The mortal remains of former President A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, who died in Shillong on Monday, was brought to the open ground in front of the bus stand in Rameswaram for the public to pay homage.
Official sources said the body would be kept in the ground till 8 p.m. for the public to pay homage. Later, the mortal remains would be handed over to the family members, who would keep it overnight at ‘House of Kalam’.
After prayers at the nearby mosque, the body would be taken in a procession to the funeral site at Pei Karumbu on Thursday morning for the funeral with full state honours, official sources said.
Earlier, a Ministerial team, led by State Finance Minister O Panneerselvam received the body at the Mandapam helipad at 2: 30 p.m, when it was brought in a military helicopter from Madurai Airport.
Later, it was brought by road to the open ground at 3:40 p.m. Kalam’s close aide and senior scientist Ponraj and other family members accompanied the body in the chopper. Officials and Union Ministers M. Venkaiah Naidu, Manohar Parikar and Pon Radhakrishnan came in two separate choppers from Madurai.
After receiving the body along with Collector K Nanthakumar and Superintendent of police N.M. Mylvahanan at the helipad, the Ministers – O Panneerselvam, Natham Viswanathan, Edpadi Palanisamy, R Vaithilingam, Dr S Sundararaj and R B Udayakumar drove down to the open ground and paid floral tributes.
The IAF plane carrying the mortal remains of Mr. Kalam at the Madurai Airport on Wednesday afternoon. Photo: R. Ashok
District Collector L. Subramanian, Minister for Cooperation Sellur K. Raju, Mayor V.V. Rajan Chellappa and Corporation Commissioner C. Kathiravan were among those present at the airport and paid their respects.
Union Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu, Mr. Parrikar and senior BJP leader Shahnawaz Hussain were present at the airport, when the plane took off from New Delhi.
Wrapped in the tri-colour, Kalam’s body was taken to the airport in a gun carriage from his 10 Rajaji Marg residence at 7 a.m., as officials and commoners bid farewell to the man, whose life inspired countless Indians.
Mr. Naidu and Mr. Parrikar are accompanying the mortal remains of Kalam to Rameswaram. Minister of State for Shipping Pon Radhakrishnan, who is from Tamil Nadu, will also join the two Union ministers.
People gather in large numbers at Kalam's Rameswaram house
A large number of people have gathered at former president A.P.J.Abdul Kalam’s house at Rameswaram to pay their last respects, a relative said on Wednesday.
“People in large numbers have assembled at Kalam’s house to pay their last respects,” A.P.J.M.K. Sheik Saleem, the former president’s brother’s grandson told IANS over the phone.
“All our relatives have also come to attend the last rites,” he added.
Modi to attend Kalam's funeral
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be attending the last rites of Kalam in Rameswaram on Thursday.
The Prime Minister will arrive early in the morning and attend the rituals at around 11 am, sources said.
Speaking to reporters Union Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu said some chief ministers are also expected to attend the last rites.
Sundar Subbiah reports from Rameswaram
Tri-services personnel are present at helipad in Mandapam, where the mortal remains of Kalam will be received. Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar will be receiving the body at the Mandapam Helipad.
Kalam's body will be kept at an open ground near Rameswaram bus stand for public viewing. Public can pay homage till 8 p.m. on Wednesday.
MDMK chief Vaiko and Tamil Nadu BJP Chief Tamilisai Soundarrajan are at the Mandapam Helipad to pay their respects to Kalam.
Meanwhile, S. Nagore Roja, grand niece of Dr. Kalam, has expressed concerns over the lack of generator facility in the decorated vehicle that was to carry Kalam's mortal remains.
Ramanathapurm Collector Nanthakumar has promised to make arrangements for the same.
TN declares public holiday on Thursday
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Wednesday said >she won’t attend the funeral of former president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam in Rameswaram on Thursday owing to “health condition”.
“I have great affection and respect for Abdul Kalam. I would like to attend his funeral and pay my respects to him. However, owing to my health condition I am not in a position to travel,” she said
As a mark of respect for Kalam, Thursday would be a public holiday in Tamil Nadu. State Chief Minister Jayalalithaa said following a request from Kalam’s family, government land had been allotted for burying the mortal remains of the former president.
Finance Minister O. Panneerselvam, Electricity Minister Natham R. Viswanathan, Housing Minister R. Vaithilingam and several other ministers will attend the funeral on behalf of the Tamil Nadu government.
The district administration of Rameswaram has selected three places for the funeral and would finalise a place after consulting A. P. J. M. Maraikayar, elder brother of Mr. Kalam and other family members, official sources said.
Three places – a government land at Meyyampuli, near Thangachimadam; a forest land at Natarajapuram near Danushkodi; and a private land of Abil Kabil Dargah have been shortlisted, the sources said.
Although former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam is no more, his Twitter account will continue to be active in a new form.
A team of his close associates has decided to run his official Twitter account, which has now been renamed as ‘In memory of Dr Kalam’. Kalam’s close aide Srijan Pal Singh will act as the administrator of this Twitter account.
'He was always the same Kalam I knew from our college days'
T. Sampath Kumar, a room-mate of Kalam, when he was doing his undergraduation from St. Joseph's College, Tiruchi, recalls he six-decade friendship with the former President. >Read more
Kalam Bengaluru connection
School and college students paying homage to the former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam at a condolence meet in Mangaluru on Tuesday. Photo: K.S. Manjunath.
With numerous research centres and educational institutes, Bengaluru was never far in the calendar of late A.P.J. Abdul Kalam.
In an unassuming apartment complex for Central government employees besides the Airport Road in Yelahanka, the Bharat Ratna winner owned one of the 603 flats. His grandneice Roja lives there now. >Read more
Sri Lanka shares a special relationship with Kalam
T. Ramakrishnan reportsfrom Colombo
The former President, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, shared a special relationship with Sri Lanka. It was not just about the overwhelming response he got from young students here.
Kalam visited Colombo exactly a month before his death. “Sri Lanka is not new to me,” he had told a large gathering of school students at the Bandaranaike Memorial Conference Hall. He recalled how, as a college student in the 1950s, he had visited Anuradhapura often as his maternal uncle lived there.
Smriti Kak Ramachandran
Protocol and procedure are sacrosanct in the Rashtrapati Bhavan, but Dr. Kalam was the unassuming boss, who never made demands. Satish Kumar , who served as Kalam’s butler for five years in Rashtrapati Bhavan, share stories of his generosity and modesty.
Simplicity was his hallmark
S. Vijay Kumar
When Kalam was the President, only once did his family visit Delhi. They travelled in a sleeper class coach from Madurai and a government bus picked them up at the railway station. >Senior scientist V. Ponraj remembers the humane face of Kalam that was never publicised.
Dr. Kalam College
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar declared that a new agriculture college in Kishanganj would be named after him.
The driving force behind stent and lightweight callipers
The light weight callipers and the Kalam-Raju stent, perhaps country’s first fully indigenised and affordable stent for heart patients, were the two innovations dear to Dr.Kalam. Dr. L. Narendranath on how Kalam made affordable lightweight callipers to the polio-stricken. >Read more
A.P.J. Abdul Kalam (1931-2015)
- » 1931: Born Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam on October 15, in Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu.
- » 1954: Graduates in Physics from Saint Joseph's College, Tiruchirappalli, in 1954.
- » 1960: Gains degree in Aeronautical Engineering from Madras Institute of Technology.
- » 1969: Transferred to ISRO from the DRDO.
- » 1980: India enters the space club by putting the Rohini satellite in the near earth orbit with the first indigenous Satellite Launch Vehicle (SLV-III), developed under the stewardship of Dr. Kalam.
- » 1980s-1990s: As the chief of the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme, he was responsible for the development and operationalisation of AGNI and PRITHVI Missiles.
- » 1992-1999: works as Chief Scientific Advisor to the PM and Secretary of the DRDO.
- » 1998: India conducts the Pokhran II nuclear tests in May with Dr. Kalam as the chief project coordinator.
- » 1999-2001: Principal Scientific Advisor to the Government of India.
- » 2002-2007: President of India
The 11th President of India, widely acclaimed as the "people's President", passed away on July 27, 2015 after collapsing during a lecture at the Indian Institute of Management in Shillong.
A look at photos from the archives of The Hindu of the former president.
- Mr. Kalam's recent article in The Hindu talks about neutrino research. >Read here.
- Failed in my dream of becoming pilot: Mr. Kalam says in new book. >Read here.
- Memorabilia of former President at his Rameswaram house attract visitors. >Know more.
- Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam's vision for the nation. A message on Teacher's Day from the former President, >exclusively for The Hindu In School.