My Childhood Class 9 Notes English Chapter 6


This is an autobiography by A.P.J. Abdul Kalam. He was born in a middle-class Tamil family in the island town of Rameshwaram in Madras. His father had neither much formal education nor much wealth. However, Abdul inherited honesty and self-discipline from his father. On the other hand, he inherited faith in goodness from his mother. Abdul had three friends in his childhood—Ramanadha Sastry, Aravindan and Sivaprakasan. All these boys were from orthodox Hindu Brahmin families. In fact, Ramanadha Sastry was the son of Pakshi Lakshmana Sastry, the high priest of the Rameswaram temple. He became a priest after his father. Aravindan went into the business of arranging transport for visiting pilgrims, and Sivaprakasan became a catering contractor for the Southern Railways.

Abdul’s family used to arrange a special platform for carrying the idols of Lord Shiva on the occasion of the annual Shri Sita Rama Kalyanam ceremony. Events from the Ramayana and from the life of the Prophet were the bedtime stories his mother and grandmother would tell the children in their family. When Abdul was in the fifth class, a new teacher came to their school. He did not like Hindu and Muslim students sitting together. He sent Abdul to the back seat. This incident was brought to the knowledge of the priest by his son Ramanadha Sastry. Lakshmana Sastry summoned the teacher, and in the presence of the children, he told the teacher that he should not spread the poison of social inequality and communal intolerance in the minds of innocent children. The teacher accepted his mistake.

On the other hand, science teacher Sivasubramania Iyer, an orthodox Brahmin, invited Abdul to his home for a meal. When his wife refused to serve food in his kitchen to Abdul, he sat with Abdul on the mat and served him food with his own hands. This taught Mrs. Iyer a lesson and she too did not mind when Abdul came for meals at their home next time. When the Second World War was over, Abdul asked his father to permit him to leave Rameswaram. When Abdul’s mother hesitated, he quoted Khalil Gibran to her, “Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of life’s longing for itself. They come through you but not from you. You may give them your love but not your thoughts. For they have their own thoughts.”

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