A pall of gloom descended on this island and the ‘House of Kalam’ — the ancestral home of former President A P J Abdul Kalam — as television channels broke the news of the death of the town’s most famous son.
As the news spread, people made their way to visit the grief-stricken family and offer their condolences. A mosque near Dr Kalam’s house shut its doors to mourn his demise. Mr. Kalam had spoken to his family from Delhi on Sunday night and enquired about the health of his 99-year-old brother A.P.J.M. Maraikayar, his grandnephew Sheik Saleem said.
“Grandpa called and enquired about the medicine and food being given to ‘Periya thatha’ ,” Mr Saleem told The Hindu .
Dr Kalam’s brother was in shock over the news, Mr Saleem said. “He is extremely grieved and remained speechless,” he said, adding that the “family members and people of the island want Dr Kalam’s body to be brought here for burial.”
When contacted, Collector K Nanthakumar said he has not received any information about bringing the body here nor was there any instruction on making arrangements for the family to travel to Delhi.
Mr Kalam who rarely visited the island, returned for a family reunion on June 1 last year after a gap of nine years, to celebrate his brother’s 98th birthday celebrations.