Former President late APJ Abdul Kalam was co-authoring a book on education with a leading educationist in Maharashtra. "I will miss my most lovable friend. Kalam was my role model," Ashok Vikhe Patil, chairman of Vikhe Patil Foundation, with whom Kalam was co-authoring the book, said.
The foundation runs 102 educational institutes in Maharashtra. "Kalam's wish of writing a book on education along with me could not be fulfilled. We had started working on the book.
We spoke on why Indian education is not internationally accepted as we don't have a single university among top 200 in the world," he said.
"The second point we wanted to focus was why several Indian graduates are not employed. He felt skill development was important from school level," Patil said.
He further said, "In his book Ignited, Kalam devoted eight pages about my work in health and medical education sector."
"There were only two persons in my life who were my role models. The other was Padmashree Vithalrao Vikhe Patil, my grandfather," he added.
Vithalrao Vikhe Patil started Asia's first co-operative sugar factory at Loni in Maharashtra. Vikhe Patil said Kalam celebrated his (Kalam's) birthday at Loni in Ahmednagar district in 2005 with handicapped children.
The former President gave 1,150 such children clippers made from lightweight material, he added. Patil recalled that on July 4 last year, Kalam had visited the Vikhe Patil Memorial School and interacted with students.
Patil said he had requested Kalam to visit the school to interact with them as they view him as the only role model for the young generation.
"Kalam could feel the pulse of the new generation and guide them to realise their dreams and goals," he said.
"His last visit to our campus was on January 5 this year, to celebrate the golden jubilee of the Pravara Rural Education Society," he added.
The former President died at Bethany Hospital, Shillong, Meghalaya on Monday after he collapsed during a lecture at the IIM.