Former President Bharat Ratna Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam passed away on July 27th, 2015 leaving many in shock and despair. He collapsed while addressing students at IIM Shillong and was rushed to the hospital but in vain. Every one of us felt like we lost someone from our very own.
Dr. Kalam was a people's president who struck a chord with every section of the society, especially the youth, through his honest and down to earth nature. Those who had an opportunity to interact with him were awestruck by his simplicity. He went from Rameswaram to Rashtrapati Bhavan but that didn't change him and he treated everyone as his own. His simplicity was his greatest quality.
He was a remarkable scientist whose contributions at DRDO and ISRO were outstanding and he was intimately involved in India’s civilian space program and military missile development efforts. He came to be known as the Missile Man of India for his work on the development of ballistic missile and launch vehicle technology. He also played a pivotal role in the Pokhran-II nuclear tests.
It is a matter of great pride that he is an alumnus of our very own Madras Institute of Technology and belongs to the 1960 batch. He always shared a special bond with our university. Infact, he is Professor Eminence and has an office room in our Guindy campus's Ramanujan Computing Centre which has also setup an AU-BCT Kalam Centre of Excellence which was inaugurated by him. He went on to become the President of India while working at RCC and his office room inspires and cherishes many. Many in our university have had the privilege of interacting with him closely.
He will always be remembered not as a president or scientist or missile man or writer but as a teacher who touched many lives and that is the greatness of the man.
He was an ideal citizen, if ever there was one, and his death is an irreparable loss to our nation and has created a huge void to fill. The greatest tribute we can all pay is to work towards making his dream of India 2020 into reality! HIS dream is now OURS!
It is often said that a man is not dead until he is forgotten. He will forever remain in our hearts and his legacy will continue to inspire everyone around the globe. Long live Dr. Kalam!