Monday, February 20, 2006

Yes, President!

President, Dr Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam's speech at the weekend was a stunning example of development communications.

Speaking at the silver jubilee celebrations of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's Art of Living in Bangalore, he praised the Non-Governmental Organization. He said its motto, "Life is sacred. Celebrate life," reminded him of the advice of Mahatma Gandhi's mother to her son. "Son, in your entire life time if you can save or better someone's life, your birth as a human being and your life is a success. You have the blessing of the Almighty God," she had told Gandhi.

With his words of wisdom, Dr Kalam should have succeeded in unleashing a flood of positive thoughts in the minds of the people who have heard him. The mammoth Bangalore gathering -- and millions of people across the globe, thanks to the live telecast -- heard him in rapt attention. He recited a divine hymn, and urged people to join him in chorus. The hymn was:

Where there is righteousness in the heart
There is beauty in the character.
When there is beauty in the character,
There is harmony in the home.
When there is harmony in the home.
There is an order in the nation.
When there is order in the nation,
There is peace in the world.

With ripples of positive energy spreading across the globe, television viewers too joined the chorus. Dr Kalam might not have heard their voices. He might not have also heard the murmurs of resolution made by the crowd -- and the viewers: "Let me try and help others."

India needs a downpour of such development communications with the media too pitching in. How? By giving widespread coverage to such speeches -- and, if possible -- capturing their impact on the people, particularly the youth.

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