Probably never before, another person who has no political affiliations, no any kind of party behind him, has ever become a President of a nation. Just out of his pure sincerity and his enthusiasm, the way he came up in the scientific community, people could not ignore him, and he just sort of naturally floated into that position of being the President. And he’s been such a unique person and so approachable as a President like never before, anybody who’s been head of a nation has been that approachable.
This is the story of a boy from a very poor family, born in a small town, in southern India, in Tamil Nadu. With his simple aspirations and his longing and his desire to get somewhere in his life, educated himself, slowly grow into one of the most prominent aeronautical engineers, not only in the country, in the world, and went on to become a great space scientist, and then went on to become the President of this country. He’s an incredible human being. He has no political affiliations, never been a political person. But all parties in the country, every politician, and every human being in the country respected him so much, that he naturally elevated himself into that position.
Just to make you understand how simply he lives his life – last time when I was, I think I was coming from Lebanon, I was coming from Beirut, and I stopped over at Dubai Airport for about few hours, five hours or so. And I was just reading the local newspapers. There was a report, a boxed report, ‘The Indian President talked to the security man,’ something like that. I was interested. I was just reading about it.
What happened was, in the hotel in which he was staying, some big hotel in Dubai – when he was walking in, he saw a security man and he recognized him. [speaking in Tamil]. This security man worked as a driver for him for a short period, about thirty years ago. He remembered that man, and right there he went and spoke to him, he hugged him and he said, you know, I have some work, in the night when I come back at ten o’clock, you come to my room, let me talk to you. So this is an interview with a security person. This guy sharing with the journalist, how the President came and spoke to him and invited him to his room, but he felt it’s not appropriate for him to go there and, you know… That’s the kind of person he is.
Just a simple human being pushing his way through life without being a great competitor, without being a great, you know, fired up ambitious kind of person. Simple desire to do something for people and just allowing himself to grow, from a village boy to the President of the country. This is just a simple story of what a human being can do to himself and to people around him with very simple means, with no great means at his hands.
In many ways for the Indian village students especially, who live in a certain sense of social, economic and other cultural bondages, the thinking beyond their village is like a huge adventure. It’s something that the people who come from outside the country will not understand. It’s just your thinking beyond the village is a big adventure. Going out of the village is like a great adventure.
So, becoming from a village boy to a big scientist and internationally recognized scientist and to become the President of the country is like, is like too much of a fancy dream. It’s not something that happens in a place like this because generally unless the person has the necessary family, educational and other kinds of backgrounds they don’t raise. This is one person who broke all the rules and went up without any connections, without any political support, without any kind of family backgrounds, without even any kind of necessary cunning and ambition for a person to grow. Just his simplicity and sincerity took him places.