Monday, 27 July 2015
The news of the sudden demise of Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, India’s beloved former President, has left me in a state of shock and sorrow. He served Mother India literally until the last breath of his life. He was truly a karma yogi par excellence.
I always regarded Dr Kalam as the best exemplar of the Idea of India, one who embodied the best of all the cultural and spiritual traditions that signify India’s unity in immense diversity. This was most strikingly evident in the last book he wrote, presciently titled ‘Transcendence: My Spiritual Experiences with Pramukh Swami’. I was present at the launch function of this book at Akshardham in New Delhi.
Dr. Kalam’s personality uniquely harmonised science and spirituality. As the President of India, he also harmonised the agendas of security and development. His belief that India would become a Developed Nation by 2020 inspired millions of Indians. He was a lifelong learner and a lifelong teacher. He was also unparalleled in his ability to motivate young minds.
I had known Dr. Kalam very closely during, and also after, the six-year rule of the NDA when Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the Prime Minister. He graciously released my autobiography in 2008.
Dr. Kalam’s demise has left a void in our national life, which cannot be filled. Nevertheless, he will be affectionately remembered by generations to come as an ideal Indian.
I offer my heartfelt condolences to members of his immediate family. May his soul rest in peace.