Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam’s memorial inaugurated by PM Modi in Rameshwaram!

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Image credit: Nyoooz

-Dr. Abdul Ruff

Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated a memorial on July 27 dedicated to former president APJ Abdul Kalam at Peikarumbu near Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu on his second death anniversary and attended several other programs, the second death anniversary of the former president-known as a common people’s man.

PM Modi hoisted at the entrance of the memorial the national flag at the memorial designed and built by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) in Pei Karumbu. He unveiled a statue of Kalam and offered floral tributes besides interacting with his family members.

Modi opened the memorial built in the hometown of the former president at a location where the mortal remains of the “missile man” are buried. Modi, who also unveiled a statue of Kalam playing a ‘Veena,’ a musical instrument – also unfurled the national flag at the entrance of the memorial, built by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) with which Kalam was associated for decades as a key scientist.

After inaugurating the memorial, Modi paid floral tributes to Kalam at his ‘Samadhi.’ Evincing keen interest in the features of the monument, which has on display replicas of rockets and missiles on which the late scientist had worked, the Prime Minister viewed it for about 15 minutes. It has been built at the cost of Rs 15 crore on land allotted by the Tamil Nadu government at Kalam’s village Peikarambu. On the occasion, the Prime Minister also unveiled a wooden statue of Kalam playing the ‘veena.’ The former president was adept at playing the musical instrument.

Memorial

The Kalam memorial, built at the cost of 20 crores, blends Mughal and Indian architecture. Its main entrance resembles Delhi’s India Gate. The dome reflects the Rashtrapati Bhavan. The main door is a replica of the entrance of the Brihadiswara Temple in Thanjavur in the former Madras State.

The interiors of the memorial reflect the various facets of Dr. Kalam’s life, including the Pokhran nuclear test. There’s even a missile model celebrating his contribution to space science. PK Gupta, director of the construction firm that built the memorial said, “This is so special for us. The yellow stones have come from closer to Pakistan. Sand, water, and other materials have come from all over India. It’s a symbol of national integration.”

The memorial also has about 900 paintings and 200 rare photographs of the late scientist, who held the office of the president from 2002 to 2007.  With ‘unity in diversity’ as its theme, the memorial features quotes of Kalam and his pictures as a scientist and as the president of the country.  Resembling the arch of the India Gate, the memorial has on display replica of rockets and missiles on which Kalam had worked.

Later, he interacted with family members of Kalam. Modi was seen affectionately holding the hands of Kalam’s elder brother A P J Mohamed Muthumeeran Maraikaya. The memorial also has about 900 paintings and 200 rare photographs of the late scientist, who held the office of the president from 2002 to 2007.

Modi was accompanied by Tamil Nadu Governor Ch. Vidyasagar Rao, Chief Minister K Palaniswami, Union ministers Pon Radhakrishnan, Nirmala Sitharaman, and NDA’s vice presidential nominee M Venakaiah Naidu.

Uncertainty

Until a year ago, the memorial work APJ Abdul Kalam’s memorial had not started and the site where Dr. Kalam is buried was in utter neglect, drawing public criticism. On his first death anniversary last year, PM Modi had inaugurated a life-size golden statue in the temple town in coastal Tamil Nadu.

While the political parties take credit for the memorial, a section of the locals in Rameswaram’s Peikarumbu isn’t too happy. A teacher from a local school is disappointed that school children have not been invited to today’s inauguration. Kalam, like Nehru, loved children. “Over the last few months we have been requesting local authorities to make children a vital part of this as Kalam loved children, but none seem to think it as important,” the teacher, who did not wish to be named, said. Bose Chandran, a local fisherman, however, is happy. “This landmark in the hometown of the people’s President would continue to ignite young minds to dream big,” he said.

Schedule

The prime minister earlier unfurled the national flag at the entrance of the memorial.

The Prime Minister also flagged off a weekly train to Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh from Rameswaram. To help the people worship at Ramar Sethu, the mythical bridge believed to have been built by Lord Rama, the Rameswaram-Dhanushkodi road which was destroyed in the devastating cyclone decades ago had been rebuilt. Modi also unveiled synopsis of Green Rameswaram scheme, a pet project of late Kalam, presented by the local Vivekananda Kendra. He recalled that it was here that Swami Vivekananda placed his first step when he returned from America in 1897.

Modi was accompanied by Tamil Nadu Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao, Chief Minister K Palaniswami, Union ministers Pon Radhakrishnan, Nirmala Sitharaman, and NDA’s vice presidential nominee M Venakaiah Naidu.  Earlier, Governor Rao and CM Palaniswami received Modi at the Madurai airport from where he arrived here by helicopter.

Later, the Prime Minister flagged off Kalam Sandesh Vahini, an exhibition bus, which would travel across various states of the country and reach Rashtrapati Bhavan on October 15, which marks the birth anniversary of the former President. Modi will then proceed to Mandapam for a public meeting. He distributed sanction letters to the beneficiaries of long liner trawlers under ‘Blue Revolution’ scheme and also flagged off –as part of his Hindutva program – a new express train from Ayodhya to Rameswaram via video conference.  The PM also released a synopsis of the ‘Green Rameswaram’ project, the statement said. He unveiled a plaque to mark the dedication to the nation of the 9.5-km link road on NH 87, which runs between Mukundarayar Chathiram and Arichalmunai. The day-long visit concluded with an address at a public meeting. He addressed a public rally at Mandapam and will inaugurate some welfare measures.

Modi was seen holding the hands of Kalam’s elder brother APJ Mohamed Muthumeeran Maraikayar affectionately while speaking to him

Tributes

After inaugurating the memorial, Modi paid floral tributes to Kalam at his ‘Samadhi’. Evincing keen interest in the features of the monument, which has on display replicas of rockets and missiles on which the late scientist had worked, the Prime Minister viewed it for about 15 minutes. It has been built at the cost of Rs 15 crore on land allotted by the Tamil Nadu government at Kalam’s village Peikarambu. On the occasion, the Prime Minister also unveiled a wooden statue of Kalam playing the ‘veena’. The former president was adept at playing the musical instrument.

Paying rich tributes to Kalam, whose second death anniversary was observed today, Modi said the former president continues to inspire crores of countrymen. The Prime Minister pointed out that Kalam loved the youths and the students very much, and it was for their benefit that Stands Up and Starts Up schemes had been launched.

Narendra Modi urged the people to work together to fulfill former president APJ Abdul Kalam’s dream of seeing a developed India by 2022 when it celebrates its 75th Independence Day.  Various schemes launched by the central government whether it was “Stand up India or Start up India, ‘Amrut’ cities or smart cities or Clean India projects would go a long way in realizing Kalam’s dream of “developed India,” Modi said. About epic story ‘Ramayana,’ Modi said even a small squirrel had helped “Ramayana serial” famed Lord Ram in constructing the ‘Ramasethu’ (bridge) for him to cross over to Sri Lanka.

Modi heaped praise on laborers involved in the construction of the memorial, saying they had not charged for the extra two hours they had put in every day. After sweating it out from 8 AM to 5 PM, Modi urged the youth and pilgrims visiting this holy town to include a visit to Kalam’s memorial, designed and built by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) with which the former president was associated with for a long time.

Deep sea project and Bank loan

Announcing the launch of deep sea fishing to Rameswaram fishermen under the Blue Revolution scheme, for which Rs 1,500 crore had been allocated, he said it would help fishermen to get better revenue and at the same time overcome problems relating to the fishing in the Palk Strait.  Modi hoped that the ‘Sagar Mala’ scheme, linking the coastal areas spreading through the country’s 7,500 km coastal line, would bring more investments and benefit people in a big way. The federal government had allocated Rs.900 crore for the Smart City and Rs.4, 700 crores for the AMRUT scheme; he said the latter would ensure availability of better power, water, sanitation and other essential infrastructure.

The Mudra bank loan scheme had been launched to provide loans for the youths without any guarantee, and it had benefited over eight crore people, including one crore from Tamil Nadu, he said.  Ten cities in the state had been chosen for the smart city project and 33 towns for development under the AMRUT (Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation) scheme, he said. The central government had allocated Rs.900 crore for the Smart City and Rs.4, 700 crores for the AMRUT scheme; he said the latter would ensure availability of better power, water, sanitation and other essential infrastructure.

Observation

Dr. Kalam, popularly known as the “Missile Man,” was the 11th President of India between 2002 and 2007. He died of a cardiac arrest on July 27, 2015, in Shillong where he had gone to deliver a lecture for the students of advanced research.

It’s a happy moment for us. Although there was a delay in starting the project, DRDO completed this in record nine months.  Soon, there would be even a planetarium for kids, “said Sheikh Salim, Dr. Kalam’s grand-nephew. It’s only a sign of our respect and love for great Dr. Kalam.