“It is very easy to defeat someone but it is very hard to win someone” – APJ Abdul Kalam once said.
The ‘missile man’ of India had won millions of hearts and left everyone shocked when he departed on July 27 last year. Kalam breathed his last at the age of 83 while doing what he loved the most, delivering a lecture at the Rajiv Gandhi Indian Institute of Management (RG-IIM) in Shillong. The demise, of Kalam, India’s 11th President, also known as the ‘People’s President’, sent ripples throughout the nation which had great admiration for his supreme conduct and ability to inspire innumerable youth. The government had announced a seven-day state of mourning, during which the national flag was flown half-mast throughout the country.
There was an apparent outpour of emotion as thousands flocked to pay their last tributes to the deceased leader at his New Delhi residence – 10 Rajaji Marg. Prior to that, President Pranab Mukherjee along with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Rajnath Singh and several other dignitaries reached Palam airport in Delhi to receive Kalam’s body after it was flown in from Shillong. At Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu, where Kalam spent his childhood, a state funeral with full military honours was organised for him and amidst resounding sorrow, he was laid to rest on July 30.
The anniversary of demise
Today, to mark the anniversary of his death, a number of events have been planned by the Ministry of Defence as well as State Governments across the country. A life-size statue of Dr Kalam was unveiled at Rameswaram and the foundation stone for a National Memorial is also to be laid at his burial site. A Kalam Memorial will be inaugurated by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal at INA, in the national capital, on July 30. At IIM Shillong, a series of lectures on making the world a better place is going to be organised to honour Kalam’s last memory.