As we talk of rising economic prosperity and a strong and confident India, this book forcefully
reminds us of the values that make for a truly sustainable society at the heart of which is the family.
For it is not economic growth or military strength alone that will make India strong. Sustainable
success comes from values, and these can sustain a society, and a nation, even in times of hardship.
The book expresses an ideal by which Indian society may prosper, and speaks of how spirituality
can help create a noble nation and a better world. It provides a valuable counterpoint to the
modern-day emphasis on consumerism and the philosophy of more is better, highlighting the sanctity
of the natural world and its great power to evoke human creativity and love.
Writing on this crucial subject are two iconic Indians. Together Acharya Mahapragya and A.P.J.
Abdul Kalam, one a Jain muni revered as a saint, the other a visionary, a distinguished scientist and a
former President, bring their vast experience to bear on this important subject. As the authors put it,
it's only a strong and happy family that will lead to a noble nation, one that can be a true fulifilment of
5,000 years of India's civilization. The book takes up the difficult and pressing task of setting a new
agenda in a time of radical social change. It shows us the path we need to follow to take India to its
rightful place as a great nation.
THE FAMILY AND THE NATION
A.P.J. Abdul Kalam
The Family and the Nation
Birth of the Book
Part 1: The Evolution
The Dynamics of Indian Culture
The Evolutionary Process and Pain
The Idea of Unity
Part 2: The Individual, the Family and the Nation
Creating Healthy Individuals
The Birth of a Beautiful Home
Birth of a Noble Nation
About the Authors
In writing this book, our ideas have been shaped by our interaction during the past few decades
with millions of our countrymen hailing from different walks of life. Each interaction enhanced our
experience and added to our understanding of the development of a noble family, a noble society
and a noble nation. While embarking on this journey of writing a book, we realized the magnitude of
connectivities involved and the extent of our society's evolution during the last few centuries. We
realized too the extent to which it had been influenced by the people who had come to our country
for various purposes. We particularly thank Dr Y.S. Rajan and all those people who have facilitated
our understanding of our society and its unique characteristics.
Acharya Mahapragyaji would like to place on record his thanks to a number of devotees and
followers who have contributed towards crystallizing his thoughts in this book. He particularly thanks
Niyojikaji Sadhvi Vishrut Vibha, Prof. Muni Mahendra Kumar, Dr Sohanlal Gandhi and Prof. Arun
K. Tiwari for their continuous involvement in the book and for enriching its content.
A.P.J. Abdul Kalam would like to thank the thousands of world citizens with whom he is
virtually connected all the time and who provided him the inspiration for working towards the
development of a value-based, prosperous, happy, peaceful and safe society keeping family as the
foundation. He profoundly thanks Maj. Gen. R. Swaminathan for going through all the chapters and
providing useful inputs for enriching the content. The book would not have taken this shape without
the untiring and dedicated efforts of Shri R.K. Prasad and Shri Dhan Shyam Sharma in the
preparation of the manuscript and its subsequent editing.
We also thank Shri Krishan Chopra, Shri Amit Agarwal and their team at HarperCollins for their
Acharya Mahapragya is a fount of knowledge who purifies every soul that comes into contact
with him. My first experience with him was at the Adhyatma Sadhna Kendra, Mehrauli, in October
1999. It was around midnight, and Acharyaji had prayed three times with his distinguished Jain
monks for the welfare of the nation and the people. After the prayers, he turned to me and said
words that still reverberate in my mind. He said, 'Kalam, God bless you for what you have done with
your team. But the Almighty has a bigger mission for you and that is why you are here with me today.
I know our country is a nuclear nation now. But your mission is greater than what you and your team
have done; it is indeed greater than what any human being has ever done. Nuclear weapons are
proliferating in tens and thousands in the world. I command you and you only with all the divine
blessings at my disposal to evolve a system of peace wherein these very nuclear weapons will be
ineffective, insignificant and politically inconsequential.'
When Acharyaji finished his message, a hush fell over the hall. It appeared to me as though the
confluence of heavens concurred with the saintly message. For the first time in my life I felt shaken.
Since then, Acharyaji's message has become my guiding light, and making it a reality a challenge that
has given a new meaning to my life.
After that meeting, I met Acharya Mahapragya a number of times, and all my meetings with him
gave me the distinct feeling that our conversations must have a higher purpose and that it must make
itself manifest in some way. However, at that time, I did not know how that would happen. On 2
August 2005, I met Acharya Mahapragya again on the occasion of the conferment of the National
Communal Harmony Award on him. We were seated together, and Acharayaji said, 'Kalam, the
time has come to translate our thoughts into action—developing a peaceful, happy and prosperous
society through the development of the family and the nation. And this we will do in the form of a
book.' We thought over the question of how a noble nation could be formed and came to the
conclusion that its seeds need to be sown in the family. Only an individual who has been brought up
in a family that instils the right values will be able to realize his or her responsibility towards the
nation. Such a citizen will adopt the principle 'work with integrity and succeed with integrity'. This
premise is the bedrock of the book, which is why we have named it The Family and the
A beautiful and yet distinct
Reddish light engulfed the galaxy,
The Milky Way, our galaxy.
All the stars were surprised with the alarm,
Wherefrom this lovely powerful light,
Who emanates, who emanates,
That was the cry of the galaxy.
I will answer, my friends:
'Oh my galaxy friends, I am the Sun,
I have eight planets in orbit,
birth of the book
One of them is Earth,
Carries six billion human lives.
They live in hundreds of nations.
One of the nations with great civilization,
India 2020, celebrates the birth of the noble nation.
Light of celebration from India reaching our galaxy,
Nation with clean environment without pollution,
Having prosperity without poverty,
Peace without fear of war,
The happiest place to live.'
—A.P.J. Abdul Kalam
Acharya Mahapragya is one of the most celebrated Jain thinkers of the world and is the tenth
Acharya of the Jain Shwetambar Terapanth sect. Born in 1920 in a village in Rajasthan, he became a
monk at the age of ten. He got his education under the guidance of Acharya Shree Tulsi, who
launched the Anuvrat Movement in 1949 to rid the world of violence and hatred and free religion
from sectarianism. A multidimensional personality and a renowned scholar of Indian and Western
philosophy and religion, Acharya Mahapragya is a prolific writer and has been called a 'modern
Vivekananda'. He has traversed more than 100,000 km on foot and visited 10,000 villages to
spread the message of non-violence. To this purpose he embarked on a Ahimsa Yatra in 2001. He
was honoured with the Communal Harmony Award in 2004 for his contribution in this field.
Abdul Kalam was the President of India from 2002 to 2007, and is the recipient of the nation's
highest civilian award, the Bharat Ratna. Born in 1931 in Rameshwaram in Tamil Nadu, Dr Kalam
studied aeronautical engineering at the Madras Institute of Technology He played a key role in the
development of India's first satellite launch vehicle, the SLV-3, and in the building and
operationalization of India's strategic missile systems. As an elder statesman, he remains in the public
eye for his role in offering counsel, reaching out to people and building bridges across religious and
social divides. Dr Kalam's focus stays on transforming India into a developed nation by 2020 and to
this end he has met and enthused three million youth.