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I am delighted to share with you the story of the boy who rose above the odds that were stacked against him while growing up to become a man of vision, a change agent and one of the finest presidents India has had. The people’s president… APJ Abdul Kalam
It was the English poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow who said:
“Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sand of time;
Footprints, that perhaps another,
forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
Seeing, shall take heart again.”
. Here was someone who became what he was by handwork, perseverance, living life to it fullest capacity, with determination. Here was someone filled with infinite hope and courage. Here was someone who had immense positive energy and inspired millions to dream, to have a vision, to have hope. I think in our world of constant cynicism Sri Kalam’s energy was a breather.
I remember watching his interviews on TV. His attitude towards reading, towards religion just touched me deeply. I recall him paraphrasing The Gita, The Bible and talking about the spiritual space in The Quran. Here was a person whose level of religious tolerance was high.
When Dr Kalam’s first major project SLV-3 failed the first time, he was almost shattered. But the fearless kalam never thought of quitting after SLV-3. He said  “I knew that for success, we have to work hard and persevere.” And so, SLV-3 was launched again, this time with success. He drew strength from philosophy, religion and literature to tide by his professional setbacks;
Young Kalam would get up at 4 am, bathe, and then go for his mathematics class. After his morning class, Kalam along with his cousin Samsuddin went around town distributing the newspaper. His teacher fondly recalls that Young Kalam took the extra effort of getting down from his cycle and placing the newspaper on the porch outside instead of just tossing it. This is how he was all through his life, doing each and every job with passion and excellence . Although Dr Kalam has led several projects in his professional life, he’s treated each like his last. Such was his passion
Kalam is the heart throb of our nation not merely because he is scientist who spearheaded the successful launches of prithvi agni akash and Nag missiles or because he was the President or because he received honorary doctorates from 40 universities and was awarded the coveted civilian awards padma bhushan, padma vibhushan and the bharat ratna BUT because he was someone who connected to people on a more humane side. He broke the stereotypical mindset that Science wasnt fun or scientists are serious about who they are
I had a fantasy of meeting him someday, asking him about his hairstyle and asking him about his journey with Poetry which I believe kept the child , the youth inside him alive. To me he will always be Action Personified Jewel Abdul Kalam.
Courage to think differently
Courage to invent
Courage to travel the unexplored path
Courage to discover the impossible
Courage to conquer the problems and succeed
This was the dream of Dr Abdul Kalam for the youth of India. Let us work towards making his dream a reality. That would be a fitting tribute to this great extraordinary human being.

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Pooja Guhan

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