Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam
Ambitious, Passionate, Juggernaut…!!!
Shamim A. Aarzoo
A visionary, a pioneer, a leader in inspiring thought Dr. Abdul Kalam was an enlightening force that has ignited thousand of minds of our nation to unsurmountable action. His life was a living inspiration. Rising above the obvious obstacles and easy excuses of fate, the son of a boatman, became a prominent national scientist and the President of the nation, earning the highest civilian honour, and many others throughout his exemplary career.
Born in 1931 -in the holy town of Rameshwaram, his existence imbibed in the free fabric of society there, religions coexisting in harmony, and humanity preceding faith; also, at a time when the world was in a grip of change- India was immersed in the freedom struggle and the world was reeling under the weight of the second World War. A witness to these radical times and great personalities, his persistent and unwavering effort in contributing to the country’s progress through his work in the DRDO and teaching outside of it, his addresses and books, extracted their dedication, recognition of need for national strength and service.
Surrounded by the tranquil sea and calm village life, he was always fascinated by the flight of birds and in that fascination he founded his lifelong passion of Aeronautical engineering.
Every word he said contained in it wisdom of ages and had attached to it the weight of his personality and the unquestionable tenacity of his life and work- an integrity so profound no person could remain untouched by its powerful and piercing radiance, its unfailing imminence of truth, achievement.
If Dr Kalam were to be described in two words they could probably be simplicity and zest. His dignified dressing or unique style of hair, are beloved marks of identification with the pious being. He always liked to be surrounded by youth instilling them with energy and protracting his own, guiding them to the promise of a better India.
During his term in the Rashtrapati Bhawan, the only bachelor to inhabit those domains, he lived in startling modesty, saying it is not for a President to demand-a practice prevalent throughout his life. At the end of his stay, he left with a handful of books in a briefcase embarking on another fruitful journey.
He believed in the power of books, learning he was forever fascinated with. A simple proposition of his was for everyone to start a library at his home, beginning with a numbered few maybe, but ensuring the house is sanctioned by the wisdom contained in it.
Humility was the great man’s crown; once at an event at BHU he declined seating as his chair was pompous and bigger than others’.
The most important lesson to be learnt from this noble man’s journey is that of action. To not remain withdrawn, complacent or inactive in the face of difficulty, conflict, not be a passive witness but an active participant in change. And in that path move tirelessly.
At the age of eight, during the Second World War, when resources were limited and finances skewed, his young age did not deter him from helping his cousin in distributing the local newspapers and adding to the family income. He woke up at four for tuitions, delivered the newspapers with enthusiasm, attended school and in the evening collected dues, did his homework and read of the world’s affairs with his cousins, who were his crucial guides.
Failure eludes no one but he emerged, from the few he remembers painfully, strong and more motivated and driven than before.
His demise is mourned deeply by the nation, for the people’s president who has found home in each earnest heart, in times when only malice dominates public life.
The purity of his heart and soul has left a deep impression and to forego his claim on our lives, our minds and souls would be a cardinal sin. We followed the man in his beautiful, marvel of a life. The echo of his being’s power shall resonate with us forever.
Writer is the Editor In Chief of The Lucknow Observer & Founder of LUCKNOW Society