga, as high thinking as the Himalayas, as deep as the ocean. Dr APJ Abul Kalam was a shining example of what makes India so special. His example and our current administration headed by Hon’ble President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovindji, Hon’ble Vice President of India, Shri Venkaiah Naiduji and Hon’ble Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modiji all come from very humble beginnings yet hold the top positions of this nation. They exemplify the possibility for us all to follow our dreams and to be the change that we seek in the world.”
Speaking with great sincerity, Smt Meenakshii Lekhiji placed a great emphasis on coming together to work for water, “Today you look at places where there is massive floods and yet during the lean season they are depleted of ground water or places where there aren’t so much rains but have sufficient water reserves. To me it is the policy, infrastructure and facilities that have a huge impact in our water usage and distribution and that to me is key to creating water secure future. We must exercise good governance, implement water policy and make the change for others to follow.”
His Holiness Shri M was honoured for his contributions as well, most noteably his Manav Ekta Yatra, a padyatra (journey on foot) for peace & harmony, covering 6500 kms, from Kanyakumari to Kashmir. Sharing his words of wisdom Shri Mji shared, “To me before anything else it is crucial for us to remember that we are human beings first. That humanity must be at the core of all our efforts and it is with this vision of connecting with humanity that I walked across the nation connecting people from every different walk of life and faith as one people.”
Shri Srijan Pal Singh, CEO Kalam Centre shared his memories of being with Respected Dr Kalamji, “One day Dr Kalamji and I were out for a walk and as we were going he immediately turned around and started walking the other way. Initially, I thought it was a monkey or something that was along the garden path that we were avoiding but later when I asked him he said so beautifully that he didn’t want to disrupt the bees busy picking the honey from the flowers as the honey they were making was an action not for themselves but for others. He said that those who serve not for themselves but for others no matter how big or small they might be they should be regarded with the utmost respect.”
The dignitaries also offered water to a plant as a symbolic beginning of the event, symbolizing Dr Kalamji’s green and compassionate leadership. Many inspiring words were shared, awards were distributed and young people doing exceptional work in Rural Development, Education and Girl Child empowerment were honoured for their work. Many youth under the age of 35 who are working towards a more sustainable planet were also recognized for their contributions.
In closing, Pujya Swamiji inspired everyone to hold up their plants and pledge to take a selfie planting their trees, offering it and sharing it as a tribute to the Dr APJ Kalam hashtaging #KalamKoSalaam to inspire others to be the change.