India’s former president A.P.J.Abdul Kalam, who passed away on Monday after a massive cardiac arrest at 83, wanted posterity to remember him as a teacher.
He remained a teacher till the final moments when he collapsed and died while addressing students at the IIM-Shillong on Monday.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi wrote on Twitter: “My mind is filled with so many memories, so many interactions with him. Dr. Kalam enjoyed being with people; people and youngsters adored him. He loved students and spent his final moments among them.”
Congress leader P. Chidambaram said Kalam was among the few who had endeared themselves to the young and old, poor and the rich, and to people belonging to different faiths.”
To Pratibha Patil, Kalam’s successor as president, he was the best human being she had ever met.
So what made this rocket scientist so endearing to everyone who had the chance to meet him? Answer: His hearty smile, humility, sincerity and vision.
Let us just focus on his vision. Kalam, who was born into a humble family, believed that the soul of India lives in its villages.
For him, connectivity was the key to bridging the rural-urban divide.
According to him, the core-competence of the village will enable the production of competitive products for national and international markets. This will lead to rural enterprises which will create jobs in villages and lead to a vibrant economy in India’s hinterland.
He had also ideas about an ideal leader. A leader must have vision, should travel into an unexplored path, know how to manage success and failure, have the courage to make decisions and show openness, integrity and nobility in management.
He believed that India’s future lies in renewable energy. According to him, besides using solar power, India should go in for nuclear energy and also bio fuels from jatropha plant and algae.
He wrote four books — Wings of Fire, India 2020 – A Vision for the New Millennium, My Journey and Ignited Minds – Unleashing the power within India.
He also wrote a poem The Vision which ends with a prayer to God to bless India with vision that leads to its prosperity and happiness.
Recently, he tweeted: “An indomitable spirit stands on two feet … vision and firm thought”.
That could serve as an apt description for him.