India will not see the likes of him for a long, long time.
Abdul Kalam, the dispenser of
dreams of exploiting India’s vast
potential, and reviving its past
glory, dies the way he would have
loved: Among students, and the
young, whom he set aglow with his
passion, enthusiasm and energy.
The picture of nobility and
humility, a harmonious blend of
grace and greatness, standing out
for his simplicity and frugality in
the environs of Rashtrapati
Bhavan, which still prides itself on
its out-of-place ornamental facade
and colonial opulence, he was also
a quintessential, and, indeed, a
unique, human being, exuding
instant warmth and establishing
immediate rapport in whatever
company he found himself to be.
I will be justified in calling him a
resplendent role model, but I
He has gone after living a full life,
and one full of honors. Nihil quod
tetigit, non ornavit (Whatever he
touched, he adorned).
Let us celebrate the fact of his
having lived amongst us, and our
having lived in his time.
Our salutations to you, Abdul
Kalam! Long may your memory
A gnawing, nagging question: At
the age of 84 years, he is made to
drive in a car 110 kilometers (68
miles) on a tortuously winding hill
road from 2.30 pm when he
arrived at the Guwahati airport and
5.45 pm when he reached the IIM
Couldn’t he, an ex-President, a
People’s President, ex-Supreme
Commander of the Armed Forces,
have been taken in a helicopter? — B S raghavan is a distinguished civil servant
In mid 2003, I wrote a paper ‘ The Economic Strangulation of Bihar,’ which was first published in the
Economic and Political Weekly and
then expanded into a booklet. I sent
a copy to former Prime Minister
Chandrashekhar, who was the one
who introduced me to Bihar and
with whom I traveled extensively in
that state. Chandrashekharji sent it
to President A P J Abdul Kalam.
Within a few days I received a call
from the Rashtrapati Bhavan saying
the President wants to meet me. I
was a few minutes late, but the
President was waiting in the company of Chandrashekharji. The
President wanted me to elaborate on
what I had written.
I told him that I had a PowerPoint
presentation and would like to run
the slides past him before a discussion. I get very eloquent and emotional when I speak about Bihar.
I think the PPT was adequate and
the points made with telling effect.
There was a brief moment of silence.
Then President Kalam asked me
softly: “How can India can go forward leaving Bihar behind?”
He kept repeating this phrase for
many months from various public
But the politicians were not interested and little has been done since
then. — Mohan Guruswamy
Kalam really gave this country something to cheer about with is unusual style, substance
and mannerisms. I remember when
he was chosen to be the candidate
for President — Pramod Mahajan
went to his flat in Asiad Village in
Delhi to officially inform him.
And one of the first things was to
ask him to get his measurements
done for his bandhgala and the
other formal suits he would have to
Kalam, who was always seen in his
blue full sleeve shirt and pants, was
very reluctant. “This is fine with me,
I don’t wear suits and bandhgalas”
was his refrain. Mahajan had a
tough time convincing him.
However Pramod was not success-
ful in convincing him to have his
hair cut to “decent size”. The Man
would not compromise on his hair-
The man true to his indefatigable
energy died in harness. Something
he must have wished for himself.
RIP Kalam Saab! — Girish nikam
The People of India pay tribute to the People’s President.