Rameswaram, Nov 14: Billion Beats, an inspiring digital initiative of former President Dr A P J Abdul Kalam, aimed at capturing success stories of Indians across the globe, was given a fresh impetus by his family members today.
At a simple function organised by Dr A P J Abdul Kalam International Foundation, at House of Kalam here, the new-look version of the e-paper was officially released on the occasion of Children's Day.
Eleven-year-old Anushiya, a sixth standard student of St Joseph Higher Secondary School in Verkottu, near Rameswaram, handed over the first copy to A P J M Maraikayar, 99-year-old elder brother of Dr Kalam.
Hundreds of students from schools in an around Rameswaram thronged House of Kalam despite heavy rains and floods. Students from No I Primary School, Rameswaram, where Dr Kalam studied initially, were also present on the occasion.
Anushiya's mother Vazhivittal accompanied her while members of House of Kalam, including Dr Naseema Maraikayar and A P J M Jainullabudeen were present on the occasion.
Anushiya had recently lost her father Vilvaraj, a fisherman, after his mechanised boat was involved in a mishap (involving the Sri Lankan Navy) in the high seas. The Kalam Foundation has pledged to support Anushiya's education.
Kalam Foundation did a survey of schools in Rameswaram and finally narrowed down on Anushiya to be selected as the chief guest for the event.
It's a dream come true for me, says Anushiya
Speaking to OneIndia, soon after the launch, Anushiya said that she was dreamt of emulating the path of Dr Kalam.
"It is definitely a dream come true for me. I always wanted to become like Dr Kalam. I have heard so many inspiring stories about Kalam Sir. When my mother told me that I have been selected to release the paper, I couldn't believe. I miss my father, who always wanted me to become like Kalam Sir. It's a dream come true for me to be here today," Anushiya told OneIndia.
Dr Naseema, Founder Chairperson of Kalam Foundation, said that Billion Beats is an ideal gift to all those who believed in creating a positive India.
"Our idea is to concentrate on one activity at a time. We want to initiate result-oriented actions in tune with the philosophy of Dr Kalam. He had launched Billion Beats on Children's Day in 2007 from Karimnagar, with the support of a journalist friend of his. The idea was to capture inspiring stories of Indians across the globe and we are continuing with the mission," Dr Naseema said.
She said a few days before his demise Dr Kalam had expressed his desire to relaunch Billion Betas, which had to be earlier discontinued due to administrative reasons.
"He wanted the same team to handle it from Bangalore and Kalam Foundation has entered into an arrangement with Inspired Indian Foundation (IIF) to bring out this monthly e-paper," said Dr Naseema, niece of Dr Kalam.
A P J M Maraikayar will play the role of a Mentor for the paper, who takes great interest in world affairs even at the age of 99 years.
The trustees of Kalam Foundation form the Editorial Advisors for Billion Betas. They include: Dr Naseema Maraikayar, A P J M Jainullabudeen, G K Moinudeen, A P J M J Sheik Saleem, A P J M J Sheik Dawood and A P J M S Nagoor Roja.
The IIF, a movement for unsung heroes in Bangalore, will handle the editorial operations of Billion Beats.
Host of inspiring individuals on inaugural issue
Spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravishankar, international badminton player Saina Nehwal and Scientific Advisor to Defence Minister Dr Satheesh Reddy are among those who have given their messages in the relaunch issue of Billion Beats.
Wg Cdr Rakesh Sharma (Retd), India's first and only man to have gone to space has written a piece titled - ‘India by 2020: Every youth must insure own future.'
"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 efficient.
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," writes Rakesh Sharma.
Separate section for students, special children
‘India of dreams,' a separate section dedicated to schoolchildren has contributions even from abroad. Billion Beats also has a dedicated section for special children.
Medha Velpula, a Grade 6 student from Canada, Vaishnav Venugopal, a Class III student from Kerala, Hemanth V, a Class VI student from Karnataka and Afrin Maryam A and a Class VI student from Tamil Nadu have shared their thoughts on India in Billion Betas.
"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 time," writes Stuti Sarkar, a girl with special needs.
According to a member of IIF, Billion Beats will be published online on the 15th of every month.
"We have already formed support teams consisting of young scientists from Missile Complex in Hyderabad, Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Bangalore and a group of research scholars from University of Mysore.
Anyone can write, provided the articles are inspiring, authentic and one celebrating the success of Indians," says Sindhu A, IIF's national coordinator.