Missile man dies in Shillong

Former President APJ Abdul Kalam, the ‘Missile Man’ who became
popular as ‘People’s President’ died on Monday after he suffered a massive
cardiac arrest and collapsed during a lecture at the IIM here this evening.

APJ Abdul Kalam , who would have turned 84 in October, was
confirmed dead more than two hours after he was wheeled into the ICU of Bethany
hospital in a critical condition following the collapse at around 6.30 PM.

Arriving at the Indian Institute of Management around 5.40 PM,
he took rest for some time and started the lecture on ‘Livable Planet’ at 6.35
pm. He collapsed five minutes later, according to Director, IIM-Shillong. He last
tweeted “Going to Shillong to take course on livable planet at IIM.”

He was admitted to the Bethany hospital at 7 PM, a km away from
the institute. De said the hospital authority told him that Kalam died due to
cardiac arrest.

The body was taken to the Military Hospital and will be kept
there for the night. It will be taken by an Air Force helicopter to Guwahati at
5.30 am on Tuesday and from there to Delhi by a special aircraft.

Considered the most popular President, APJ Abdul Kalam became
the 11th head of the state and occupied the post between 2002 and 2007 but lack
of consensus denied a second term in office for a man who came from outside the
rough and tumble of politics.

A seven-day national mourning will be declared by the Centre,
Union Home Secretary L C Goyal said. Both the Houses of Parliament are likely
to make obituary references and adjourn as a mark of respect to his memory.

President Pranab Mukherjee, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Ministers and leaders
cutting across political lines condoled Kalam’s death and hailed him as
people’s President who will remain so even after death.  Modi described
him as ‘marg darshak’.

A Bharat Ratna, Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam rose from
humble origins to become the President in the most unexpected manner during the
NDA government under Atal Bihari Vajpayee. His victory was a foregone
conclusion after an all party consensus minus the left parties which fielded
Captain Lakshmi Seghal of the INA fame.

Born in 1931 in Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu in a poor family, he
studied aeronautics engineering from Madras Institute of Technology-Madras.

Kalam was considered the brain of missile programme in India and
as Chief Scientific Adviser to Vajpayee he was also instrumental in the Pokhran
nuclear tests in 1998.

He had the distinction of becoming the first President to fly a
Sukhoi fighter jet, go in a submarine and visit high-altitude Siachen besides
LoC. He was also the first President to address the Indian Science Congress in
90 years.

As President, Kalam utilised any opportunity that came to him to
address students, especially  school children, to dream big so that they
became achievers in life.

A bachelor, the former President was a veena player and was
deeply interested in Carnatic music. He was a vegetarian all his life.

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