The People’s President, the Missile Man, a Bharat Ratna, a visionary, a man who devoted his life to education passed away yesterday, during a lecture at IIM Shillong. According to reports, Kalam suffered a massive cardiac arrest while delivering the lecture, “Livable Planet Earth”. Kalam would have been 84 in October this year.
Kalam was undoubtedly the most popular president of India who became the 11th head of the state and occupied office from 2002-2007. The Centre is to declare a seven-day national mourning and both the Houses of Parliament are likely to make obituary references and adjourn as a mark of respect to his memory. Kalam, brought up in a humble background, was an aeronautics engineer from Madras Institute of Technology and was instrumental in the Pokhran nuclear tests in 1998; and was also the brain behind the missile program in India.
Kalam was known for his love for education and especially children and the youth. He utilized every opportunity to interact with students, encouraged and inspired them to dream big and be achievers in life. According to one of the reports, Kalam set a target of interacting with 100,000 students during the two years after his resignation from the post of scientific adviser in 1999. He explained, "I feel comfortable in the company of young people, particularly high school students. Henceforth, I intend to share with them experiences, helping them to ignite their imagination and preparing them to work for a developed India for which the road map is already available.” Kalam's 79th birthday was recognized as World Student Day by the United Nations.
The Prime Minsiter, Narendra Modi said in one of his tweets "I got to work with him closely. I have lost an uttam marg darshak. The country has lost a son who worked for the strength of India. He had spent every moment for the youth of India. No person will be able to fill the gap left by him. His work will inspire us to work for the development of the nation.”
Kalam had also delivered various lectures on leadership. According to him, “The first thing that leaders must have is a clear vision. Leaders like Vikram Sarabhai played a great role in transforming India into a modern nation with their grand vision. Then, a leader must have the passion to put vision into action. In executing its vision, a leader must not merely follow the beaten path. They must have the courage to explore new solutions. In its journey, a leader will meet with failure, but they must not let the failure derail him. Don’t let problems dominate you. Instead, you must proactively address the problem and solve it.”
Kalam, a visionary in all aspects gave inspiration to all. As a President, as a scientist and as a human being. RIP Sir.
Read a few of the last of Kalam’s tweets here.