The stalwarts who passed away in 2015
Dr APJ Abdul Kalam
A highly-revered ray of light — Dr APJ Abdul Kalam—who enlightened India time and again through his majestic wisdom and modest living, left us on July 27, 2015 to sail to heaven.
He died of cardiac arrest.
An epitome of unsullied secularism, this 11th Indian president held the highest regard for being a wizard of science, profound writer, exemplary teacher, eloquent orator and a man who never measured success by material possessions.
After developing the Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) and SLV-III projects for India, Kalam’s outstanding contribution to the ballistic missile and launch of vehicle technology earned him the title of “Missile Man of India”.
His abode remains embellished with recognitions and awards. One being the top Indian civil honour — Bharat Ratna.
In Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s words: “BHARAT has lost a Ratna, but the light from this jewel will guide us towards APJ Abdul Kalam's dream-destination: India as a knowledge superpower, in the first rank of nations.”
RK Laxman, who knew the art of churning out side-splitting sarcasm from the otherwise mundane mores of politics, left the worldly claims on January 26, 2015.
He was 94 when he died of multiple organ failure.
Son of a school teacher, Rasipuram Krishnaswamy Laxman had risen to become India's best known political cartoonist.
His brainchild cartoon ‘Common Man’ with his signature checked jacket, dhoti, round glasses and partially-bald head continuously highlighted the issues of Aam Aadmi for decades.
In Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s words: “India will miss you RK Laxman. We are grateful to you for adding the much needed humour in our lives & always bringing smiles on our faces.”
Ashok Singhal, a man who is popularly attributed for architecting the Ram Mandir movement across the nation, breathed his last on November 17, 2017.
He died due to ill health.
The 89-year-old, Vishwa Hindu Parishad’s firebrand leader, became RSS pracharak in 40s when he was studying B Tech at Banaras Hindu University (BHU).
Coming from an affluent family that possesses a bungalow right behind Nehru’s Anand Bhawan, Singhal spearheaded VHP in the Ayodhya Ram temple movement.
His aggressive campaign of the anti-Babri movement, brought up BJP’s Lok Sabha tally from two to 89 in 1989 General Elections.
In Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s words: “It was a personal loss. He was an institution in himself, whose life was centered around serving the nation.”
Better half of President Pranab Mukherjee and founder of the Geetanjali Troupe to propagate Rabindranath Tagore’s philosophy died on August 18, 2015.
She died of cardiac arrest.
For years she performed in the poetic dance-dramas in different parts of India and across Europe, Asia and Africa.
She was also a talented painter who had many group and solo exhibitions to her credit.
Her two books — Chokher Aloey and Chena Achenai Chin. Chokher Aloey is a personal account of her close interaction with Indira Gandhi and Chena Achenai Chin is a travelogue recounting her visit to China — make an interesting read.
Known for his daring-style of journalism, veteran journalist and author of multiple books Vinod Mehta passed away on March 23, 2015.
He was 73 when he died of multiple organ failure.
The founder-Editor of 'Outlook' magazine, Mehta had authored the biography of Meena Kumari and Sanjay Gandhi.
He also edited Debonair, a men’s magazine and was criticized and loved for his controversial yet sharp-witted writings.
Another noted journalist Coomi Kapoor in her column wrote: “As an editor Vinod Mehta never pulled rank, giving correspondents a free hand if he felt they had a valid story to tell, no matter the consequences.”
‘Frank and direct in his opinions’ said PM Modi.
The winner of the 2004 Noble Prize in Chemistry, Irwin Rose, left the world in his sleep on June 02, 2015.
The American biochemist, Rose’s research helped scientists better understand molecular activities in cancer and other diseases.
He was conferred with Nobel for his ground breaking work on enzymes that break down and dispose off unwanted proteins in plants and animals.
Years of pain and sufferings of former King Edward Memorial (KEM) Hospital nurse Aruna Shanbaug finally came to a peaceful end after she was ‘officially’ declared defunct on May 18, 2015.
Aruna, whose story has moved even the toughest heart into tears, was in vegetative state for more than four decades (42 years).
The 66-year-old was suffering from Pneumonia and was put on ventilator a week before her death.
Shanbaug was dragged with a dog chain around her neck at the KEM hospital in 1973 and brutally raped. Due to the rupturing of her neck nerve, she went into coma
Her prolonged ordeal ignited the debate over mercy killing (euthanasia) in the country.
Sister Nirmala Joshi
Mother Teresa's successor and superior general of the Missionaries of Charity, Sister Nirmala Joshi was bidden a tearful adieu by thousands of people, as she was laid to rest in June 2015.
She died of renal failure and heart complications.
Born to a Brahmin soldier, Sister Nirmala dedicatedly worked with Mother Teresa to serve the poor and the needy.
She was conferred with India's second highest civilian order Padma Vibhushan in 2009 for her services to the nation.
King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz
Claimed to have guided Saudi Arabia through turbulent times, King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz breathed his last on January 23, 2015.
Abdullah had ruled Saudi Arabia as king since 2006.
His visit to India as chief guest in 2006 Republic Day parade strengthened the ties between the two countries.
He played a guiding role in Saudi Arabia's support for Egypt's government after the military intervened in 2012, and drove his country's support for Syria's rebellion against President Bashar al-Assad.