Travel Diary

To: [email protected] From: "naakannan" | Block Address | Add to Address Book Date: Sat, 02 Feb 2002 06:20:23 -0000 Subject: [e-suvadi] Travel Diary 01.02.02 Reply-to: [email protected]
Dear Suvadians: Prof.Krishnamurti of tamil OCR fame called me to find out whether I would be interested in meeting Dr.Abdul Kalam. Dr.Subbaraman of Anna University and Dr.Ponnavaiko of TVU had informed me earlier that Barat Ratna Dr.Abdul Kalam had taken a Chair at Anna University. I planned earlier to meet him and so I didn't miss the chance. We were accompanied by Dr.Lalitha Jayaraman, Director of Libraries, Anna Univ. who has organized this meeting with Dr.Kalam. We entered his office before the crowd of visitors flooded the premise. There was tight security. The guard was not sure whether my digital camera was a device of destruction or a photo apparatus. He had never seen a digital camera before. I operated it for him to show that it was an innocent invention. There was couple of academics waiting to see him before us and so had to wait for 20 minutes. Dr.Abdul Kalam is a very fragile man of pleasant temperament. Deeply interested in Tamil development apart from his deep commitment to Indian security. In Singapore- Minister of Trade and Industry George Yeo while delivering his talk in the conference on 'Tamil in International Arena' said amidst cheers that the Indian bomb was in fact a Tamil bomb !! Hailing from a government secondary school in Rameswaram island Dr.Abdul Kalam has raised himself to national/international level. Three among the four in the room had similar background that is tamil medium studies upto SSLC. Dr.Kalam showed keen interest in digitizing tamil manuscripts, an interest shared by all of us. He asked several basic questions on the topic. He, like many of us wanted the tamils to be networked for commercial success. He asked us by quoting a Japanese example whether Google could search the web when a tamil key word was given and bring in results in a translated form of Tamil. It seems that Japanese search engine does that. He wants to have the entire database on tamil related materials in the web searchable and linked. He congratulated our efforts at THF and offered his help. He asked me to meet a close friend of him, Dr.N.Balakrishnan, Director, Division of Information Sciences and Services at IISc, Bangalore for further help. Infact, I wanted to impress him by scanning a rare manuscript in tamil on missiles and rockets by the legendary Bogur of Palani. As expected the Curator of OML refused to give me that particular suvadi giving some excuses! Knowledge in Tamilnadu is still guarded and possed! I will give a try once again tomorrow (patience! ..more patience...) We spent nearly 45 minutes with him. Dr.Kalam showed us a memento that he received where the following kuraL was inscribed: . Nobody other than him is a classical example of that kuraL. I asked him whether he would join THF Indian team. He showed his inability to do so because of his commitment of meeting a million students in the next 3 years. A huge task he has undertaken to inspire the young Indians for self pride and self development (=national development). He offers his entire monthly salary to help poor students to come up in life. Dr.Abdul Kalam with his gentle nature and fragile body could do so much for the Indian nation because his spirit is high and strong. anbudan Kannan