One needs to admire A.P.J. Abdul Kalam for his phenomenal rise — from a rural town to the pinnacle. He retained a childlike curiosity till his end. His last interaction, while with students, is a fine example of his attachment towards our youth. Kalam had said, “Don’t declare holiday on my death; instead work an extra day if you really love me.” There are too many political holidays on birth and death anniversaries of leaders. Great leaders like Kalam, who are no more with us, always desired that their countrymen work hard rather than remember them through political holidays on their birth and death anniversaries.
He has bequeathed a “mixed legacy”. His eventful life has a lot to commend it. Full marks for him for doing all that he could to “ignite” young minds and unleash the latent energy in them. Kalam excelled at motivating students “to aim high and work hard” to realize their full potential. His love for children is what made him dedicate his book, Ignited Minds, to a child who once impressed him with her answer to his query, “Who is our enemy?” The answer: “Poverty.” The nation has lost a great visionary and an outstanding technocrat.
Kalam was a saint and a living legend. He was a Muslim but he held equal respect for Quran and the Bhagavad Gita. He played the rudra veena in his spare time.
“India’s Missile Man” and “the People’s President” brought a life and dignity to everything he did and every position he held. As he wished so he lived — a teacher throughout his life till his last breath. He not only had a vision for a developed India but had a blueprint of how to achieve this within a time frame. His passing is a great loss to the country on the threshold of leaping into the future with great hopes. Lastly, I would like to recall Einstein’s words about Mahatma Gandhi: “Generations to come will scarce believe that such a man ever walked upon this Earth.” A person like Dr. Kalam is born once in centuries. A real star on earth has now become a guiding star in the skies. Let us hope that our tribute to the great man will carry forward his mission for a strong and prosperous India.
Vinod C. Dixit
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)