Kochi: The family has not been able to fill the vacuum yet but the members heave a deep sigh knowing that the loss is not just that of the family but of the entire nation.
A year after his death, former President and visionary A.P.J. Abdul Kalam haunts the young and old alike with vivid memories and inspiring words. And his grand nephew A.P.J.M.J. Sheikh Saleem says no one can replace Kalam, which is what the entire nation feels.
Mr Saleem was in Kochi to attend the Kalam memorial meeting titled ‘Kalam Smrtihi’ convened by the Vikram Sarabhai Science Initiative on Saturday, when a dance drama by 100 students of MET School, Perumbavoor, based on ‘Wings of Fire’ was staged. “I am overwhelmed. Tears fill my eyes when I understand that Kalam still fills the minds of children,” Mr Saleem said after the staging of the dance drama.
The first death anniversary of Kalam on July 27 will be commemorated on a grand scale at Rameswaram, his birth place, he said. “A six-feet statue of Kalam will be unveiled near his burial place. The foundation stone for a memorial house for Kalam will be laid by Defence Minister Manohar Parikkar which will be attended by another Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu. The work on a knowledge centre also will be launched on the occasion,” he said.
In the evening, 10,000 youngsters will take out a knowledge rally from Pamban Bridge to Kalam memorial under the APJ International Foundation while one lakh saplings will be planted across Tamil Nadu to carry forward the memory of the humanist-scientist. “Over 2,000 people visit Kalam memorial every day, which is situated on the national highway. The ground floor of his ancestral home is used by relatives while the first floor has been turned into a gallery with photos and other depictions on the life of Kalam and his presidency,” said Mr Saleem.