Eulogy from a distant observer:
Former President of India and eminent scientist APJ Abdul Kalam passed away in Shillong on Monday. Kalam collapsed during a speech at the IIM Shillong and was immediately rushed to the nearby Bethany Hospital. Later he was transferred to army Hospital and declared dead. Humble start of life, to make living by distribution of newspapers, did not prevent him to be the man behind indigenous missile/space program of India which earned him a nick name ‘missile man’ in 80’s through 90’s.
Transcending the self:
Dr Kalam was the living example of what is called transcending the self. His thoughts were never obstructed by self. Generally we call every person dedicated to his work as karmyogi but that is improper. True karmyogi is different. That was Dr Kalam. He dedicated his life to the work before him, nation and humanity. He may have a peculiar hair style but beyond that he had nothing in his mind which could be named as ‘self’ or Dr. Kalam. He was a positive reflection of every person before him or even a crowd. Transcendence of self is the last frontier in human quest for emancipation and Dr. Kalam had crossed so long ago that he could never notice it.
A leader without politics or political alliance:
Dr. Kalam started as a scientist in India’s ISRO or Indian Space Research Organisation. Somebody would call his types as lab rat but he created what today is India’s Missile and space program. Thereafter for 20 years he was Defence research and in 1999 elevated as President of India. He was never a member of any political party. The First non-political President of India. He remained non-aligned till his death.
Metamorphosis of Dr. Kalam as Global Statesman:
When an aerospace scientist was appointed, every one thought that he will be a ceremonial President. But not only he had great ideas to change make Presidency more people friendly. Better still, once he was out of office, he was in inspirational speaker, a motivator for success, innovation and honesty.His biography is available at many places hence I will skip fine details for Wikipedia. He wrote many books, India 2020, being the top of all not to speak, Wings of Fire and many more.
As it turned out Dr. Kalam did turn out to be a great visionary. He had ideas on development, education and above all how to make earth a better place.
Last question formulated by Dr. Kalam:
In Shillong, Dr. Kalam was to address the students. Just before start of talks, he had shared his associate that he wanted to pose to questions to the students:
- How to make earth a place worth living?
- How to end log jam in Parliament?
These were they last questions he wanted to find answers in his interaction with students at Shillong. And this speaks about the persona that he was.
With Dr. Kalam a very alive human conscience has merged back to its origin but not without making a deep marks on the lives of all others who came in touch with him, directly or indirectly.
Some of Dr. Kalam’s inspirational sayings:
- “You have to dream before your dreams can come true.”
- “If a country is to be corruption free and become a nation of beautiful minds, I strongly feel there are three key societal members who can make a difference. They are the father, the mother and the teacher.”
- “My message, especially to young people is to have courage to think differently, courage to invent, to travel the unexplored path, courage to discover the impossible and to conquer the problems and succeed. These are great qualities that they must work towards. This is my message to the young people.”
- “To succeed in your mission, you must have single-minded devotion to your goal.”
- “Let me define a leader. He must have vision and passion and not be afraid of any problem. Instead, he should know how to defeat it. Most importantly, he must work with integrity.”
- “Great dreams of great dreamers are always transcended.”
- “Let us sacrifice our today so that our children can have a better tomorrow.”
- “Man needs his difficulties because they are necessary to enjoy success.”
- “Look at the sky. We are not alone. The whole universe is friendly to us and conspires only to give the best to those who dream and work.”
- “You see, God helps only people who work hard. That principle is very clear.