India has lost her son. The nation is shocked. The youth of India are inconsolable. The children fondly remember their interactions with him. His quotes and speeches are being viewed and shared. Indians are deeply mourning the loss of someone near and dear to their heart. The world joins India in paying homage to the departed soul of Late Dr. Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam, the Former President of India.
I am sure you have read numerous posts about Kalam Sir, since the unfortunate night of 27th July, 2015. So let me tell you a different story.
2015 saw the Diamond Jubilee celebration in my school and Late Mr.Kalam was invited for the same, to grace the gathering in January. Sadly, I couldn’t get a ticket for the function, but I ensured that I attended the live webcast. The main topic for his inspirational and thought-provoking speech that day was: Being Unique. He first emphasized on the importance of walking in one’s own shadow. Quoting examples of Thomas Edison, Graham Bell and Sir Raman, he reminded us that the world will continue to remember us only if we are unique. According to him, unique people have 4 qualities:
1) Great aims
2) Thirst for continuous acquisition of knowledge
3) Hard work
He believed that only a person who is an epitome of these 4 qualities will live on in the minds of people, even after his death. So, it is no wonder that today, the legend APJ Abdul Kalam continues to live in our hearts, even after having left for heavenly abode. He was unique in all ways: warm, polite, witty and humble. He was awarded numerous awards in his lifetime for his achievements, including Bharat Ratna, Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan.
We have numerous names while referring to Kalam Sir: Missile Man of India, People’s President, Scientist, Diplomat, Writer, etc. But do you know what he wanted you to remember him for? He wanted to be remembered as a teacher! He had once stated that teaching was his passion. Everything else came second. In a separate incident, he remarked that one who dies working and not ailing is blessed, since goodbyes should be short. Looking back, it seems like his secret wish was fulfilled. He took his final journey doing what he loved the most. He left us with that last impression imprinted in our minds: that of APJ Abdul Kalam as a great teacher. Even in death, he chose to pave his own path and be successful!
Blessed are we that we belong to this generation: one which included learning from this great soul. He has taught us a way of life. From a newspaper boy, to the most-beloved Indian personality was not an easy task. The ‘Wings of Fire’ have departed, leaving behind ‘Ignited Minds’ that he believes will work towards his vision of ‘India 2020’. He was quoted as having said “Don’t declare a holiday on my death, instead work an extra day if you love me”. So today, let us all take this oath that he had asked us to repeat during his speech and promise his departed soul that we will strive hard to fulfil his dream:
“I have goals and I’ll work hard to achieve those goals. I realize that small aim is a crime. I will work with integrity and succeed with integrity. I’ll ensure that my home is transparent. I’ll be a good member of my family, society, nation and world. As a youth of my nation, I’ll work with courage to achieve success in all my tasks and will also enjoy the success of others. My national flag flies in my heart and I’ll bring glory to my nation.”
Sir, you were a Gem in India’s crown. Nothing can ever make up for our loss. You will continue to reign in our hearts, today and forever.
May your soul Rest in Peace, Sir!