The family members of Dr.A.P.J.Abdul Kalam under the banner of “House of Kalam” has created a Trust by the name “Dr APJ Abdul Kalam International Foundation“. The inauguration of the trust happened today evening in a simple yet motivating event in Chinmaya Heritage Centre. The entire family of Dr.Kalam participated, with Maestro Ilayaraja launching the logo of the foundation.
Dr.Kalam’s elder son Mr.Maraikayar’s grandson Sheik Dawood presented the objectives of the foundation which aims to help research and foster innovation in the areas of Water Conservation, Environment, Education, Farming and more. Mr.V.Ponraj, scientist and a long term associate of Dr.Kalam eloquently narrated a summary of Dr.Kalam’s career.
Many of Dr.Kalam’s colleagues recalled their moment with the former President of India, his simplicity, dedication and love for the country. In one occasion many years ago when a team headed by Dr.Kalam was visiting islands off coast of Orissa for selecting a missile launch site while returning to shore from what’s now Abdul Kalam Island (Wheelers Island) the boat they were travelling broke down due to engine failure, it was late evening and while others were worried for their life Dr.Kalam requested that since all the planners for the project are on board why don’t they spend time preparing a blueprint for next 5 years, such was the dedication of the missile man. In another occasion former PM Sri P.V.Narasimha Rao not willing to relieve Dr.Kalam from active duty made him Principal Scientific Advisor with an office and two senior staff, it was meant to be a honorary role with no defined duties. Not one to sit idle, with this limited manpower he and his office conducted over 5000+ interviews across the country and prepared a 23 volume Vision 2020 document. The 4 hours I spent listening to many such incidents was super inspiring and motivating. I felt proud to be an Indian and to have born in Tamil Nadu, the state that produced the likes of Dr.Kalam.
In such an event it was my privilege that the family invited me to speak. I recalled the three occasions that I was fortunate to have got to meet Dr.A.P.J.Abdul Kalam. First was in 2010 at his Delhi residence where he told me about how his whole family is known for their loyalty, hearing the words made me speechless for the next several minutes. The second was in 2014 when the former President of India graced with an address in our Office celebrations and administered an oath that “I will work with integrity and succeed with Integrity“. The last and final time I met him was early this year (2015) when I met him with my family at Madras Raj Bhavan when he spent over 20 minutes talking to my 12-year-old son about his school and teachers.
I tabled few requests to the trustees – to develop a science museum in Rameswaram where kids can touch/feel/play/put together the items in the display; to make available to the public to read freely the 20,000+ books that Dr.Kalam had in his personal library.