RAMESWARAM, Jan 20: The APJ Abdul Kalam National Memorial in the island town of Rameswaram in the southern state of Tamil Nadu has a sizeable depiction of Meghalaya, especially Shillong – where the former President of India breathed his last. Among these are the articles and belongings of Dr. Kalam which he used during his final journey to Shillong – where he delivered a lecture to graduating students of IIM, Shillong in 2016. His coat, laptop, shoes, copy of the speech that he delivered on the occasion among several others neatly adorn the showcases of the memorial spread over a spacious campus few miles away from the Rameswaram main temple.
The scene of the former president, who was loved by all as People’s President, addressing the IIM graduates, collapsed and died from an cardiac arrest on 27 July, 2015 with his attendants running to help him is depicted in mannequins, evoking emotional feelings in the visitors of this memorial. Dr. Kalam, who had his roots in this island on the Bay of Bengal and his life story until he became the first citizen of the nation is beautifully carved in hand paintings depicted in photo frames. Renowned self taught painter and filmmaker, AP Sreethar, not only gave shape to numerous such frames displaying the lives of the former president but also infused in them lively expressions of the President – which clearly speaks of the talent inherent in the painter.
The humble beginning of Dr. Kalam coming from a remote village in this island, his self supported education, followed by his successful stint at ISRO and DRDO, his contribution to the Indian space technology, such as, special launch vehicles and others till his final advent to the President of India is richly preserved in this memorial at the very site where he was laid to rest. The samadhi of the President is laid at the middle of the memorial while his lives, his innumerable certificates, degrees, awards, such as, Bharat Ratna – the country’s highest civilian award besides several other national and international awards is a source of inspiration especially for the younger generation, whom the former president always held in high esteem.
A life-size statue of Dr. Kalam, replicas of his developed missiles, his efforts in promoting scientific imagination in youths adorn the exterior of the memorial. His inspiring words and speeches takes one back in time inside this memorial where photography is strictly prohibited and every world leader, who came in contact with him, regarded him in highest order, truly giving one the impression of the persona in him.