Many thanks to Pallav for sharing AJP Abdul Kalam’s speech to the European Parliament. Short, sweet and inspiring. From a statesman, a scientist, a poet, and former President of India. He quotes Tamil poet Kaniyan Pugundranar, who wrote these lines three thousand years ago. Reading the news today, these sentiments still seem ahead of their time…
Here is an English translation of the original verse, by George Uglow Pope, 1906.
To us all towns are one, all men our kin,
Life’s good comes not from others’ gifts, nor ill,
Man’s pains and pain’s relief are from within,
Death’s no new thing, nor do our blossoms thrill
When joyous life seems like a luscious draught.
When grieved, we patient suffer; for, we deem
This much-praised life of ours a fragile raft
Borne down the waters of some mountain stream
That o’er huge boulders roaring seeks the plain
Tho’ storms with lightning’s flash from darkened skies.
Descend, the raft goes on as fates ordain.
Thus have we seen in visions of the wise !
We marvel not at the greatness of the great;
Still less despise we men of low estate.