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Remembering Kalam: The People’s President, The Missile Man


There are times when words fail you, when emotions overwhelm you to the point that you fall silent, when the sense of loss is so great that the mind goes numb and you find it difficult to reconcile to the thought that yes it is only the memories that would now stay with you. Former President APJ Abdul Kalam’s demise yesterday is one such momentous loss.

The social media, be it twitter, facebook, what’s app, what have you, is flooded with golden tribute to him. People say that the country has lost a brilliant scientist, a great writer, a stupendous human being. True! True!True! But above all our greatest loss is the loss of an inspiration, the dream of dreaming big. His life was the ultimate Indian dream, a poor man’s son rising the ranks purely on merit and donning the most important and powerful seat in the country. The greatness is more in how he achieved rather than what he achieved. In his own words, “you have to dream before dream comes true.”

Dreamer he indeed was but there was a lot more mettle to the man who helped make India’s missile dreams and nuclear abilities a reality. Perhaps no one was more an Indian than him. A muslim by birth, he was a master Veena player, he was equally well versed with Holy Quran as the Bhagvad Gita, he could write scientific papers and notes on religion with equal aplomb, he connected with children as enthusiastically as he charmed the youth, he was revered by old and young alike, in short the People’s President who was also India’s missile man.

Not the type to give undue attention to his age, he was the youngest octogenarian India has known for a very long time. In his death too he inspired his admirers. He suffered a massive cardiac arrest while addressing his favourite set of people, the students and on a topic he loved to talk about. Perhaps he was the Eagle that he once alluded about, “All Birds find shelter during a rain. But Eagle avoids rain by flying above the Clouds.”

As the Tricolour flies in half mast paying the ultimate tribute to one of India’s most deserving sons, as the country dons the sombre note of a 7-day state mourning, as many millions, dignitaries and common people alike, continue to flood social network with generous tributes, we can only hope that his legacy stays on, his dreams get bigger. Perhaps that is why it is almost fitting that I end this tiny tribute to one of the greatest idols of my life with the words of not a luminary, but one amongst us who continues to be inspired by him like you and me.

“The Indian Elvis just left the building . Kalam Sir you Rock!”- Sourov Roy on Facebook.

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