Introduction

‘A President Speaks’ is written by Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam. He was the president of India. In this speech, he talks about his three visions of India that is, freedom, development, and strength. APJ Abdul Kalam was the 11th president of our country. he was a very efficient scientist too. He delivered numerous speeches to encourage the citizens of the nation. ‘A President Speaks’ was delivered by him in Hyderabad.

Summary

The three visions of India

In this essay, Kalam says that from Alexander onwards, many nations have invaded our country and looted us. They took over what was ours. Yet India has not done this to any other nation. We have not conquered anyone or snatched their land, their culture, and their history. We have not tried to enforce our way of life on them. It was because we love freedom.

Kalam also talks about his three visions for India. He says that his first vision for India is of freedom. India got its first vision of freedom in 1857 when the war of independence was started. It is this freedom that we must protect. We must nurture it and build the future of India on it. If we are not free, no one will respect us. Kalam’s second vision for India is development. For fifty, years we have been a developing nation. It is time we saw ourselves as a developed nation. We are among the top 5 nations of the world in terms of GDP. Our poverty levels are falling.

Our achievements are being globally recognized today. Yet we lack the self-confidence to see ourselves as a developed and self-reliant nation. Kalam’s third vision for India is of strength. Kalam says that India must become strong. It must stand up to the world. Only then can we win respect. Kalam says that only strength respects strength. So, we must be strong. We should be strong not only as a military power but also as an economic power.

We must be self-reliant

Kalam refers to our obsession with foreign goods. He says that India has made a wonderful success in many fields. Yet we run after foreign goods. We want foreign TVs, foreign shirts and foreign technology. Kalam is unable to understand this obsession with everything imported. He says that self-respect comes with self-reliance. We must realize this truth. We must become self-reliant and not run after imported things. We are never tired of finding fault with our government, our laws, and all the things that are related to the government. But we never ask ourselves what we do about it. We behave very differently when we are in another country. There, we become very responsible and law-abiding in our behavior. We don’t dare to do anything that is not acceptable there.

For example, in Dubai, we would not dare to eat in public during Ramadan. In Jeddah, we would not dare to go out without covering our heads. In London, we would not dare to bribe an employee of the telephone exchange to have our calls billed to someone else. When we are in Australia or New Zealand, we would not throw our empty coconut shells on the beach. We don’t throw it anywhere other than the garbage pail. Similarly, we would never spit paan on the streets of Tokyo. And in Boston, we shall never try to buy false certificates from an employee in the examination department. But in our own country, we shall do all these things without any fear or sense of shame. Kalam wonders why we can’t behave like good citizens in India also. We willingly follow a foreign system but don’t care a fig for our own. 

Take responsibility for your actions instead of blaming the government

We blame the government for everything and never care about our own duty. Often people take their dogs for a walk on the road. The dog leaves its droppings all over the place. And then we blame the government for dirty pavements. Kalam says that in countries like America and Japan, every dog owner has to clean the droppings of his pet. But the people in India would never do it. They will only blame the government. We expect the government to do everything for us. We go to the polls and choose a government. Then we think that our responsibility is finished. We sit back comfortably and expect the government to do everything for us.

We expect the government to clean up the roads and streets. But we don’t stop throwing the garbage all over the place. We never stop to pick up a stray piece of paper and throw it into the bin. We expect the railways to provide clean bathrooms. But we never care to make proper use of them. We want Indian Airlines and Air India to provide the best food and toiletries. But we shall not stop our habit of pilfering. Surely, we are the strangest of people.

An appeal to Indian citizens

Kalam says that we are in the habit of finding fault with the government. We find fault with our laws and our system. We show great concern about burning social issues. Women, dowry, girl child, etc. are not subjects for us. We make a show of loud protests in public. We blame the system but when it comes to us, we behave most selfishly. We begin to say, “How will it matter if I alone give up my son’s right to dowry?” We fail to realize that we are also a part of the system. How will the system change if we don’t change ourselves? In great despair, Kalam says that everybody is out to abuse and rape the country. Nobody thinks of feeding the system. We have mortgaged our conscience to money. Kalam calls upon every Indian to do what the country needs from us.

Conclusion

We should stop blaming the government, Indians make loud protests but make no effort towards social issues. We all are a part of the Indian society and thus we must all fight against these social problems and overcome them. We must perform our social responsibility sincerely.