There are very few people who live the life of their dreams, but there are even fewer who get the death of their dreams! There are very few scientists who are remembered for their work, but there are even fewer politicians who are respected in a devotional manner. Such was the personality of Dr APJ Abdul Kalam – an ordinary child who rose to extraordinary podiums and achieved what many of us can’t even dream of!
No, he didn’t earn filthy amount of wealth, neither did he build big palaces for himself nor did he buy a fleet of luxurious cars, but what he earned is something that is toughest to get, and that is – genuine, unadulterated, pure respect! He wasn’t respected because of his political stature or his scientific contributions alone, but also for his grounded personality, his non-materialistic lifestyle and his devotion towards his work.
He didn’t marry. Neither did he have any child to take his legacy forward. But he left an entire country of 120 million people in tears today! Calling him just an inspiration would be an ‘understatement’, for he deserves far more than that, so we Indians, tagged him as – #MissileMan. A man, who brought in his revolutionary ideas and his ultimate scientific knowledge to use, and re-engineered India’s defense system into one of the world’s most powerful ones!
APJ Abdul Kalam is not just a name, but an era. He was the 11th President of independent India, and I guess, the only Indian politician so far, who has zero haters! Nobody, not even a single person has ever written, spoke, even tweeted about him negatively – that is the kind of person he was! He was fond of children and always inspired every child, from the poorest of the poor regions to the ones studying in posh-schools – to do something innovative! He himself was born into a humble and poor South Indian family, but worked hard and studied even harder to become an Aerospace Engineer, and later – a scientist. He contributed greatly towards making of modern India by designing satellites and missiles for Indian defense. He has earned a series of accolades and awards under his name, not only from India, but from other nations as well.
His book – India 2020 – is about a vision he saw. A dream of seeing India as a knowledge superpower and a developed nation by the year 2020. But he left us all, while delivering a lecture at IIM-Shillong on the eve of 27th July, 2015. He might be no more among us, but his knowledge, his guidance, his books, his visions will always guide us like light in the path of darkness. He said – “I want my life to end, when I’m with my students. I want to be remembered as a ‘Teacher’, and not as a President or a Scientist.”
And he got it. He took his last breath while doing what he loved the most – Teaching among his Students. Not everyone is as lucky to get a pain-free, torture-free death, and that too by being among the people he loved. He served the nation till his last breath. That is the kind of life, he lived. And that is the kind of legacy he has left behind.
Dr Kalam, you might be gone, but your words of wisdom, your encouragement and inspiration, your humble-lifestyle will always be in our hearts forever. You will always be remembered as a Teacher, and a ‘People’s President’. With a grief stricken heart, we all bid you adieu and pray for your departed soul – Rest in Peace…