Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam was not only a great nuclear scientist and the erstwhile Preisent of India, but deep within he was a simple man who was extremely down to earth and kind. Often called as ‘People’s President’, Dr. Kalam will always be highly respected for his humility and generosity. Dr. Kalam was born in a lower middle class family of Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu. He started working at an early age by distributing newspapers in different locations. Later, he joined the prestigious Madras Institute of Technology for studying Aerospace Engineering and thereafter his focus and dedication in whatever he undertook gave him a legendary stature in life and exemplary place in the hearts of millions of people. Let us look at some of the incidents that reflect the greatness of his thoughts and simplicity of his action:
1. Once, Dr. Kalam rejected the suggestion to put broken glass on the wall of a building that needed protection. Why? Because broken glass would be harmful for birds!
2. As President, often Dr. Kalam’s office would receive requests from youngsters for a meeting with the country’s first citizen. Not only would Dr. Kalam meet the kids in his personal chambers at the Rashtrapati Bhavan, but he would also give them his precious time, “listen” to their ideas and provide feedback to the kids. On occasions, the President would follow up with such kids asking about the status of the ideas they discussed!
3. Soon after it was declared that Dr. Kalam would be the next President, he visited a modest school to deliver a speech. His security detail was minimal, and while Speaking to around 400 students, Dr. Kalam ensured the power cut didn’t cause any interruption. He walked right in the middle of the crowd and asked the students to surround him. He then spoke to 400 students with his bare voice and delivered, like always, an inspiring keynote.
4. Dr. Kalam has given up all his life savings and salaries to a trust he founded named PURA (Providing Urban Amenities to Rural Areas).