Remembering the Missile Man

Updated on Jul 28, 2015 11:50 PM IST

President of India from 2002 to 2007, APJ Abdul Kalam said these words on August 29 last year when he addressed an eager gathering of hundreds of students and teachers at three different city schools in Ludhiana. That was to be his last visit to Punjab.

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Hindustan Times | By, Ludhiana

Missed opportunity by a school in Patiala which had sent an invitation just two days back to former president APJ Abdul Kalam to be a guest speaker; his last visit to Punjab was in August 2014

“I will fly and fly, I am born with potential, I am born with goodness and trust, I am born with ideas and dreams, I am born with greatness, I am born with confidence, I am born with wings. So, I am not meant for crawling, I have wings, I will fly, I will fly and fly.”

President of India from 2002 to 2007, APJ Abdul Kalam said these words on August 29 last year when he addressed an eager gathering of hundreds of students and teachers at three different city schools in Ludhiana. That was to be his last visit to Punjab.

Back then, several students and teachers got the golden chance to interact with the missile man of India, who was not only regarded as one of the country’s greatest scientists but also as one who pushed the boundaries of science in a way so that it could reach the less privileged of the nation.

Fondly referred to as the people’s president, Dr Kalam died of a cardiac arrest on Monday as he addressed a similar gathering in Shillong. Even in death he relied on students for vision 2020.

Just two days before his death, Yadavindra Public School (YPS) in Patiala had sent him an invitation to be the guest speaker at its International School Model United National Conference (ISMUNC) scheduled for November.

Students of the school, who were eager to interact with him, will now never get the opportunity to do so. Dr Kalam was also known for his love of children and books such as Ignited Minds and India 2020 reinforce his sentiments that youth play a major role towards constructive nation building.
“No school could ask for a better chief guest or speaker than Kalam Sir. Every word he uttered was inspiring and thought provoking.

His death was shattering news to all of us who were excited at the prospect of meeting him personally in November,” said Dharminder Singh Kaleka, the head boy of YPS.

Dharminder further said, “All of us along with our teachers will always regret that we were a little too late in inviting him to our school. It would have been a great opportunity for students from abroad who are taking part in the conference to just listen to him.”

When it comes to the world of social networking, young netizens from across the world have shared his greatness, his pictures, famous quotes and a lot more to express their condolences.

Young Preet Amol Singh shared a picture of a letter he had written to Dr Kalam on education and the need for scholarships for underprivileged students.

His note says, “Found a letter that I wrote to the former president of India Dr APJ Abdul Kalam. His contribution and dedication towards India will always be remembered and nothing can fill this void. I love your books, especially India 2020 and Wings of Fire.”

Another youngster Harjot Singh Sidhu wrote on his Facebook page about Kalam’s Vision 2020.

“He (Kalam) wished India should be developed country one day, so the real tribute to missile man, the people’s president will be if we all ensure that his vision 2020 dream is accomplished.”

Meanwhile, people who were lucky enough to have met him in the past shared their pictures on social networking sites.

Most of them captioned these pictures saying, ‘God may have taken him away from this world but he will remain in everyone’s heart forever!’


    Rameshinder Singh Sandhu is a staff reporter based in Ludhiana. He mainly covers administration, besides writing on agriculture, lifestyle trends, culture and travel.

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