‘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/

A MAN LIKE DR. KALAM WOULD HAVE WANTED SUCH A DEPARTURE FROM THIS WORLD

Till 8 PM, it was the Gurdaspur terror strike, continuing its run that had begun at the daybreak. The terror attack that was on every airwave till 8 PM, was suddenly pushed to the backdrop with a shocking news.

Around 8 PM, the unconfirmed news of Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam’s sudden demise in Shillong broke. Though it soon became clear that he was no more, it took some time to make the sad development official.

And once it was in, it swept the media outfits.

The news of sudden demise of Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, former President of India, the country’s missile-man, the scientist who spearheaded our coveted missile programme, the scientists who was among the best few human begins this nation has ever produced, came as a shock for everyone.

It was like for someone so close to us – that we first refuse to believe when it comes to such developments.

And we didn’t believe it. We found hard to believe it. Many of us who knew he was already dead before it was made official prayed for some miracle to happen.

But as the cliché goes that ‘miracles seldom happen in real life’ – the miracle we were praying for didn’t happen. Around 9 PM, Home Minister Rajnath Singh tweeted confirming his death and the flow of reactions that had begun some minutes ago, became an unstoppable flood – where everyone was adding to the sentiments.

How much nation (and its people) APJ Abdul Kalam was evident soon from the news agenda of the day that was driven by many personal feelings as well.

On a day, when India was again forced to handle a terror crisis that could have become another 26/11 for us (November 26, 2008 Mumbai attacks), media and social media had nothing but reactions and tributes about Dr. Kalam. The coverage prime time onwards was only about Dr. Kalam. The flood that is growing strong with pouring tributes and is expected to be in the same vein tomorrow.

Such things make us feel proud, give us hope in moments of such despair when we suddenly feel crushed by developments like Dr. Kalam’s death.

He needed much more than tweets by the President and the Prime Minister of India. And indeed, they came first with their reactions on camera. Reactions of shock and dismay poured in from every quarter of people in India. From common people to politicians to business people to sports people to other fames names – heartfelt tributes flooded the channels of communication.

A man like Dr. Kalam would have always wanted such a departure from this world – an universal expression of love – driving people to react spontaneously – making them feel the pain.

On a day when India had an hours long terror crisis in Punjab, that it said was perpetrated by Pakistani terrorists, everyone, be of any religion, was one in pain on demise of Dr. Kalam, a Muslim. And that says why India’s secular credentials are so strong to stay here. After all, Dr. Kalam had famously said – “For great men, religion is a way of making friends; small people make religion a fighting tool.”

The nation is proud of his legacy – that would always guide us. No other man, from any walk of Indian life, in the prevailing circumstances, can expect to get such an unbiased love that people expressing for him this night. His aura was truly transcendental that touched us all.

We are in mourning but the pain becomes bearable with the kind of universal tribute he is getting, that greats like him should get.

Some images from his Twitter page:

APJ-2 APJ-3 APJ-4 APJ-5 APJ-NM

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