New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday paid tributes to former president APJ Abdul Kalam and said a memorial for him will be built at his birthplace Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu.
“The government has acquired land at Kalam sahab’s birthplace to build a memorial for him. We want it to be an inspiration for future generations,” Modi said at a function to mark Kalam’s birth anniversary.
The prime minister went on: “Soon after quitting the president’s post, he took a flight to Chennai and started teaching.
“And look at his last moments… Where is Rameswaram, where is Delhi, and where is northeast… Going there at his age and spending time with students reflects his commitment,” he said.
Modi said Kalam was committed to enriching India’s human resource.
“India must be powerful, but not just by weapons… This was not Kalam sahab’s thought. Weapon power is important, and he contributed to it, but he believed a nation is not identified by boundaries, but by the people.
“So he took up both together, defense research and … enrichment of human resource,” Modi said.
The prime minister was speaking after unveiling a bust of Kalam at the DRDO complex here.
A scientist-turned-politician, Kalam was born and raised in Rameswaram and studied physics and aerospace engineering.
He spent four decades as a scientist and science administrator, mainly at the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), and was intimately involved in India’s civilian space programme and military missile development efforts.
Kalam was the 11th president of India in 2002-07. He died on July 27 this year.