Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology and Swadesi Science Movement organized a gathering to remember Dr. A P J Kalam at M R Das Hall in the Campus I of RGCB at 11 in the morning of August 10, 2015. Dr. G Madhavan Nair, the former Chairman of Indian Space Research Organization, Professor M Radhakrishna Pillai, the Director of RGCB, Dr. Suresh Das, Executive Vice President of KSCSTE and Mr. A Jayakumar, Secretary General of Vijnana Bharati were kind enough to share their very close interactions with Dr. Kalam on personal and professional grounds.
Professor Pillai reminisced Dr. Kalam’s words during his visits to RGCB in 2002 and 2005 during his presidential tenure that he had shared with RGCB blog before. Dr. Suresh Das mentioned how moved he was with the various anecdotes validating Dr. Kalam’s simplicity, humility, leadership qualities and team spirit over and again. Dr. Kalam always wanted his team to be very productive for which he ensured that his team members always had the best environment to work. “There couldn’t be a much better way for Dr. Kalam to leave this earth but while talking to youth about saving earth and making this planet a better place to live in.” He mentioned how once Dr. Kalam sent his manager to take the kids of one of his team members to a carnival when their father couldn’t turn up in time, as he was engrossed at work.
Mr. Jayakumar, having interacted with Dr. Kalam on many personal and official occasions, recalled how powerful a thinker he was and how hopeful he always was of India rising up to the most prosperous nation in the world. He made his wonderful observation that Dr. Kalam started his foresighted journey of interacting with the young minds of India, motivating them, guiding them from north-east India in 2002 and by destiny, ended his circle right there itself after traveling all over India with his visions and dreams for over a decade. He urged each and everyone not to just remember Dr. Kalam by repeating his words or remembering his deeds, but to rise above the conventionalities and put his words into practice, materialize his dreams and bring the prosperity, peace and progress to Mother India that Dr. Kalam envisioned.
Dr. Madhavan Nair, who started his career in the team of Dr. Kalam at Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre in 1967, recollected how Dr. Kalam nurtured him into an exemplary technologist. “He always gave us much more work than what we could accomplish in a given time, but always showed us the right path to travel through to achieve those goals on time”; he told why he never had regrets working in Dr. Kalam’s team. Despite unhealthy competition from his contemporaries, Dr. Kalam rose to be an indispensible part of India’s space and defense programs through sheer perseverance, leadership skills and visions. He always ensured an ideal working environment for his team. While working on a high profile project-nearing deadline, Dr. Kalam made all the arrangements for proper medical attention to Dr. Nair’s son who fell ill and calmly broke the news to him only when his son was safe. He emphasized how much more each of us had to learn from the principles and ethics of Dr. Kalam. Even as the President of India, he did not use a penny from the government to entertain his personal guests in Rashtrapathi Bhavan nor did he recommend any of his acquaintances to any jobs, but rather paid his bills from his pocket and urged everyone to earn a job through good education. He concluded with mixed emotions that Dr. Kalam couldn’t be better described with any words but with the verses of “Endaro Mahanubhavulu”, Tyagaraja’s famous Cranatic kriti that Dr. Kalam always used to play on his Veena.