The First Citizen of India is a philosopher, scientist, poet, communicator and techno-science strategist. Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam is a scientist sage (Rishi) and a statesman who has no love for pomp and show. He has now acquired a suit and a tie. Otherwise like Gandhiji, Kalam is one-dimensional man – totally non-compromising in his simple living. But the simple looking Indian is in fact a revolutionary in his belief that the power respects the powerful.
The First Citizen is first in many ways. He is an elected President of the largest democracy in the 21st Century. Yet he belongs to no political party. The Man from a fishing village of Rameshwaram is the first Muslim President who is vegetarian, teetotaler, plays Veena, and is a devotee of Sarasvati. He still holds a university professorial post and takes his academic duties seriously. Out of the palatial 360 rooms of Rasthrapti Bhavan (RB) he uses only two rooms for his personal work and study. He is the first resident of the RB who entertains schoolchildren in the RB. And the Mughal Gardens is used for Herbal Research.
Dr. Kalam has forbidden the ministers, members of parliament and civil servants from wasting time by gathering around to see the president off and welcoming him with bouquet of flowers at the airport. He is fastidious not to let his motorcade venture out of the RB during rush hours. Leaders are known to collect funds. But Kalam receives no flowers, no garlands, and no gifts. On the contrary, he has donated his pension funds and presidential salary to poor disadvantaged, physically challenged and lepers’ families.
Kalam works almost 14 hours, and sleeps about 5 hours. His personal working hours begin at 10 pm after he has dismissed the official secretaries. He retires to bed around 1 in the morning. Wakes up at 6, and the Scientist Sage goes out for his morning walk and meditation. In fugal vegetarian meals, he enjoys curd, coconut-water, idly and tea.
Simplicity appears always with uncanny smile whose mere appearance disarms the opponent. A wise sage (Rishi) Kalam is prophetic in his thinking and speech. Always creating new mantras – inspiring the youth. He knows no fear and suffers no depression. If the affairs of the state appear overwhelming he creates poetry. Quick wit, and wise craking Kalam is a great charmer with words of wisdom. As a karm-yogi, he believes in action without waiting for results. But if you hail him as a Bachelor Prince, he protests, “I am a brahmachari”. Like Gandhi, Kalam is a shrewd tactician with a wide and far-reaching futuristic vision – always thinking long term strategies for world peace and national prosperity.