NEW DELHI: Abdul Kalam was an institution-builder and a team leader who always favoured a strong and self-reliant India.
APJ Abdul Kalam always used to say he would like to be remembered as a teacher. When he became the President in 2002, he made no compromise on his penchant for teaching. He grabbed every opportunity to teach students, especially children, wherever he went. Administering a pledge on national development to the youth was his passion.
In an exclusive interview to The Hindu on the occasion of ‘Teachers Day’ on September 5, 2013, the former President said: “If the people remember me as a good teacher, that will be the biggest honour for me.”
Minutes before his end came on Monday, Mr Kalam was teaching students at the Indian Institute of Management, Shillong.
“Teaching is a very noble profession that shapes the character, calibre and future of an individual…youth have a dream and also they have a pain. The pain comes out of their dream; they want to live in a prosperous, happy and peaceful India. This type of student’s environment ignites me and leads me to interact with young minds,” he said in the interview.
Mr Kalam also taught scientists who worked with him. V. Ponraj, a senior scientist of the Aeronautical Development Agency who is associated with the ‘Missile Man’ since 1995, is now the Adviser to the former President.
“I am doing a research on ‘affordable health care through cloud infrastructure,’ and Mr. Kalam is my guide. He suggested that I take this subject and guided me all through. On July 16 this year, the former president spent a couple of hours reviewing my work and asked me to start writing the thesis,” Mr Ponraj told The Hindu on Monday.
Mr Kalam and Mr. Ponraj have authored a few books. The latest one in Tamil titled Puyalai thandinal thendral, yennathil nalam irunthal kanavu Tamilagam malarum is half complete. “We have written seven chapters together. Now, I have to finish this book with his thoughts…he will remain my teacher and guide forever,” Mr Ponraj said.