January 20th, 2016
Abdul Ghani, a social activist who has planted close to 40 lakh trees by himself and many more lakh’s as part of the Green Kalam initiative and he is the founder of IYONS (youth NGO summit). Mr Ghani has been part of almost any disaster relief operations be it Nepal Quake or the Uttarkhand floods. Mr Ghani spoke exclusively to The Logical Indian on his childhood, his entry into activism, association with Kalam, patriotism, the role of youth, secularism among many others.
■ On becoming an environment activist
Even before I was a bank employee, I was a average student at school, however I slowly nurtured thoughts on doing good for the environment and the society as a whole. As to what triggered me into activism, I had set right a garbage situation which has lasted for long outside my office which was a cause of trouble for all. I learnt if one can step up, any problem could be solved.
■ On his association with Dr Kalam
Dr Abdul Kalam had inspired millions and I am one among them, I had worked very closely with him on planting trees. Have planted close to 40 lakh trees by myself and many more lakh trees as part of the Green Kalam initiative, some call me the Green Man of India. His death took away a part of me, but he had the sown the seeds in me to make the world I live in a better place. I was very closely associated with Mr Kalam’s family and my most satisfying experience of my life would be in begin part of final rites of Dr Kalam.
■ On India, secularism and communal harmony
Thanks to my friends during young days, I visited temple on Thursdays and church on the Fridays. The way we loved and respected each other’s customs and rituals, literally, it was the diversity which united us. To my pleasure I have been invited and been part of many rituals in temples. All the religious places be it temple, mosque or church is about positive energy, the places are filled with abundance of positive energy which can be accessed and tapped by anyone. Energy can’t be differentiated, it is the same everywhere.
■ On his message to the youngsters
I was a average student who had passed out of a normal school, however until today I have given my speeches to many of the IIT’s and IIM’s. Had been invited to speak at various including The National Bar Council among others. My message is not about where you start but about how you shape the journey, the persistence in pursuing your passion. It is quite troubling to see many leaving India to go and settle abroad, my sincere request is go abroad for studying and for working for a while, but then come back to India.
■ On Patriotism
I grew up as a very patriotic person, my respect for the army and the work they do can’t be quantified. Patriotism could be a single panacea for many of the problems we face in India. If we are patriotic, it will be impossible to think of harming a fellow citizen. Very grateful that people have always looked up to me for my patriotism.
■ On Youth
They are the future and they are the hope for a future. The youth of our country are special, they are passionate about what they do, they don’t wear their religion on their sleeves and that is why they are our best chance or perhaps our only chance for peace and prosperity.