‘RETURN IF POSSIBLE’ DR. KALAM

Now that is a desperate plea to someone departed who was so beloved. That is an expression that we so often hear in such moments.

It was expected to happen and it was so heartening to see it happening. I read this opinion and the poignant thoughts that followed from multitudes of voices.

Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, India’s foremost scientist and human being, who was also India’s most unorthodox President in India’s recent political history, was the main news theme even today. And he is expected to be there tomorrow and the day after as well, in every mind, on every news agenda. His body will be flown to his home town Rameswaram tomorrow where his last rites will be performed on Thursday (July 30).

Dr. Kalam who curated and spearheaded India’s missile programme (and for that he is known as India’s Missile Man) and who was the main brain behind India’s nuclear tests in 1998, died yesterday while delivering a lecture at IIM Shillong. Doctors later said it was a massive cardiac arrest and Dr. Kalam was brought dead to the hospital.

No one trusted when the news first broke in media and social media. For some time, there was no official confirmation. But it soon became clear that Dr. Kalam, who, it is said, left the Rashtrapati Bhavan with the same suitcase that he had come with, had left us. The eternal teacher who departed from this world while teaching his students had left his body at 84 after living a youthful life – that is a lesson for humanity.

But many were not ready to take this even if reactions and tributes started pouring in. They kept on praying for miracle. They kept on praying with ‘return if possible’ Sir, as I read it on many communication channels.

That tells why and how a man becomes larger than life. For Dr. Kalam, his nation, India, was before everything and he followed it in letter and spirit while leading a simple, honest and frugal life – a life full of achievements, achievements that helped India live its scientific prowess in space and defence sectors.

The teacher in him, the disciplinarian in a scientist, the optimist in a person, the rationalist in a politician and the visionary in a leader will always stay with us a spirit to guide many of us.

After all, India has stopped producing such souls for whom the whole nation, across religions and classes, mourns.

India has not seen such a uniform expression of universal shock and tribute in years and will not see in many coming years.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/