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FLAME University was honoured and humbled to have none other than one of the most esteemed cricket legends, Shri Kapil Dev, address the students on the morning of the 17th of November. Kapil Dev’s name and fame transcend geography as he is known worldwide for his sheer talent as a professional bowler. He fans the passionately burning flames of countless ambitious youth and cricket fanatics who consider him a role model. Despite the fact that his achievements are well known to people all across the world, he deserves a brief introduction for his contributions to our beloved country.

It was under Kapil Dev’s supervision that the Indian cricket team, beating all odds, could win the 1983 World Cup against the formidable West Indies. In 1994, in a test match against Sri Lanka, he became the highest wicket-taker, breaking the world record of Hadlee’s 431 wickets. However, this is not even close to the entirety of his achievements. His eight test centuries attest to his batting credentials. His 175 not out against Zimbabwe in a Group B match in the 1983 World Cup is considered by many, the best ODI innings of all-time.

The room was packed, waiting with sheer anticipation for Shri Kapil Dev. Several students were ready with their notebooks to note down his motivating thoughts. As he entered, the first thing he emphasized was the importance of optimism in life. His message was specifically directed towards the students, as he proclaimed, “You are the future of this nation! Young people have the energy, the passion that is unparalleled.”  He said he loves talking to young adults and at the same time, finds conversing with them really necessary. He emphasized the importance of originality and clarity. “Be original. The key to success is originality.” He implored the young audience to use their limitless potential to lead their personal lives, their nation and the world in the right direction. “One leads, other follows. The spark of leadership is what distinguishes between those who shall give an autograph in the future, and those who shall be on the receiving end.”  He asked the audience to keep their thoughts clear, to declutter the mind, in order to make their speech, their message clear.

His message was simple, yet profound. He opened the door towards answering some questions from the audience like, “How did you convince your parents to allow you to follow your dreams, how did you discover your passion, what difficulties did you face, what was the one mistake that you regret, and how do you regain confidence after failure?” All of these questions opened the door to a beautiful dialogue between him and the audience, as beautiful thoughts worth noting were expressed:

“Agar manzil khoobsoorat hai to raste ki fiqar kyu karte ho?” In other words, if the ultimate destination is beautiful and worth pursuing, then why do you worry about how tumultuous your journey would be? Keep the worthy destination in mind and your journey shall become beautiful on its own. He emphasized the importance of having clarity in thoughts, desires and passions and not to jump on the band wagon or do what everyone else does. He cautioned the students to always take their education seriously irrespective of their passions as it is beneficial throughout one’s life. He cited not taking studies seriously as his only regret. He stated that the time one spends as a student is golden and they must make the most out of it. Finally, when asked how to regain lost confidence, Shri Kapil Dev’s advice was simple, anecdotal and powerful: “When you can’t score, go back to the net and practice. If you don’t get marks, go study! Your scores do not denote your intelligence. People feel stressed and pressured if they do not work hard enough!” He advised the students to let their children follow their own dreams and act as a friend rather than an authoritarian figure.

As his speech ended, all the students rose up, in respect for the cricket legend and gave him a standing ovation. FLAME University as a token of respect and appreciation, gifted him a memento as people continued clapping. His words taught everyone in the room to be more ambitious, to have clarity in thought and action and to never give up.

 By Robin James, First Year Undergraduate Student