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Launch overseas research foundation: Kalam

Monday 10 January 2005, by BHATT*Arunkumar

MUMBAI, JAN. 9. The President, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, today asked overseas Indians to make a mark in the world as a "Pravasi" (migrant) and launch an Overseas Indian Research Foundation with a seed capital of $100 million to promote research in challenging areas such as prediction of earthquakes.

Mr. Kalam would not take `impossible’ for an answer since earthquakes are believed to be unpredictable and told so to the valedictory session of the three-day Third Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, a coming together of the Indians abroad. He said amidst cheers that as an aeronautical engineer he would say that it was impossible for a bumblebee to fly because of its adverse aerodynamic shape and size but it does. He said the foundation could identify institutions and researchers of excellence and provide them the environment and resources to do the work. Such an initiative would make the world community remember them.

Praise for successes

Mr. Kalam told the overseas Indians that the nation was proud of them, their successes and their support to their families in remote villages of India and noted that some of them had given political philosophy to their host countries which were not free, and under dictatorial regimes. He asked each one of them to be a one-person non-governmental organisation and "replicate you in one Indian living in India."

Though most of over 1,500 overseas Indians gathered were seeing Mr. Kalam for the first time the President instantly established a rapport with them. Mr. Kalam received standing ovation more than once.

Earlier, Mr. Kalam conferred Pravasi Bharatiya Samman awards to 11 distinguished Indians abroad for their successes, promoting Indian causes and the Indian diaspora’s interests while serving the people of the host countries.

They included the former Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Basdeo Panday; the Labour Member of the British House of Lords, Lord Bhiku Parekh; the renowned political scientist, Sunil Khilnani; Nelson Mandela’s close associate, Ahmed Kathrada; the pioneer of telecommunication revolution in India, Sam Pitroda; the agricultural scientist, Sant Singh Virmani; Gulf entrepreneur, Yusuffali M.A.; promoter of India-China trade, M. Arunachalam; women’s activist and anti-apartheid crusader of South Africa, Amina Cachalia; German-Bengali poetry translator, Alokeranjan Dasgupta; and the Chancellor of International Medical and Technological University in Dar es Salam, Sir J.K. Chande.

Hollywood film director, Manoj Shyamalan, noted writer, Vikram Seth, and Fiji golfer, Vijay Singh, could not receive the awards in person. The awardees were nominated by various Indian missions and associations abroad and were selected by an independent committee.

The gathering was enthralled by instrumental music presented by four child artistes - Ambi Subramanium, Rimpa Siva, Kiran Pathakota and G. Chandrashekhar Sharma. The President walked to them and shook hands with them. Students of Happy Home and School for the Blind rendered the National Anthem and recited the song `Ek Nazariya’ penned by Mr. Kalam.

The Overseas Indians Affairs Minister, Jagdish Tytler, and the Maharashtra Governor, S.M. Krishna, addressed the gathering.

See online : The Hindu

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