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He developed ballistic missiles at the ISRO; He was the pioneer Scientist of projects Agni and Prithvi; He was India’s President for 5 years; He authored remarkable books like India 2020, Ignited Minds, Mission India, Inspiring Thoughts and The Luminous Sparks; He has numerous awards to his name including Bharat Ratna, Padma Bhushan, Padma Vibhushan and many more; He was a visiting professor in various institutes like IIM-A and IIM-I; He was a lot of things but above all he was a true inspiration to masses in India. 

What will you like to be remembered for? President, Scientist, Writer, Missile man, India 2020, Target 3 billion…. What?’ I thought I had made the question easier by giving options, but he sprang on me a surprise. ‘Teacher'”, he said.

This is an excerpt from a conversation between Abdul Kalam and his advisor, Srijan Pal Singh. In an unimpeachable post from Singh after the Missile Man’s demise, he shared some lasting memories of the President and him from the last few weeks of their time together.

On the 27th July, 2015, Abdul Kalam along with Singh travelled for five hours in flight and car to arrive at IIM-Shillong to give a lecture. He was typically enthusiastic for student lectures and never wanted to keep the students waiting. As Singh pinned his mike, Abdul Kalam said in a jovial mood, “Funny guy, are you doing well?” Two minutes into the speech, there was a long pause and then he fell down.

“His hands clenched, curled onto my finger. There was stillness on his face and those wise eyes were motionlessly radiating wisdom. He never said a word. He did not show pain, only purpose was visible. In five minutes we were in the nearest hospital. In another few minutes they indicated the missile man had flown away, forever. I touched his feet, one last time,” Singh wrote.

We mourn for the loss the nation has sustained but more than that, we celebrate the life he lived. He was a great Scientist, a motivational leader and a humble good man. We will remember his mission of an educated and corruption-free India. We will have impossible dreams and make them possible.

In his own words:

Great dreams of great dreamers are always transcended. All of us do not have equal talent. But , all of us have an equal opportunity to develop our talents.

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