Indians in Oman mourn Abdul Kalam's demise
July 28, 2015 | 10:20 PM
by Mrudu Naik
Kalam, who visited Oman in 2009, left a lasting impression on the members of the Indian community and the children he addressed. During his stay in Oman he also interacted with Omani school children.

Muscat: Indians in Oman mourned the passing away of the country’s much loved former president Dr APJ Abdul Kalam who suffered a heart attack and died while delivering a lecture at a management institute in the Eastern Indian city of Shillong on Monday.

Kalam, who visited Oman in 2009, left a lasting impression on the members of the Indian community and the children he addressed. During his stay in Oman he also interacted with Omani school children.

P V Venkatesh, former president, Indian Social Club, Tamil Wing said, “It is very sad to hear that Dr Kalam is no more. We had the unique privilege of hosting him in Muscat in the year 2009 .Those were the most cherished and remembered days of my life. His vision for India and the world, his passion for the cause he espoused, his profound happiness when he interacted with children, his admiration for teachers, finally his inspired leadership, truly a statesman par excellence.”

Venkatesh recalled during his four day visit to Muscat among various others he met and interacted with more than 6000 children from all nationalities and made them take the pledge for nation development.

“His call for increased care and attention for Children with Special needs in Oman was one of the inspirations for The Apex Centre for Special Children which is now operational,” explained Venkatesh.

Venkatesh fondly recalls his special words during his address to the youth of Oman - “I am as young as my faith and as old as my doubt. Hence, I will light up then, the lamp of faith in my heart.”

“His life and his thoughts are truly inspirational,” he said.

Anil Wadhwa, present secretary (East), India’s Ministry of External Affairs who was the ambassador of Oman when Kalam visited the Sultanate said, “With the passing away of Dr Kalam we have lost a humanist and a visionary who loved his country and his people dearly. He contributed immensely to the Indian society through science, his writings and his interest in education and consequent upliftment of the common citizen of the country. He was humble yet firm and articulate, he was compassionate yet a stickler for law or the land and rules of governance which are important for a diverse country like India to progress.”

Wadhwa added, “he carved out a niche for himself in the post of president where he interacted with the top leadership of the world as well as young and students with equal ease. His vision of empowerment of the youth and building solid institutions will endure forever. Indian nationals living in Muscat will remember him from the time he visited there a few years ago and interacted with all sections of the society. The greatest tribute we can pay to him would be to follow his path for progress and prosperity of India.”

Saying that “excellence is a continuous process and not an accident, exemplifies Kalam’s life, Dr Narayan Ramachandran said, “his rise from a humble beginning to becoming the first citizen of India serves as an inspiration for all who dare to dream. I had the good fortune of meeting him twice in 2002 in India and once in 2009 when he visited Muscat. I still remember his advice to doctors, “compassion is fundamental to the medical profession” and “patients should be the most important persons in hospitals and should feel that he/she is going to get cured”. He died what he loved the best – “delivering a lecture to students.”

Ahmed Rayees, president, school management committee, Indian School Ghubra is someone who had got the opportunity to interact with Kalam a number of times.

“Each time I was impressed by his wisdom and vision. On one such occasion, I met him with my sons' and my father, when he was the President of India at his official residence. We had an appointment of 10 minutes and it lasted for more than half an hour. He was enjoying every minute he interacted with my children. The officials reminded him a number of times that he needed to close the session. He just waved them off and continued. The interaction with my children hovered from India's future to the world politics. He even told me off when in my eagerness; I answered a question instead of my children,” said Rayees.

“During the conversation, he asked my boys to join politics and to make positive changes in our nation’s future,” he said.

Rayees feels, “his ideas were far ahead of his time. He had a sheer passion to inspire all of us and he succeeded. He left a mark and touched the lives of many Indians and citizens of the world”.

He had a great impact on India and that will never be forgotten for a very long time.

Rayees considers his speech at the European parliament on their golden jubilee celebration most inspirational.

His quoted Kaniyan Pungundranar, the Tamil poet where he said, ““When there is Righteousness in the heart, There is Beauty in the character. When there is Beauty in the character, there is Harmony at home. When there is Harmony at home, there is Order in the nation. When there is Order in the nation, there is Peace in the world.”

“It was one of the most inspirational speech,” Rayees said.

Pointing out that Kalam had this amazingly different perspective of things Giri Balasubramaniam, Quizmaster & CEO, Greycaps said, “Once we were together with some teachers from Sweden and he introduced me to them as a quizmaster and then asked "Do you know what quizmaster means?. They quite did not so he smiled and said "Well he too is a teacher like you all, his method of teaching is a little different and his classroom is sometimes a stadium".

The quizmaster said, “Kalam patronised us because we were messengers of knowledge and learning for children. Such was his commitment to making India a better place.”

“His ability to connect from school kids to senior citizens underlined the span of his impact,” added Giri.

Astrin D’silva, manager - marketing & corporate communications, Travel City LLC said, “Shouldering the blame for failure and conferring credit where it is due comes rarely to most. In an era where playing the blame-game and taking undue credit to forge ahead in life has become the norm, Dr. Kalam had a thought which was different - That an exemplary leader is one who gives credit and recedes into the shadow as the protégé takes centre-stage.”

She said, “A creative leader gives credit to his team when there is success and when there is defeat he absorbs it.”

“Today is indeed the saddest day for India and for the world of Science and Politics. As a scientist, his vision was revolutionary. In politics he spearheaded the nation without needing to play the game. He was the noblest statesman that ever lived. He is and will always be admired by India's leaders in the making. A man from whom there's so much to learn. He was the greatest leader with the humblest heart and a leader that I adored. India has lost a jewel in her crown And that, a very precious one. Rest in Peace Dr Kalam. You are a legend and by far an unmatchable and inimitable human that walked the face of this earth,” Astrin added.

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