After 5-Months, Bereaved ‘Missile Man’ Has No Mausoleum


Rameswaram: It’s been almost five months since the demise of former President of India Dr APJ Abdul Kalam and his burial at Pei Karumbu in Rameswaram in Ramanathapuram district of Tamil Nadu, with even Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself paying respects.

However, Kalam’s kabr or burial place remains neglected as no work for the proposed memorial to be built on the site has started.

At present, a make-shift shelter has been set up around Kalam’s kabr, which is protected by the local police.

Anantha Krishnan, a senior aerospace and defence journalist, has now started a Facebook campaign called “Justice4GuruKalam” seeking “a befitting memorial built at ‪#‎GuruKalam’s resting place”.

“Rameswaram is a cyclone prone area and the temporary structure can fall apart anytime. Why is there a delay in even building a decent structure on his kabr? It is not rocket science,” Krishnan says.

While the Tamil Nadu government has allotted 1.5 acres of land to construct a memorial for Kalam on the burial site, several Union Ministers met last month to discuss various proposals for the memorial. However, no final decision seems to have been made on this issue yet.

“Five months after his death, the ‘People’s President’ is resting under a tin-shed,” says Krishnan.

The temple town of Rameswaram attracts a significant flow of visitors, especially during the weekend. And with the House of Kalam and now his burial site in the area, Krishnan says, it has almost become “like a tourist package” for people.

Krishnan spoke to both the MP and MLA from Ramanathapuram, but says they are playing the “blame game” and that there is “politics involved” in it.

MP Anwar Raja told OneIndia that the TN government had done its bit by allocating the land for the memorial and that now it is the Centre’s turn to build it.

And according to MLA Dr MH Jawahirullah, the site “should not be just a memorial alone” and that “Besides the kabar, there should be a library, science centre and healthcare centre” as well. He too said that the Centre needed to start work on it.

The family of Kalam is also disappointed at the sheer negligence of the government.

“Several members of his family have been buried at a private place which is maintained by the family. It is only because Kalam was a public figure that they agreed to have him buried at a spot which people could visit and where they could pay their respects. The family can’t guard it, the government has to do it” says Krishnan.