Published On : Tue, Jul 28th, 2015

Last Image and Video of Kalam collapsing during a lecture in Shillong



Shillong:  The People’s President passes away with his boots on…

A series of somber black limousines driving into the airport as the special plane carrying mortal remains of past President Abdul Kalam lands in Delhi . The President Pranab Mukherjee is there to pay last respects; so is the PM, Narendra Modi, the Defense Minister, chiefs of Army… a phalange of soldiers. The whole picture is coloured in black, grey and traces of blue. I do not recollect any other past President getting such a ceremonial and heart felt farewell. And why not? This is our way of commemorating the life and times of Dr. Abdul Kalam, who was so much more than just a ‘Missiles Man’!
Mr. Kalam, the country’s 11th President, was one of India’s most eminent scientists, and had the unique honour of receiving honorary doctorates from 30 universities and institutions.


Former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, widely acclaimed as the “people’s President”, passed away  during a lecture at the Indian Institute of Management in Shillong. Ironically and tragically, he was going to be speaking on the topic “Making the world more Liveable”.

At around 6.30 pm, just as Dr Kalam had clicked past the first two slides at IIM Shillong, he collapsed — 75 minutes later, it was official. “All efforts were made but Dr A P J Abdul Kalam could not be revived,” the Bethany Hospital said in a statement. His last words were to a soldier who had enquired, as Dr. Kalam alighted from the car ” are you well sir?”

“I am fine, thank you! ” Dr. Kalam had replied, shaking the man’s hands.

Mr. Kalam (83), who was President between 2002 and 2007, took the lead in the conduct of India’s nuclear tests in May 1998 and was later fielded as the National Democratic Alliance candidate by then Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee.  In a country growing young, President Kalam’s rise from a lab to the scientific establishment to Rashtrapati Bhavan had earned him the title Missile Man no doubt, but no one could doubt that he was a man of peace.

One of his most famous quotations was:”Look at the sky. We are not alone. The whole universe is friendly to us and conspires only to give the best to those who dream and work”

He also believed  “. If a country is to be corruption free and become a nation of beautiful minds, I strongly feel there are three key societal members who can make a difference. They are the father, the mother and the teacher.”

Dr. Kalam redefined the Presidency, and with his frugal living and high thinking made the Rashtrapati Bhawan a place where intellectuals, common people and specially children could visit and be made to feel at home.

He was a Scientist par excellence, but he was much more than that as a human being. He made even sports persons feel cherished, respected and encouraged with his presence and his attitude to them. I have seen Doctors and Physicians of world renown behave like kids with their favorite film star in his presence!

This great but humble man, kept living in the national limelight even after he had stopped being the President: in our collective hearts we did not give his place to any successor. He, too continued with his work of inspiring and motivating not just Indians but the world community at large.

Finally, he literally died with his boots on! What more could a Karmayogi like him want?

Let us pay tribute to him by remembering his message to youth:

My message, especially to young people is to have courage to think differently, courage to invent, to travel the unexplored path, courage to discover the impossible and to conquer the problems and succeed. These are great qualities that they must work towards. This is my message to the young people.