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NOVEMBER 14, 2015




Billion Beats is
a beautiful idea

The constant bombardment of
negative news in the media
paints a very distorted picture
of our society. There is a lot of
goodness in society that
needs to be highlighted.
Values like love, compassion,
a sense of sharing and inner freedom are the
universal pulse of life that beats in billions of
hearts, whichever cultures or continent they
may be from. I wish you all success in
catching this pulse and inspiring youth
through your work, in keeping with the legacy of Dr Kalam.
- Sri Sri Ravi Shankar,
Spiritual Guru, Art of Living
I am happy to know that Billion
Beats is being relaunched. It
was my dream to meet Kalam
Sir once, but I couldn't. Now, I
will look forward to reading
inspiring stories of Indians
through Billion Beats. Hope to
see some stories from sporting fraternity as
well. Glad that his work is being carried forwarded by his family."
- Saina Nehwal, International
Badminton player

Dr Kalam had many dreams.
We are making an honest
effort to propel them one after
another through silent work.
We will strive hard to inspire
the future generation of India
through various productive
missions. I am happy that the family members are united in spreading his mission.
Billion Beats was very close to Dr Kalam’s
- Dr Naseema Maraikayar, Founder
Chairperson, Dr A P J Abdul Kalam
International Foundation

Billion Beats is a concept
which was dear to Dr Kalam.
He launched it with great hope
and I wish that the current
team carries forward his idea
of capturing positive articles. I
look forward to contribute in
future issues.
- Dr Satheesh Reddy, Scientific
Advisor to Defence Minister

Billion Beats is a great concept
and a much-needed one, considering we are surrounded by
a plethora of negative news. I
am confident that Billion Beats
will empower ordinary citizens
of this country.
- Raji Pattamana, Housewife


Legendary music director Ilayaraja launches the logo of Dr A P J Abdul Kalam
International Foundation in Chennai on October 11, 2015.


By Dr Anantha Krishnan M

t’s serendipity that I am writing
this piece for Billion Beats again.
Around the same time in 2007, I
remember sitting with Guru
Hyderabad, finalizing the first
edition of Billion Beats to be
launched on Children’s Day.
Upset with the increasing number of negative reports in the
media, Guru Kalam was always
concerned about its impact on
younger generations. He had
expressed his desire to relaunch
Billion Beats just days before his
demise. And I am delighted that
House of Kalam (Rameswaram)
has decided to take up the mission.
The new-look Billion Beats sticks
to the very principle Guru Kalam
had in mind, when he handpicked a group of young journalists from Bangalore to run the
show. The core idea of this epaper is to capture inspiring sto-

ries of Indians all across the globe.
“Ensure that every email is
opened and worthy ones acknowledged. Don’t disappoint people,
because they write to us with
hope,” Guru Kalam once told
Team Billion Beats.
I am happy that the flightpath
for Billion Beats will now be charted by Inspired Indian Foundation
(IIF), a popular movement for
unsung heroes in Bangalore. IIF
believes in more action and less
talk. Results and not claims.
We are on a mission mode -- carrying forward the vision of Guru
Kalam. To take India forward, to
make India a developed nation.
Billion Beats is one honest step in
that direction capturing the ‘Pulse
of India.’ The ‘write’ way!
And, YOU are our inspiration! 
The writer is an aerospace
journalist and a Post-Doctoral
Fellow with University of Mysore.
He is the Editor of Billion Beats
and tweets @writetake.

Dear friends,
Billion Beats, an e-paper
aimed at capturing positve
stories, is indeed a beautiful
It should set a new tradition
by celebrating the success of
Indians wherever they are. It
may be from an agricultural
village or a fishing village; it
may be from a dairy village or
from the service sector.
Billion Beats should tap
and spread the success of
Indians and their glad tidings. We have islands of success in every field and we
should connect them to
make a garland.
The idea of Billion Beats is
to make every Indian write. I
am confident that Billion Beats
would create knowledge connectivity among the people.
My greetings and best
wishes to the editorial team.

The above message was given
by Guru Kalam during
the launch of Billion Beats
on November 14, 2007.


Do you have a success story to
share? An inspiration that can be
imbibed? We welcome short contributions along with a passportsize photo, name, mailing address,
phone number & scanned ID proof.
Write in at:

India by 2020: Every youth must insure own future
By Wg Cdr Rakesh Sharma (Retd), Ashoka Chakra


he year 2020 as envisaged by India’s
Peoples’ President Dr A P J Abdul Kalam,
is just a shade above 4 years from now – not a
big number given our ancient civilization. In
this fast moving world,
we ought to be looking
ahead rather than at
our past and hence
this attempt to
gaze in the
crystal ball.
By 2020,
more than
66 crore
will be
the age
of 25

the average age of India in that year is expected to be 29 – much lower than that of China
(37 years) and Japan (48 years). Different people interpret this fact very differently.
Economists and planners look at this as a
demographic dividend that can be leveraged
to boost the nation’s economy, while politicians see it as a potential vote bank that needs
to be focused on and so on.
To the discerning youth of today, these are
just numbers. Knowing very well that this
constituency is aspirational, it is concerned
only with the profound influence that governance exerts on creating opportunities and
through it, personal wealth.
It is said that every country gets the government it deserves. This cannot be truer than it
is, in our case. We expect the government to
do everything for us, while we unthinkingly
do everything to make governance a difficult
task for them. We want corruption to be eradicated but we do not hesitate for a second

before bribing policemen, government inspectors, politicians and a host of others. We raise
demands for a clean country but carelessly litter public places ourselves almost every day.
If our great country has to regain its past
glory, it needs to be driven by our demographic dividend: our youth. The very youth
that runs the risk of not realizing their aspirations if social indices in our country do not
improve; and if our civil services do not
become more open, transparent, clean and
Every young student and youth of today
needs to insure his own future by positively
contributing towards the change he or she
wishes to see in our country. Today’s student
is going to raise a family tomorrow. Every
family needs a role model it can look up to.
Be that model!
My best wishes to Team Billion Beats! 
The writer is the first and only Indian
astronaut to go to space

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My National Flag shall always fly in my heart and
I will bring glory to my nation.
- Guru Kalam

They called him an idiot, but he gave wings to dreams
NOV 14, 2015


he neighbourhood kids in Saji Thomas’
remote village Idukki (in Kerala) used to
call him 'potten' (idiot), but this wasn’t the
usual mockery done by kids towards a deaf
and mute boy. This teasing was a dab at how
he was constantly trying to piece together junk
into something new, something useful.
The 45 year old 'potten' has come a long way.
Thomas, quite recently, designed and built a
twin-seater ultra-light aircraft on his own from
used parts and recycled material, which got
him into some noted record books. He is also
going to be featured on Discovery Channel in a
programme called HRX Superheroes, which
showcases nine people who overcame physical
disability to achieve their dreams.
His ultra-light aircraft, called Saji X Air-S,
has already done several successful flights at a
private flight training academy owned by a
Thiruvananthapuram based retired Wing
Commander, S K J Nair.
Thomas’ passion for planes was kindled
when, as a 15 year old, he saw a small aircraft
spraying pesticides on nearby rubber planta-

His ticket to success
came from strong will


By Vagdevi H.S.

s they say, the real
opportunity for success lies within the person and not the job; as
was proved wonderfully
by Mohan H. M., a simple bus conductor in a
city bus who has
secured a Doctorate degree in History.
Born in a small besmirched village of
Harohalli, Mohan completed his primary
education and moved to Mandya for college
education. Nurturing his mind with great
thoughts and ambitions, he came to Mysuru
to continue his education. However, fate had
a different plan. With the sad demise of his
father, he had to quit studies and start working for Karnataka State Road Transport
Corporation (KSRTC). When he started issuing tickets to hundreds of students commuting by bus every day, the concealed spark
within him kindled again, which prompted
him to work towards his dreams.
He completed his Master’s Degree in
History from KSOU and wrote the entrance
exam for Ph.D. To his surprise, he stood second in the test, which assured him a seat to
continue his research work. During the entire
course, he juggled between work and a familial life while pursuing research paid rich dividends. Finally, all his hard work paid off
and he was awarded the Doctorate degree.
Being a voracious reader, he wants to
publish books in Kannada to help students
from rural areas to get a better scope of education. This, he says, is his humble service to
the society. “As a student, I faced a lot of
trouble not having access to research material in Kannada, which limited my resources,”
he says. Today, not only his family and
friends but also the KSRTC is incredibly
proud of him and his achievements.
Dr Mohan H.M. has proved that the journey of success begins with one step and the
strong determination to succeed. 
The writer is a Project Fellow with
UGC UPE–FA–II, Vijnana Bhavan,
University of Mysore

tions. He mustered enough courage to go and
'talk' to the pilots, one of whom gave the mute
kid their Mumbai address. A few months later,
Thomas left for Mumbai. Impressed by his
enthusiasm, the pilots gave him some aviation
manuals to read up and put him on odd jobs.
Over the years, Thomas has had to undergo
severe hardships to build the aircraft, which
included selling the only five cents of land he
owned. "He could only construct the frame of


born in the USA and am currently living in Canada. The
last time I visited India, I
enjoyed my stay with our
relatives. I adored almost
everything I saw, though
there were a few things I would change.
The ‘India of My Dreams’ would have
minimal amounts of pollution. This
includes zero honking of vehicles which
would mean an increase in patience
among drivers. Another point - I don’t
want littering anywhere. This could mean
bigger garbage bins, better garbage disposal, more responsible citizens- which
isn’t really too much to ask for!
The biggest point in my opinion - I
love animals and I hate to see strays, be
it dogs, cats or anything. I suggest we
have more shelters for them. Also, if you
have a pet, just don’t leave it out if you
decide you cannot handle it.
As a concluding point, I would love to
see cleaner buildings. A little more maintenance would certainly help. All of the
above are points that I think can help create the India of my dreams. 
Medha Velpula, Grade 6,
William G Davis Senior Public
School, Ontario, Canada
going to share with you my
thoughts on books and the
habit of reading. Our beloved
former President of India Dr
A P J Abdul Kalam once
famously said: “One good
book is equal to a hundred good friends
and one good friend is equal to a library.”
Recently I read in the newspapers that
his family members, while launching the
Dr A P J Abdul Kalam International
Foundation in Chennai, said that one of
their mission will be to inspire the youth
to set up a small library in every house. I
was very happy to read the news and
have already taken a small step - gave
birth to a library at my home, which has
around 10 books now.
I dream of an India with a library in
every house. Yes, it is possible.
Books are priceless assets we all
should own, my friends. The knowledge
we get from books will shape us into
responsible citizens of this country. They
help us to unravel the mysteries of this
wonderful universe, acting as a source of
knowledge, thereby empowering us.
As young children, we must take the
guidance of our teachers, parents and
elders while choosing the right kind of
book. Hence, what to read is important
and how to read makes the art of reading
really enjoyable.

an aircraft in his first attempt. The second time,
the aircraft could not fly as a motor bike engine
was used in it," said Mariya, his wife. After
selling the second aircraft's model to an engineering college, Thomas bought an aircraft
engine with the money and completed the
work on Saji X Air-S last year.
Thomas, whose name is mentioned in India
Book of Records as the first differently-abled
person to build an aircraft, has often worked as
a rubber tapper, an electrician and band photographer to earn a living. "It was when we lost
all hope that support came from Nair who
made arrangements for Thomas to test his aircraft and also helped him to fly it at
Manimuthar in Tamil Nadu," Mariya said.
Thomas is now seeking a license from the
Directorate General of Civil Aviation and
plans to build a twin-engine aircraft. He is also
seeking a job as an aeronautics mechanic and
hopes that one of the reputed aeronautical
companies recruits him. 
Courtesy: The Times of India. Reproduced
with the permission of TOI Editor, Kerala

By Stuti Sarkar
ust like others, I also have some
dreams. When I think about it, many
dreams come to my mind. I am trying to
capture some of them for Billion Beats.
Corruption, dishonesty, crime and terror are our biggest enemies. India is
progressing a lot in science and technology, but these bad elements are
making our country weak day by day.
My main dream is to build a nation free
from them.
I have another dream of creating an
India where everyone is equal. There wil
be no division among them based on
cast and creed. My dream is to spread
patriotic feelings amongst all Indians. In
this age, it is lacking.
People call us differently-abled or
children with special needs. We are special, so our needs are different from other
children. When our problems are initially
diagnosed by doctors, our parents face
enormous troubles.


Our childhood starts with different
types of therapies and medications,
both of which very expensive and thus
our parents face financial problems.
They are put through greater difficulties
due to our mood disorders.
We are citizens of our country too.
The government should give some
financial support to the parents of special children. Society can give some
moral support too. I think our condition
has improved a bit
now, but we are still
not in the mainstream.
Please organise
awareness programmes for children with special
needs from
time to

Stuti Sarkar is a differently-abled girl,
dreaming to become a writer one day.

Reading can influence your thoughts.
It can refresh your mind and also adds to
personality development. The more you
read, more is the confidence you build to
take on the challenges of the world.
In today’s world, children are virtually
addicted to modern electronic gadgets.
While technology plays an important role
in shaping our future, we should not forget the powerful role books play in our
lives. Let’s take a pledge to make India a
developed nation by empowering ourselves through books and reading.
Knowledge is power and it stays forever. 
Vaishnav Venugopal, Class III,
Pearl Brightland Discovery School,
Paravoor, Alappuzha, Kerala
night I had a beautiful
dream. In the dream I saw
students pursuing the subjects of their choice. The
job opportunities were
wider. Every nook and corner of our locality was spic and span.
Sports and games had an important role
in every school. Child labour was no
where to be seen. Each child, irrespective of the income group, had the right to
education. Healthy and good food was
available to every child. Each child had
the option of pursuing his/her dream
based on their talent.
People were aware of pollution and
took necessary measures to avoid it.

There was greenery everywhere.
Roads were safe and clean and without ditches and with a proper drainage
system. Law and order was stern and
crimes had considerably decreased in
the society. Our nation had flourished
rapidly in every sector.
Suddenly I woke up. And I wished my
dream changes into reality very soon as I
love my India. 
Hemanth V, Class VI,
BEL Primary School (Kannada
medium), Bangalore, Karnataka
in my dreams is a nation full
of trees. I have always wondered why we cannot plant
trees every day. Why can’t
we gift saplings? Why can’t
we make house visits and
present saplings to our friends and
A lot has been said about the importance of tree plantations. But, are we
doing enough to save Planet Earth?
I have a solution. Schools must give
marks to students who plant maximum
number of saplings every year. Imagine how
green our country will become in few years.
It’s possible and I hope that someone
reads my suggestion and takes action. 
Afrin Maryam A, Class VI, National
Academy School (ICSE)
Pattinamkathan, Ramnathapuram
Tamil Nadu

India of My Dreams section is open to schoolchildren, including those with special needs. Shoot off your thoughts along
with a passport-size photograph, scanned ID proof, school details and phone number to:

billion beats is an e-paper published by Dr A P J Abdul Kalam International Foundation headquartered in Rameswaram. It is edited, designed and
uplinked by a team from Inspired Indian Foundation (, Bangalore. billion beats will hit the web every month
and you are free to use the content by giving due credit to the publication. THE TEAM | Mentor: A P J M Maraikayar | Editorial Advisors
from House of Kalam: Dr Naseema Maraikayar, A P J MJainullabudeen, G K Moinudeen, A P J M J Sheik Saleem, A P J M J Sheik Dawood,
A P J M S Nagoor Roja | Editor: Dr Anantha Krishnan M | National Coordinator: Sindhu A | Desk: Aaron Mathew | Design: Manju |
Email: | Twitter: @HouseOfKalam | FB: | Phone: +91 77080 04744