Saturday December 16, 2017
Home Indian Diaspora When Canadian...

When Canadian Governor General delayed his oath-taking for Kalam

0
20

Toronto: A.P.J. Abdul Kalam was so much respected in Canada that the current Governor-General David Johnston delayed his oath-taking in 2010 so that he could personally – as president of the University of Waterloo – confer an honorary doctorate on the former Indian president.

Picture credit: bbc.com
Picture credit: bbc.com

“David Johnston was appointed the Governor General of Canada when he was the president of the University of Waterloo in southern Ontario. But he delayed his oath-taking for the sake that he (as university president) could personally honour Dr Kalam,” says Chennai-born V.I. Lakshmanan, who is an internationally renowned scientist and innovator in green technology.

A close friend of Kalam, Toronto-based Lakshmanan was instrumental in bringing the late president to Canada three times after he left Rashtrapati Bhavan in 2007.

Lakshmanan said: “The current governor general of Canada was so impressed by the credentials and humility of Kalam that the University of Waterloo where he was the president at that time decided to confer an honorary doctor of engineering degree on Kalam. David Johnston went with me to New Delhi to meet Kalam and came back so impressed by the late president that his University of Waterloo decided to honour Kalam.”

In fact, Canada was the only country that Kalam visited multiple times – thrice – after his retirement because of his close friendship with fellow Tamilian Lakshmanan.

“Every time he came here, he would say that he wanted to meet only scholars, researchers and children. He was not interested in meeting the CEOs. The Canadian prime minister and governor general were very impressed by his vision.”

The friendship between Kalam and Lakshmanan deepened so much that the two went on to co-author a book called “Peace and Prosperity for the 21st Century”.

Deeply saddened by the death of his great friend, Lakshmanan said: “Kalam was a true Mahatma. He was the Gandhi of the 21st century. Our shared passion for science and culture deepened our friendship. I knew him closely, he was a giant. You won’t find a humbler man than him. Kalam was a thorough vegetarian.”

Recalling his interactions with Kalam, he said: “He hated wastage…Dr Kalam was so careful that he didn’t waste even a single drop of water…he was very frugal.”

Lakshmanan said, “Though Dr Kalam was a Muslim, his knowledge of Hindu philosophy was so deep that few people could match him…you could discuss duality, Carnatic music, anything…he could talk with so much depth. We both talked in Tamil and English.”

During his visits here, Kalam was quick to grasp where India could benefit from Canada, says Lakshmanan.

“Once I was driving him from Niagara Falls. On the way he saw the connectivity of waterways. He said why India can’t benefit from Canada’s unique experience in waterway connectivity. Why we forget everything once the monsoon is over. He would say his dream was to see India and Canada work together in civil nuclear energy and connecting waterways (in India).”

Lakshmanan, who returned from India last week, says he met Kalam for the last time on July 15 in New Delhi.

(IANS)

Next Story

Former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam’s Birthday declared as ‘Maharashtra Reading Day’

Maharashtra will be celebrating the birthday of former president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam as "Maharashra Reading Day"

0
229
APJ Abdul Kalam
The Missile Man of India, A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, Wikimedia

October 15, 2016: The birthday of former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam will be celebrated as “Maharashtra Reading Day” in the state, Education Minister Vinod Tawde announced here on Saturday. ”Kalam’s writings had vision… He always mentioned that India is going to be a super power, visualised it and wrote in his books which have inspired an entire generation,” Tawde said at function in Crossword bookstore to mark the event.

NewsGram brings to you latest new stories in India.

Hundreds of colleges in the state organised their own reading day programmes, literary and poetry meetings, reading corners and other events to mark the scientist-turned-politician Kalam’s 85th birthday anniversary. Tawde said that “Maharashtra Reading Day” would inspire children and the younger generation to make reading a habit which is getting challenged with the advent of cellphones and other devices at an early age.

“The children tend to emulate their parents, and it leads to cellphone addiction as early as two years of age… We must now think of declaring a ‘no-gadget day’ as well,” Tawde said in a lighter vein, while appreciating Crossword’s “ILoveReading” initiative. Earlier today, in a state government programme, Tawde distributed 100 “talking book” volumes to 21 schools for the visually-handicapped in Maharashtra, prepared in collaboration with National Association for Blind (NAB).

Go to NewsGram and check out news related to political current issues.

Later, he presented sets of 100 books to 21 readers’ groups at a function in Gokhale Education Society College in Borivali to mark the day. The first-ever Maharashtra Reading Day was commemorated by reading sessions in 100 colleges across the state conducted by top writers and public figures and they took part in lively literary debates conducted with the students. Kalam, revered as the peoples’ President passed away after a cardiac arrest on July 27, 2015, in Shillong. (IANS)

Next Story

Night out for girls not in our culture: Mahesh Sharma

0
48

By NewsGram Staff Writer

New Delhi: After his remark that ex-President APJ Abdul Kalam “was a nationalist despite being a Muslim” sparked a row, Union culture minister Mahesh Sharma stoked another controversy on Friday by saying girls enjoying a night out is not acceptable in India. “It may be else where but it is not part of Indian culture,” the minister told a television channel.

mahesh_big_29
m.amarujala.com

The 54-year-old first time MP from Noida had been in the news for a string of comments which were decried by opponents as “regressive” and an “assault on India’s culture.” Sharma had said a few days ago, “Bible and Quran are not central to the soul of India.”

My (Indian) values and books should be read before you read novels- Mahesh Sharma 

However , when contacted, Sharma told TOI that his recent interview should be taken in a holistic manner and insisted he had not spoken against any religion or person. He said he was being misrepresented in the name of ‘saffronization’ and also denied that he had pressed for making epics like Ramayana, Mahabharata and Gita compulsory in schools. “I am not authorized to make such decisions ,” he said. “As far as imposing restrictions on peoples’ eating habits is concerned , nobody has the right to do that,” he told TOI.

Next Story

Modi pays tribute to Kalam

0
16
picture from- Sitanshu Kar on twitter
picture from- Sitanshu Kar on twitter

Rameswaram (Tamil Nadu): Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday paid tribute to late former president A.P.J Abdul Kalam here.

“PM @narendramodi paying respect to the #PeoplesPresident #APJAbdulKalam,” spokesperson of the defence ministry Sitanshu Kar tweeted along with a picture of the prime minister.

Kalam died while addressing students at the Indian Institute of Management in Shillong on Monday.

(IANS)