Bharat Ratna and former President APJ Abdul Kalam will be laid to rest on Thursday at Rameswaram, the town in Tamil Nadu where he was born. The funeral at 11 am is also expected to be attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who arrived at Rameswaram early in the morning.
In his blog written as tribute to Dr. Kalam, the PM wrote “Bharat has lost a Ratna. Our scientist-President – and one who was genuinely loved and admired across the masses – never measured success by material possessions,” he said.
The mortal remains of the Kalam, remembered fondly as the People’s President reached Rameswaram on Wednesday afternoon.
From Delhi, his body was first carried to Madurai in a special aircraft. In Madurai, Dr. Kalam’s body was received by Tamil Nadu Governor K Rosiah and Chief Secretary Gnanadesikan. Central ministers Venkaiah Naidu, Pon Radha Krishnan, Manohar Parriker and others also paid homage to Dr. Kalam there.
Later, Dr. Kalam’s mortal remains were brought to the Mandapam camp in Rameswaram by helicopter at 1:50 pm, where the district collector, local Superintendent of Police and Kalam’s family members received them.
Tamil Nadu Chief Miniser J Jayalalithaa had said she would not attend the last rites of the former President owing to poor health. Jayalalithaa has deputed seven cabinet colleagues to represent her state government at the funeral in Rameswaram.
Earlier on Wednesday, Google India paid homage to the former President by displaying a black ribbon on its homepage.
Dr. Kalam was one of India’s most respected visionaries along with being one of the world’s best nuclear scientists.
He was closely involved in various space programs and was termed as the ‘Missile Man of India’. He also played a key role as operational in-charge of the 1998 Pokharan-II Tests before serving the country as President during 2002 to 2007.
A lot of people remember him as the man who transformed the Indian presidency during his tenure by making the Rashtrapati Bhawan much more accessible.
Ever since the news of his death, various ministers and chief ministers have come forward to name universities and schemes after Dr. Kalam.