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The Last Lecture of the ‘Modern Rishi’

On the 26th day of July 2015, as per the daily routine, the former president APJ Abdul Kalam rises at 4 in the morning and goes for a two-hour walk from his post-presidency residence 10 Rajaji marg, New Delhi.

He was continuously worried and thoughtful over the disturbance prevailing in the monsoon session of parliament that year. Alongside, he was planning his lecture to be imparted the next day at the Indian Institute of Management at Shilong. In his post-presidency period, he had re-joined the education sector for imparting knowledge which he mastered in his whole career.

After returning back to home, he told his student Srijan Pal Singh to arrange a surprise assignment for the students of IIM Shillong related to developing such a concept which can avoid such hindrances in the parliament.

The next day, all was set. In his very known appearance, wearing a navy blue Kalam suit, at 12 noon, Kalam and his company Srijan Pal boarded on plane. After five hours of travel they were at the IIM Shilong.

As he entered the lecture hall, he found himself uncomfortable as he climbed up the stairs but after a short rest he took the hold of podium and said, “Students must never be made to wait.”

He started presenting his ideas on “Creating a Liveable Planet Earth”. He had prepared a precise lecture, addressing all the problems before the world, reasons behind them and how to tackle them. An invaluable lecture which would had changed the thinking of the listening students, but something else was planned by the destiny.

He addressed the achievements of IIMs. He was into the second minute of his lecture, he took a long pause unlike his usual addressing style and suddenly he collapsed. The missile man of India, people’s president left the world. He used to say that a man is lucky if he is dead while working.

It was the demise of the “Modern Rishi”. All the qualities a sage can impart in himself were mastered by Kalam. He was brought up in a poor family, sold newspapers at an early age, was once called an average student but never he left learning and “tapasya”.

He worked hard and never claimed his earnings for it. He had a chance to leave India, but he didn’t. He worked for the motherland. All he kept was 2500 books, a wrist watch, six shirts, four trousers, three suits and a pair of shoes. He could have been married but decided not to and serve the society.

He had mastered “tapasya” and achieved whatever wanted or assigned to achieve except becoming a fighter pilot because he ranked nine in the qualifiers and vacancies were only eight. He established India as a world leader in space and made India self-reliant in defence sector by making it a nuclear power.

He knew how to avoid “Rajsi bhog”. He never laid back in rest. Retired from DRDO, he was asked to lead nuclear mission. He did not hesitate a bit. Retired from there he joined back his teaching lifestyle at the Anna university in Tamil Nadu. This time he was asked to be the president of the republic. He accepted but not to enjoy Raisina hills but to serve the people in ideal manner. After just one tenure, he realised his job was done, left the Rashtrapati Bhawan and again joined teaching lifestyle.

He decided to guide the nation to the fullest of his knowledge and wrote many books including: Wings of Fire, Ignited Minds, Vision 2020, etc. In his last time also, he was working on “Advantage India”.

Kalam was continuous imparting knowledge to students as he loved being a teacher. In his last time, when Srijan asked him that what he wanted to be remembered for, Kalam smiled and told him “teacher”.

Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam was a combined force of Sage Dadhichi, Sage Markandyeya and Sage Vyasa. He put his life and body on line for society, mastered “tapasya” and set up an example of an ideal Guru. This Guru Purnima let’s take a resolution to follow the “Modern Rishi” APJ Abdul Kalam on his third demise anniversary.

Devanshu Mittal

Devanshu is a Mass Communication student from VIPS, IP University.

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