People’s President APJ Abdul Kalam passes away at 83, India mourns

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Abdul-Kalam  : 15 October 1931- 27 July 2015
Abdul Kalam : 15 October 1931- 27 July 2015

Barely few days ago on  July 22 at a School function at Jharkhand, the state’s education minister created a major stir- Neera Yadav ironically garlanded the picture of the former President APJ Abdul Kalam. Yadav garlanded Kalam’s photo, which is not considered auspicious according to the Hindu tradition as it is done to pay respect to a person after his death.

What was more more surprising was the fact that none of the attendees, including BJP MLA Manish Jaiswal and the principal of the school, raised any objection to it. Yadav, who was invited as the chief guest, later inaugurated the smart classes. However, her act before the inauguration raised a question mark on her knowledge.

Now tragically, five days after that rather humiliating event, Former President Dr APJ Abdul Kalam died in Shillong  after he collapsed during a lecture at the Indian Institute of Management in the Meghalaya capital. Kalam, who was the 11th President of India, was a very popular head of state between 2002 and 2007. He was also known as India’s missile man for ensuring the success of Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP).

Kalam (83) took ill and collapsed at around 6:30 PM at the function. He was rushed to Bethany hospital in Nongrim hills area of Shillong. Doctors tried to revive him but failed to do so. Army doctors were also called but they declared him dead due to a cardiac arrest. Meghalaya Governor V Shanmughanathan and Chief Secretary PBO Warjri visited Bethany hospital where Kalam was admitted.

Warjiri spoke to Union Home Secretary LC Goyal asking for necessary arrangements to be made for carrying Kalam’s body from Guwahati to Delhi on Tuesday morning. Kalam’s dead body has been taken ton the military hospital for embalming. It will be taken to Guwhati by a helicopter and from there flown to Delhi.

The government has decided to declare national mourning for seven days.

Born and raised in Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu, Kalam studied physics and aerospace engineering.  He served as the President of India from 2002 to 2007 and was awarded the nation’s top civilian awards, including Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Bharat Ratna.

Kalam spent four decades as a scientist and science administrator, at the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).  He was the Chief Scientific Advisor to the Prime and the Secretary of the DRDO from 1992 to 199. The Pokhran II nuclear tests were conducted during this period.  He also wrote 14 books on various topics including India 2020, Wings of Fire and Ignited Minds.

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