Special prayers by family members, floral tributes by people of all walks of life and distribution of sweets marked the 86th birth anniversary celebration of former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam at his memorial at Pei Karumbu in Rameswaram on Sunday.
Led by A.P.J.M. Maraikayar, elder brother of Kalam, family members offered special prayers at Kalam’s samadhi and paid floral tributes by placing wreaths. ‘Alim’ Abdul Rahman, the priest of Rameswaram Mosque, conducted the prayers.
The family members then distributed Kalam’s favourite ‘nei laddu’ and chocolates to students, who turned up in large numbers to pay tributes to the former President.
Minister for Information Technology M. Manikandan, accompanied by Collector S. Natarajan, Superintendent of Police Omprakash Meena and Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) Estate Manager Col. Dubey, placed a wreath on the samadhi.
Paying glowing tributes to Kalam, Manikandan said recognising the ‘Missile Man’s’ contribution to science and technology, former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa had announced an award in his name and his birth anniversary was being observed as ‘Youth Renaissance Day’.
He exhorted students to dream big and give shape to Kalam’s ‘Vision 2020’. ‘Dr APJ Abdul Kalam International Foundation’ organised 86 events in Rameswaram, Chennai and Delhi, coinciding with the birth anniversary.
A.P.J.M.J. Sheik Saleem, Kalam’s grand nephew and one of the trustees of the foundation, in a press release from Delhi, said President Ramnath Kovind received ‘Kalam Sandesh Vahini’, an exhibition bus flagged off by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Rameswaram on July 27.
After paying floral tributes to Kalam, the President hosted tea to underprivileged students drawn from various parts of the country and addressed them, he said.
Vice-President M. Venkaiah Naidu flagged off ‘Clean and Green India’ rally that focussed on Kalam’s ‘Vision 2020’ and cut a cake. Around 3,000 school and college students participated in the rally, he said.