People’s President

>The Editorial (July 29) summed up how A.P.J. Abdul Kalam has been a source of inspiration to many. It reminded me of the time when he visited St. Berchmans College, Chaganacherry, on July 29, 2005, to meet our students. In fact, a team from the college had met the President and invited him to inaugurate an international seminar. However, he expressed his inability to be there but promised to meet the students later. The first question raised by one of our students was: “Do you want to be remembered as the President of India or as a scientist?” His answer amazed us: “I want to be known as a nice human being.”

Stephen Mathews,

Changanacherry, Kerala

One of the well-known anecdotes about Mr. Kalam is the one where he was about to address a huge gathering of students. A student asked him: “Sir, what in your opinion is the unity of religions all about?” The prompt answer: “The lamp here on the stage points to a Hindu; the candle with which it will be lit denotes a Christian, and the person who will be lighting it shortly is a Muslim.”

R. Sivakumar,


“The President arrives!” This was the first announcement I made as the compère at an austere function in Kerala. Mr. Kalam was the chief guest at the inauguration of the centenary celebrations of our CSI Immanuel Church. I still remember the security screening in the run-up to the function and my write-up for the programme being revised by the Deputy Collector, Ms. Mini Antony. I am now the mother of a two-year-old and I am waiting for the right opportunity to narrate the incident to her and asking her to dream big.

Dhanya George,

Ras al-Khaimah, UAE

I still remember the occasion when Mr. Kalam replied to my mail which I had sent to his office. I had asked him to advise me on the contributions I could make to society as a student. I didn’t think he would reply but I was proved wrong. His letter said: “The most important contribution would be to excel in your studies.”

Anand S. Unni,


I recall Mr. Kalam’s four-day visit to the Sultanate of Oman in 2009 that left a lasting impression on the Indian community, 6,000 Omani schoolchildren and students of other nationalities — as an apolitical leader of standing, an intellectual and a good friend of masses. His vision for India and the world, his passion for the causes he espoused, his admiration for teachers and his inspiring leadership left an indelible mark.

Usha Devi Rao Suddapalli,

Muscat, Sultanate of Oman

Our code of editorial values

Related Topics
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Jun 23, 2021 3:30:14 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/letters/peoples-president/article7478105.ece

Next Story