Dr APJ Abdul Kalam passed away doing what he was loved the most — speaking to young persons. He would not just lecture them. He would interact with them. On occasions, he would make them repeat his words. He encouraged youth to dream success and work hard to achieve it. He dreamt for a developed India. His vision and ideas would continue to inspire generations to come.
Dr. Kalam came from a humble background. He studied against all odds to become a well-known scientist and the President of India who was described as the people’s President. He touched millions with his books, speeches and ideas. But more than anything, he touched everyone with his humility.
Messages of condolence and grief are pouring from all over. I am writing because I too feel a sense of loss.
As a scientist, Dr. Kalaam contributed immensely to the success of nuclear tests but he also used his knowledge for the benefit of people.
Excerpts from one of his speeches:
‘One day an orthopedic surgeon visited my laboratory. He lifted the material (carbon-carbon material developed for Agni) and found it so light that he took me to his hospital and showed me his patients.
There were these little girls and boys with heavy metallic calipers weighing over three kilogram each, dragging their feet around. He said to me: Please remove the pain of my patients.
In three weeks, we made the floor reaction Orthosis 300 orthopedic center. The children didn’t believe their eyes. From dragging around a three kilogram load on their legs, they could now move around! Their parents had tears in their eyes.’
I loved watching his videos. One of my favourites is his speech at the European Parliament during the 50th anniversary of the formation of the European Union.
“Where there is righteousness in the heart. There is beauty in the character. When there is beauty in the character, there is harmony in the home. When there is harmony in the home, there is order in the nation. When there is order in the nation, there is peace in the world. ”
I hope his message would resonate with all world leaders and citizens. We are seeing violations of human rights and conflicts affecting so many parts of the world.
The best tribute to Dr. Kalaam would be to introspect and develop righteousness.