“Dream is not that which you see while sleeping it is something that does not let you sleep”
APJ Abdul Kalam
Enough has already been written some might say, about President Kalam, but I say the more we write, the more we talk and most importantly remember his ideas and vision, the better our lives and the lives of our countrymen would be. I was very hesitant to write about this unassuming man who I have the misfortune of never meeting in person or even just have glimpse of his silhouette. But an encouragement from an old schoolmate of mine, gave me a renewed strength to write or maybe it was just divine intervention.
O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done
On 27th July 2015 our own Missile Man, Bharat Ratna and former President of our Republic, APJ Abdul Kalam passed away the way I suppose he always intended, which was interacting with future generation of Indians. Is it possible he timed his own death? We will never know but what will always remain alive with us are his ideas which I hope we are able to keep ignited for decades to come. It might be blasphemy to call President Kalam a prophet but he was a poet and a philosopher who gave our country a firm footing in international arena through his rockets so we may never be bullied again.
If pre-independent India had Mahatma Gandhi, the post-independent India had Kalam and we were all fortunate enough to witness and watch greatness walk among us mortal beings. I am not trying to turn Kalam into a god or even a demigod because he would not like it. The fact is he was more human than most of us which is in itself more divine.
To say, he rose from a humble background to becoming the President of India, has got be an understatement of the century, he was a lot more! His achievements are unparalleled in the history of post independent India. This is testament to fact, it is still possible to reach the highest office in our country through hard work, dedication, honesty and he proved it.
The example he set on how to go about serving the country must put to shame almost all politicians who are only interested in two things. How to get elected and how much they can steal from the public. But the wealth accumulated by President Kalam was not money; it was the everlasting love, admiration and his sincere service to the people of our country which makes him stand out in his own virtue. Alas! Our politicians have a skin which is thicker than any armor with no consciousness which made them impervious to compassion but not him.
Never did he misuse his position or the power he wielded, in fact he has made sincerity and humbleness synonymous to his name. It would not be wrong to ask our so called VVIP’s to act ‘KALAM’.
But that is a bridge too far.
I cannot imagine a single incident where a leader of some repute died and schools and government offices were not shut down, bringing joy to millions of school children and barely working “Babus”. Our already dysfunctional Parliament was adjourned for two days as a tribute to President Kalam which he would have vehemently opposed because he would rather see our members of parliament work, pass bills and make laws than take two days off. Stalling work in Parliament, a habit employed by both Bharatiya Janata Party and Congress, has caused losses amounting to crores of rupees to our exchequers and it is highly unlikely that any more work will ever get done during the monsoon session. The spectacle of blame game and mudslinging will unfortunately continue at the expense of national interest and all the speeches given to honor President Kalam will render academic.
To paraphrase what Khalil Gibran who wrote,” let us not make a stranger of this poet among his people in the years to come” or he will just be a footnote in our history.
Right now copious articles are being written and I am sure books will be published about him, but is it enough? What is more important is not just to read about him but to inculcate his ideas in the marrow of our bones and pass that along to generations still to come. Our beloved people’s President lived life to the fullest and I am sure he wasn’t afraid of death. I was reminded by an old rendering of Dhammapada verse given to humanity by Gautama Buddha.
Heedfulness is the path to the Deathless.
Heedlessness is the path to death.
The heedful die not.
The heedless are as if dead already.
Yes the heedful die not and our beloved Kalam lived his life following this divine rendering. In the words of Edvard Munch the famous Norwegian painter who said “From my rotting body, flowers shall grow and I am in them and that is eternity.”
Let us preserve this flower for eternity, let the message of our Kalam be never taken away from us or diluted. Let us insure his way of life and his works are taught in every school so our younglings can grow up smelling the flowers of wisdom and his spirituality for eternity which has touched the hearts and souls of over billion people.
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