Zee Media Exclusive – Dr Abdul Kalam wanted to be remembered as a teacher, says his close aide

Dr APJ Abdul Kalam's advisor Srijan Pal Singh, in an exclusive interview to Zee Media on Sunday recounted the last moments which he had spent with the 'Missile Man of India', saying the former president always believed – A peaceful death is one when a person dies working with his shoes on.

Zee Media Exclusive – Dr Abdul Kalam wanted to be remembered as a teacher, says his close aide
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New Delhi: Dr APJ Abdul Kalam's advisor Srijan Pal Singh, in an exclusive interview to Zee Media on Sunday recounted the last moments which he had spent with the 'Missile Man of India', saying the former president always believed – A peaceful death is one when a person dies working with his shoes on.

He also revealed the issues which disturbed Kalam the most. “Dr Kalam was really upset over the recent Punjab terror attacks and said that the loss of innocent lives left him filled with sorrow. The topic of lecture at Indian Institute of Management (IIM) - Shillong was Creating a Livable Planet Earth. He related the incident to the topic and said 'it seems the man made forces are as big a threat to the livability of earth as pollution. You guys must do something about it… it is going to be your future world',” Singh said.

Talking about the second concern of Kalam, Singh added that he was very much concerned about the ongoing Parliament deadlock.

Quoting Kalam's words, Singh said: “I have seen two different governments in my tenure. I have seen more after that. This disruption just keeps happening. It is not right. I really need to find out a way to ensure that the parliament works on developmental politics.” He (Dr Kalam) then asked me to prepare a surprise an assignment questionnaire for the students at IIM Shillong, which he thought he would give them at the end of the lecture.”

While speaking to Zee News reporter Vivek Tiwari, Srijan Pal Singh further added that Dr Kalam suggested some important points on ways to tackle Parliament deadlocks:

“Firstly Dr Kalam said that an ombudsman should be appointed for the Parliament, whose task should be to solve such issues outside the Parliament. Secondly, the time period needed by the ombudsman should be added to the days allotted to a particular 'Parliament Session',” Singh added.

Srijan Pal Singh further quoted Kalam as saying, “Parliament should not run according to the time allotted but as per the output.”

Further describing about the beauty of Dr Kalam's humility, during 2.5 hours of car drive to IIM-Shillong, Srijan Pal Singh shared an anecdote, “Dr Kalam and I were sitting in a car and ahead of us was an open gypsy with three guards. Two of them were sitting on either side and one lean guy was standing atop holding his gun. One hour into the road journey, Dr Kalam said 'Why is he standing? He will get tired. It's like punishment'. He then asked me to convince the guard to sit. However, the guard did not relent. Later, Dr Kalam met the guard after arriving at IIM Shillong and thanked him for his service. He also asked him if he would like to have something and said 'I am sorry you had to keep standing for me',” Sing revealed.

Singh also disclosed that Dr Kalam wanted that people should remember him as a teacher and not as President, Missile Man, nuclear scientist or space scientist.

Srijan Pal Singh reiterated that Dr Kalam was so passionate about his work that he wanted to die working.

The 'funny guy' of Dr Kalam's life - Srijan Pal Singh – added that God fulfilled his last wish.

Before delivering his lecture he asked me “Funny guy! Are you doing well?” and those were the last words he said to me. Two minutes into the speech and I heard a long pause. Moments later he fell down. In five minutes we were in the nearby hospital. The 'Missile Man' had flown away, forever. I touched his feet one last time,” recalled Srijan Pal Singh.

Dr Kalam died on July 27 following a cardiac arrest at the age of 83. He was in Shillong to deliver a lecture at the prestigious Indian Institute of Management (IIM) and collapsed on stage just a few minutes into his speech.

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