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President charms children

May 30, 2003 14:49 IST

President A P J Abdul Kalam charmed over 3,000 school children in an interactive session at the Raj Bhawan in Patna on Friday morning, answering a volley of questions ranging from his ideals in life to how to make India prosperous.

Attired in a pair of black trousers and a white shirt, President Kalam told children about the importance of developing scientific temperament to achieve goals in life.
The children were drawn from both elite private schools and government-run institutions.

When Manisha Kaushik, a student of Mount Carmel School, asked him what could be done to make India a developed country, the President said: ''If we teach poor children by sparing time on holidays, we can spread the light of learning among millions of illiterates. Besides, the country needs to enhance its agricultural productivity.''

Describing Bihar as the land of Lord Mahavira, Gautam Buddha and King Ashoka, he said that with such a great cultural and spiritual heritage there was nothing that should block the state's path to progress.

Asked by another child about his ideals in life, the President named his guru Vikram Sarabhai, Subramaniam Iyer and three teachers who had taught him.

To a query about his favourite food, Kalam smiled and said: "Simple vegetarian food like roti, dal, rice etc."

The President asked the children to dream a lot and said: ''The more you dream, the more you develop the temperament to learn and set bigger goals in life.''

He also advised the children to make sincerity, punctuality and quest for knowledge their guiding principles.

Though a majority of children asked questions in English, the queries in Hindi were translated by an interpreter for the President.

Manisha Kumari, a girl from a local school, sought permission from the President to present him a card showcasing the natural beauty of Bihar, which he accepted happily.

The children, dressed in school uniforms, were all bubbling with excitement. Ankita, Aisha and Deepshika of Notre Dam School said the session with the President was an experience of a lifetime for them.

A few, however, were unhappy that they did not get a chance to pose question to the President. Amit Kumar of Rajkiya Madhya Vidyalaya, which is located within the Raj Bhavan, said he was not allowed to sit with other children as his uniform was untidy.

The session exceeded its scheduled time of an hour by about 20 minutes.


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