Former President Dr APJ Abdul Kalam was a grounded man hailing from a small village in Tamil Nadu, yet he had dreams which were not only ambitious but also realistic. His dreams have ignited wings of fire in thousands of youth who continue to remain inspired by Kalam. The search for a true leader who is not defined by his caste, regional or communal colour came to a halt in 2002 when he was chosen for the highest position as prescribed under the Indian Constitution – the President. Also Read - Man Builds Special Robot to Take Care of Disabled Dog in Lucknow
During his tenure, Kalam refused to perform as a rubber stamp and instead participated pro-actively on matters as the President. Unfazed by pressure of any kind, he returned several bills back to the upper house for reconsideration. He is often referred to as not a ‘de jure, but a de facto’ President. In 2002, in the wake of the unfortunate communal riots in Gujarat which claimed lives of thousands, Kalam took the decision to visit the communally sensitive state. His decision was objected by the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. However, Kalam was firm on visiting the affected area and extend condolence to the families affected by the communal carnage. Never before had a President took the decision to visit the people in such pressing times. Also Read - UPSEE Counselling 2020: Revised Schedule For Round 2 Released At upsee.nic.in, Check Details Here
The growing reputation of President’s office under the tenure of Kalam had irked the UPA leaders and they refused to offer him a second term despite popular public demand. (ALSO READ: Dr APJ Abdul Kalam’s last word, “Funny guy, Are you doing well?”) Also Read - Remembering 'India’s Missile Man': Tributes Pour in For Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam on His 5th Death Anniversary
Kalam became a household name for not only being a technocrat-cum-President but also for the simplicity he exhibited. The former President was arguably the most easily accessible one, who spent prolonged hours in the day meeting and discussing issues with common people. Former Chief Justice of India Markandey Katju remembers Kalam as the only President who paid for his relatives’ stay in the Rashtrapati Bhawan. “I was astonished when I went to his native house in Rameshwaram. Far from being ornamented, his house was as simple any of the other huts in the small village,” said Katju.
The former President paid special heed towards students and let no stone unturned to motivate them. Interacting with students was one of the activities which Kalam loved and continued till his final breath. His link with aspiring students was so strong that the former President was cheered more than cricketers and entertainers in the educational premises. Kalam’s book ‘Vision 2020’ was the best-seller for two consecutive years. The book is continued to be purchased in huge numbers by the young segment of the population.
Despite being known as India’s ‘missile man’, Kalam was one of those technocrats who advocated for the humane use of technology. His speeches were focused on the use of renewable resources and sustainable development.
The most intriguing character of Kalam’s personality was the right amount of mix of scientific credentials, unprecedented dedication and spirituality. Although being a renowned scientist, Kalam was not agnostic towards religion. For him religion had two parts – theology and spirituality and he was deeply involved in the latter.
The outpouring of emotion after his sudden demise on July 27 is the best example of how Kalam was loved by one and all and how he inspired a whole generation of youngsters.
If any leader could be recalled in the modern Independent India who was hated by none, it would surely be APJ Abdul Kalam. His religious identity of a Muslim never entered any one’s mind, even the most communal forces. The adulation and mass acceptance he evoked has earned him the well deserving title of ‘People’s President’.