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A tribute to Kalam as he prepares to depart

india Updated: Jun 13, 2007 11:16 IST

IANS
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Even as the Indian political class prepares to bid goodbye to him, President APJ Abdul Kalam has won lavish praise from a doctor author for his intellectual standing.

After a 15-minute interaction at Rashtrapati Bhavan, Surender Singh, assistant professor in the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), came out of the meeting on Tuesday wowed by the scientist-president.

"My god, what a man he is!" said Surinder Singh, who met Kalam in connection with "Pharmacology for Dentistry", his latest and fourth book which he submitted to the president for reading.

"I was amazed to see that the president had thoroughly gone through the 500-page book and was ready with questions," the doctor told IANS. "He had studied it so well that it looked a year-old book when actually it came out so recently.

"He had marked several pages, he had prepared a six-page summary of the book and he even pointed out what he felt were shortcomings in the book!"

Surinder Singh said he had wanted to ask the president what he would do after the end of his five-year presidency in July.

"But I never got a chance. The president was so engrossed with the book and was so very intimate with all of us that our meeting ended before we even realized it.

"I never sent my book to any politician. When we have an intellectual president, why settle for anyone else?"

Those who accompanied Surinder Singh to the president were his wife, his son, YK Gupta, head of pharmacology at AIIMS, as well as Arun Yadav, an orthopaedic surgeon.

So does Surinder Singh have a comment on Kalam's presidency?

Like many who seem to disagree with India's political class that does not want to give another tenure to Kalam, Surinder Singh said: "I wish he remains the president. Where can you get a man like him?"