Kalam memorial: A befitting tribute to ‘missile man’ who became ‘people’s President’
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Kalam memorial: A befitting tribute to ‘missile man’ who became ‘people’s President’

The memorial built by the Defence Research and Development Organisation showcases India’s unity in diversity.

india Updated: Jul 27, 2017 17:05 IST
KV Lakshmana
KV Lakshmana
Hindustan Times, Rameswaram
APJ Abdul Kalam,Narendra Modi,Missile man
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday inaugurated a memorial dedicated to former President APJ Abdul Kalam in Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu (HT File Photo )

Kalam memorial, or mani mandapam, that Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated in Tamil Nadu’s Rameswaram on Thursday, showcases India’s unity in diversity in a befitting tribute to a man who ignited minds and provided wings to youths.

Built by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), where former President APJ Abdul Kalam spent many years of his life developing missiles, the memorial drew architectural inspiration from different national landmarks such as Rashtrapati Bhavan and India Gate.

Rajasthani Shekhawati paintings and Chettinad crafts from Tamil Nadu’s Tanjavur on its wooden doors and a replica of Agni, the intercontinental ballistic missile he built, blended arts and science—reflecting two aspects of Kalam’s persona.

If the main entrance doors have the artwork from Tanjavur, the stone claddings used were brought from Jaisalmer in Rajasthan and Agra in Uttar Pradesh; marbles from Karnataka and murals from Hyderabad in Telangana, Santiniketan in West Bengal and Chennai in Tamil Nadu.

Among the personal belongings of the “missile man” on display are his famous Rudra Veena (musical instrument) and G-suit he wore while flying on Su-30 MKI fighter aircraft. Twelve walls have been utilized for murals and paintings.

The memorial has come up at the burial site of the former President at Pei Karambu in Ramanathapuram district, close to Rameswaram temple town from where he hailed.

It’s located a few kilometers away from the Shiva temple in Rameshwaram, also known as the Kashi of the South.

Rameswaram is located on Pamban Island separated from mainland India by the Pamban channel and is about 40 kilometers from Mannar Island, Sri Lanka. It is situated in the Gulf of Mannar, at the very tip of the Indian peninsula.

There are four main halls in the memorial, where moments of Kalam’s life and times have been documented in pictures. Hall-1 focuses on his childhood and educational phase, Hall-2 the Presidential days, including addresses to parliament and UN Council, Hall-3 his ISRO and DRDO days and Hall-4 provides glimpses of his retired life till he passed away in Shillong in Meghalaya.

The sprawling memorial has been constructed at a cost of around Rs 20 crore spread over an area of 2.11 acre.

The foundation stone for the memorial was laid on Kalam’s first death anniversary on July 27, 2016.

The bhoomi puja was held on Kalam’s 85th birth anniversary on October 15, 2016 in the presence of the then defence minister Manohar Parikar and the then urban development minister M Venkaiah Naidu.

The memorial was built at a breakneck pace and it was completed within less than a year.

First Published: Jul 27, 2017 12:21 IST