School dropout ?ignite the minds? to innovate

Solar Car 0412Drives his solar car from Bengaluru to New Delhi by the opening of India International Science Festival

N.B. Nair

New Delhi, Dec 4: From a school dropout to an innovator, Syed Sajjad Ahmed from Bangalore travelled a long way literally to etch his name on the science and technology canvas of India.

On Friday (December 04), he drove down to the campus of Delhi-IIT ? venue of the five day India International Science Festival, for a momentous opportunity on his solar-powered test car, covering a distance of 3,000 kilometres. It was nothing but the fire ignited by former President Dr. Abdul Kalam that made this fruit-vendor-turned-electronic-repair mechanic turned solar car designer to create the epoch-making car and travel all the way to coincide with the opening of India?s first International Science Festival in the national capital.� The drive took him and his navigator-cousin thirty days to cruse the distance.�

?There were times when we thought we would not be able to take the steep climbs on the Ghat roads. But, my baby stood by me and crossed all the hurdles without much trouble,? said an elated Ahmed as he explained the features of the car.

Ahmed?s modified car is equipped with a set of five solar panels, each with a capacity of 100 watts. The power generated by the panels propels the machine through a bank of six batteries, each with a capacity of 12 volts and 100 amps.

Born in Kolar, 70 km from Bangalore, Ahmed began his life as a fruit vendor and then went on to set up a shop for repair and assembly of electronic goods starting off with transistors, tape recorders and television sets and antennae and moving on to computers before taking the giant leap forward to realise his childhood dream of ?doing something for society?.

?While in school, I used to look at the pictures of scientists in the textbooks and wanted to become one myself. I had to leave school at the age of 15 to start earning for the family. But the fire to create something that would be of use to humanity kept burning within me.?

The break came in 2002. ?I told myself that I am 50 now and I must do something before I become too old and infirm?.

Ahmed began by modifying a two-wheeler to run on electric power and moved on to a three wheeler and then a four wheeler. He received the Karnataka Government?s award for environment protection, instituted in honour of the late Dr Kalam, in 2006 for his innovation.

He has taken his innovations to exhibitions and fairs in different parts of the country. ?I have so far travelled 1.1 lakh kilometres across the country, and I will keep travelling as long as I can to promote the spirit of innovation.?

He is accompanied by a cousin who travels in a regular car alongside.

?It is a journey for change to inspire, ignite, innovate, and educate the public, especially students, about Dr Kalam?s Vision 2020 for uplifting the country,? said Ahmed about his mission.

His trip to Delhi started from Raj Bhavan in Bangalore on November 1. He is now planning a visit to Haridwar before returning home at the end of the Science Fair. ?I want to take the blessings of the Ganga river before returning,? Ahmed said. �

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