Friday, 31 July 2015

People from Far off Places Attended Dr Kalam’s Last Rites

Introduction

The mortal remains of former Indian President Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam were laid to rest on July 30, 2015 with full state honours at his hometown Rameshwaram, which is an island town in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, India. The burial event was witnessed by over one lakh people. This is an unprecedented development when compared to what was seen during the burial of the former Presidents in the past. This truly showed how popular was this great soul while he was alive. This is the reason why he is considered as “People’s President” by many in the country.

people's president

Testimony of Dr Kalam’s Popularity

Wherever he went, Dr APJ Abdul Kalam endeared the people without looking at their profile. He easily interacted with people ranging from common men, students, research scholars to fellow scientists, political luminaries and statesmen. That was the reason why he had a wide fan following in the country.  This is reflected in the sheer number of people who attended the final farewell of the departed soul. His fans came in buses, trains, and boats to reach in time to have the last glimpse of the fellow they liked most. They all walked into Rameshwaram from July 29, 2015 onwards and occupied whatever accommodation that was available to them. Some people who were interviewed told that they spend the night before the burial on the pavements without worrying about the accommodation. This shows the level of regard these people had towards Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam. Many people poured in from neighbouring states of Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. There were many people from North India as well to catch the final glimpse of the departed leader. There were some people who have come all the way from the United States of America as well.

mortal remains of Kalam

Hardship Fans Endured to See Funeral

Due to the immense popularity, the political leaders cutting across the party lines had to make their presence known before the large gatherings. Many high profile political luminaries made their presence known in the funeral. Due to this reason, the common man, including fans, had to trudge the last few miles in sweltering heat. They were made to alight from their vehicles a few kilometres away from the burial ground which was allocated for this purpose by the Tamil Nadu government. The state government is planning to convert this 1-acre ground into a memorial in the name of Dr. Abdul Kalam in Rameshwaram in Tamil Nadu, India. Despite this hardship, the admirers had resolutely reached the Pei Karumbu ground – the chosen burial site for Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam. The preceding night, the hotels and other lodgings in Rameshwaram were full with the visitors. Due to the non-availability of accommodation, some even slept on the roads.

kalam fans

Last Journey

After keeping the body of Dr APJ Abdul Kalam for the public to play its last respect on the ground just opposite to the Rameshwaram bus stand, it was brought to his ancestral home at 10 PM on July 29, 2015. On the burial day (July 30, 2015), the casket containing the mortal remains of the “People’s President” was brought out from his ancestral home at 9:30 AM – House of Kalams – draped in a traditional green shawl for the final prayer at the local mosque. The casket was carried by the personnel of the tri-services.  The body was then draped in flowers and covered with the national flag for its final journey. The decked casket containing the body is then placed in a carriage towed by the decorated military vehicle. The carriage was then transported to the burial site in accompaniment of the members of Army, Navy and Air Force. En route the funeral procession was greeted by the waiting people with tricolour flags. They showed their respect by shouting the slogan “Bharat Mata Ki Jai”.

last journey

Thuruvananthapuram Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu 623526, India