Rameswaram’s touching farewell to APJ Abdul Kalam

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People waiting in a long queue to pay their respects to former President APJ Abdul Kalam at public view ground in Rameswaram
People waiting in a long queue to pay their respects to former President APJ Abdul Kalam at public view ground in Rameswaram

Rameswaram gave a touching farewell to its beloved son APJ Abdul Kalam, on Thursday. Memories filled every heart, of everyone who knew the iconic APJ Abdul Kalam. It was a sea of humanity as thousands gathered from morning at his house on Mosque street in Rameswaram. The street which has the house of the former president of India holds a plaque with the words “House Of Kalam” written on it. Though the plaque was put up more than two decades ago, it serves as the guide to most tourists in Rameswaram to know that the modest house is where India’s ex president stayed.

While the dignitaries led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi descended at Rameswaram to attend the Funeral of Ex President APJ Abdul Kalam, it was the sea of humanity which highlighted the love that the people of the country share with the departed soul. Carrying posters, the route lined with flex boards saw people standing on roof tops and bidding farewell.

As the cortege carrying the mortal remains travelled the three kilometer distance from his residence to mosque and then to the final resting place on outskirts of the Rameswaram town at Peikorambu, thousands moved along with the convoy raising slogans, “Abdul Kalam Amar Rahe”. The town saw a total shutdown. Every man, young and old, wanted to lend a shoulder to the janaza of the former president at the local mosque where the final prayers were offered.

Akila, a Master’s student at the Anna University in Chennai had travelled overnight to be present. APJ Abdul Kalam was an inspiration for her as well like millions of others. “It was he who had advised me to pursue my Masters’ and am glad that I did so following his advice. I am indebted to him forever”

Tears rolled down the cheeks of Father Alex Thomas , a man who knew Kalam for two decades. For him the mere support of Abdul Kalam was enough to ensure that the future of his seven institutions which house mentally retarded and orphan kids was secure. Father Thomas said,” At the age of 72 I feel orphaned , so do the 400 inmates of our institution. Kalam sir spent time whenever in Kerala at our foundation.” Unable to hold his emotions father Thomas recalled how the former President had gifted two horses from the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

After the dignitaries, including the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Defence Minister Manohar Parikkar and the chief ministers of several states, delegates from Nepal, as well as Bhutan paid their respects, the family members ‘prayed’ for the final time before lowering the mortal remains into the womb of mother earth.

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