Neglected in India, honoured abroad: India’s double-standard on respecting Dr Kalam’s legacy


Indian government’s claims to champion the legacy of APJ Abdul Kalam has come for severe beating after it emerged that the former president’s burial site was being neglected with stray dogs and animals defecating near his ‘qabr.’

Upset family members at House of Kalam say they are hurt by the neglect from the government.

“It was the wish of the government that Kalam be buried at Pei Karumbu. We agreed to it keeping his followers in mind. Otherwise all our family members are buried at Abil Kabil Dargah in Rameswaram, which is maintained by us,” APJM Maraikayar, 99-year-old elder brother of former President of India, was quoted by OneIndia website.

“We are very upset. At this age do you think I can run around? If the government doesn’t want to build the memorial at the kabar, people of Rameswaram, with the support of his students across the world, will build one,” says an upset Maraikayar.

Last month, President Kalam’s elder brother had written to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal requesting him to set up a Kalam National Centre for Knowledge Discovery prompting the state government to bring back the possessions of former President APJ Abdul Kalam back to Delhi.

Former president’s family has been unhappy with the central government for its inability to set up a memorial in Dr Kalam’s name. Upset over the apathy shown by Modi government, Dr Kalam’s nephew had quit the BJP after the party rejected his demands for converting Dr Kalam’s bungalow into a memorial for the late President.

Indian government’s indifference aside, far away in USA, the  University of South Florida (USF) recently announced a postgraduate fellowship in the name of former president Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam to support accomplished and talented Indian students looking to study abroad.

This has led many to question the central government’s public posturing over safeguarding Dr Kalam’s legacy. The BJP-led government had displayed unprecedented urgency in renaming Aurangzeb Road after Dr Kalam.