As children, Abdul Kalam and his best friend Ramanadha Sastry sat together on the first bench of the classroom. Ramanadha Sastry was the son of the head priest. One day, a new teacher who came to their class objected to the fact that a Muslim boy sat with a Hindu Brahmin boy. In a harsh manner, he asked Abdul Kalam to go and sit on the last bench. This incident hurt both boys. The head priest took strong action against the teacher. He summoned the teacher and said that he can no longer teach in that school. The teacher learnt his lesson that his duty was to teach religious harmony and not to poison little minds with superficial differences. He asked for Kalam’s forgiveness and seeing that the teacher was sincere in his emotions, the head priest allowed him to continue teaching.
“If you want to make beautiful music, you must play the black and the white notes together,” said Richard M. Nixon. The old emphasis upon superficial differences that separate peoples must give way to education for tolerance and communal harmony. A society will not be harmonious when it is inherently unjust and does not treat its peoples alike and provide equal opportunities.
Quote: “The best brains of the nation may be found on the last benches of the classroom.” – Abdul Kalam