Un-written pages of Dr. A P J Abdul Kalam
MAHADEEP SINGH JAMWAL
Although the social media is a powerful tool available in present era, but I doubt that very few of us are in a position to accrue benefits of this available tool. The Internet services keeps us connected with whole of world with a seconds scrolling and we extract every bit of the best information from the servers operated by number of service providers, keeping wonderful bank of knowledge in their memory panels, which can contribute a lot in shaping the day to day life of every individual. We remain deprived of the life style of great persons who had become role model for the society all over the world, as whatever is available about them in public domain is either put forth by the government (if interested) or approachable by individuals through the biographies or auto biographies of such personalities. Still we find many un-written pages of such personalities, through the interviews or from the interactions of persons remaining very close to such personalities either by working directly with them in the official capacity or in the domestic affairs. The persons who get whatever best material through social media or become aware through internet use, they owe a duty towards the others who are un-approachable to this facility, to share that information with them, on the logic of ‘Deep Se Deep Jale’.
As a routine two days back, when I was strolling on my What sap groups “Being Human” and “We for You”, a synonymous posting on both groups concerning Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam fascinated me to such an extent that I was compelled to swap internet services for more details. The only book from many books such as Wings of Fire, Ignited Minds, Envisioning an Empowered Nation, The Life Tree, Children Ask Kalam, Turning Points, My Journey Written by Dr. Abdul Kalam, was ‘Wings of Fire’ which I have occasion to go through, but the facts posted on my What, APP groups were not part of this book, what were actually revelations about Dr. Kalam by one P. M Nair, IAS (Retd.) who happened to be Secretary to the President of India late Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, during his whole tenure as President of India and author of book on Dr APJ Kalam titled ‘Kalam Effect”. DD Podhigai, a Doordarshan’s Tamil Language regional channel telecasted an interview with P. M Nair, and Padmanabhan RR (Chairman Skill Development Sub Committee at Andhra Chamber of Commerce) Summarised the points, Nair spoke in voice choked with emotion are reproduced below;
1. Dr. Kalam used to receive costly gifts whenever he went broad as it is customary of many nations to give gifts to the visiting Head of State. Refusing the gift would become an insult to the nation and an embarrassment for India. So, he received them and on his tour, Dr Kalam asked the gifts to be photographed and then catalogued and handed over to the archives. Afterwards, he never even looked at them. He did not take even a pencil from the gifts received when he left Rashtrapathi Bhavan.
2. In 2002, the year Dr Kalam took over, the Ramadan month came in July-August. It was a regular practice for the President to host an Iftar party. Dr Kalam asked Nair why he should host a party to people who are already well fed and asked him to find out how much would be the cost. Nair told it costs around Rs 22 lakh. Dr Kalam asked him to donate that amount to a few selected orphanages in the form of food, dresses and blankets. The selection of orphanages was left to a team in Rashtrapathi Bhavan and Dr Kalam has no role in it. After the selection was made, Dr Kalam asked Nair to come inside his room and gave him a Cheque for Rs 1 lakh. He said that he is giving amount from his personal savings and this should not be informed to anyone. Nair was so shocked that he said “Sir, I will go outside and tell everyone. People should know that there is a man who not only donated what he should have spent but he is giving his own money also”. Dr Kalam though he was a devout Muslim did not have Iftar parties in the years in which he was the President.
3. Dr Kalam did not like “yes sir” type of people. Once when the Chief Justice of India had come and on some point Dr Kalam expressed his view and asked Nair, “Do you agree?” Nair said” No sir, I do not agree with you”. The Chief Justice was shocked and could not believe his ears. It was impossible for a civil servant to disagree with the President and that too so openly. Nair told him that the President would question him afterwards why he disagreed and if the reason was logical 99 per cent he would change his mind.
4. Dr Kalam invited 50 of his relatives to come to Delhi and they all stayed in Rashtrapathi Bhavan. He organised a bus for them to go around the city which was paid for by him. No official car was used. All their stay and food was calculated as per the instruction of Dr Kalam and the bill came to Rs 2 lakh which he paid. In the history of country no one has done it.
5. Dr Kalam’s elder brother stayed with him in his room for the entire one week as Dr Kalam wanted his brother to stay with him. When they left, Dr Kalam wanted to pay rent for that room also. Imagine a President of country paying rent for the room in which he is staying. This was any way not agreed by the staff who thought the honesty was getting too much to handle!
6. When Kalam Sir, was to leave Rashtrapathi Bhavan at the end of tenure, every staff member went and met him and paid their respects. Nair went to him alone as his wife had fractured her leg and was bedridden. Dr Kalam asked why his wife did not come. He replied that she was in bed due to an accident. Next day, Nair saw lot of police men around his house and asked what had happened. They said that President of India was coming to visit him in his house. He came and met his wife and chatted for some time. Nair says that no President of any country would visit a civil servants house that too on such a simple pretext.
These are the thought provoking revelations about such a great man, popularly known as “Missile Man of India” and are required to be put into public domain, as an eye opener from common man to the highest authority not only in India but also on the world map through print media also which is readily affordable even by a common man just by spending Rs 2 on the news paper. These indelible prints left by the great soul are definitely going to transform the reasoning of the people for a simple and saint like living, even while occupying the highest seat of powers, further a bit more revelation by Nair as “The younger brother of A.P.J Kalam runs an umbrella repairing shop. When Nair met him during Kalam’s funeral, he touched his feet, in token of respect for both Nair and brother”, further speaks of the character of the family relations that how simply they are leading their life otherwise too they have climbed the last stair for better living and luxurious life.
Before concluding I would like to pen down some of the inspirational quotes of Dr A.P.J Abdul Kalam for the readers of this write up.
o “Don’t take rest after your first victory because if you fail in second, more lips are waiting to say that your first victory was just luck”
o “All birds find shelter during a rain. But eagle avoids rain by flying above the clouds”
o “Man needs difficulties in life because they are necessary to enjoy the success”
o “If you want to shine like a sun, first burn like a sun”
o “All of us do not have equal talent, but, all of us have an equal opportunity to develop our talents”
o “Thinking should become your capital asset, no matter whatever ups and downs you come across in your life”.