November 10, 2011

Hats off to Dr. Kalam

I have always been an admirer of Dr. Abdul J Kalam, former President of India. He set the standards for living life king-size in Rashtrapathi Bhavan, with simplicity. He had only few of the rooms functional and kept the remaining rooms shut, thereby cutting costs on maintenance of the sprawling campus. He did away with many symbolic protocols and moved around in a simple manner.

He also organized and attended several meetings, on drawing a scientific roadmap for the country. Such things were unheard of, as the President was a decorative position and the people who occupied the post conformed to the 'decorative post', to the hilt.

But Dr. Kalam did none of that and he made the Office of the President, very approachable and accessible. He probably gave many security officers and agencies a nightmare, but as citizens, we loved him. There is something very endearing about him that helps Indians connect with him, easily.

And his recent attempt to assuage the apprehensions of the protesters in Kudankulam is nothing short of inspiring. There are very few people who are brave enough to stick their neck out in such situations. One ought to raise a toast to him for accepting the role of studying the safety precautions at the Kudankulam plant and also considering the development of the local community. Within a few days of his visit and report, the situation has improved and Nuclear Science has been de-mystified, to a large extent. While sharing this with my colleagues at lunch, one of them remarked, "It is certainly 'good of him' to have done this for the country, don't know if its 'good for him', thoughJ

India could do well with more such people!

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