Mumbai: Former President of India – Dr APJ Abdul Kalam – breathed his last in Shillong Monday evening while delivering a lecture to the Indian Institute of Management students.
Dr Kalam, who hailed from a humble background, went on to become India’s eleventh President.
The humility and compassion that he showered on all irrespective of caste, colour or creed, made him ‘people’s president’. He wasn’t just a scientist but a visionary too, who wanted to see India as a “developed nation”. He inspired the young and the old--people from across various walks of life.
His simple lifestyle and modest approach while interacting with people made him an inspirational personality.
Once when Dr Kalam visited his favourite vegetarian hotel Annalakshmi in Chennai at around 10 pm, he waited for over 30 minutes for one of his scientist friends from ISRO and mingled freely with the people there. One of the girls went up to Kalam for his autograph. He relished his food with delicious sambar, rasam and bonda, before leaving the hotel at around 11.45 pm, they said. The management did not forget to serve his favourite dish — Vatha Kuzhambu and papad, reported PTI.
A report suggests that once during an event, the former president refused to sit on a chair designated for him as it was bigger than the rest of the 4 chairs on stage meant for other officials. The organisers soon made another chair available for Dr Kalam. This proves that the former president did not like being a recipient of preferential treatment.
Dr Kalam did the unthinkable by inviting a cobbler and a small hotel owner as ‘Presidential Guests’ to the Raj Bhavan of Kerala. Then as a President, he showed that no occupation was small and that every common man was special.
His contributions, his vision for a stronger India and his attitude towards life, are indeed inspiring. Every phase of his life is an inspiration. Here’s saluting one of India’s greatest sons- Dr APJ Abdul Kalam.