Indian American Community Mourns Former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam’s Passing Away

Several Indian American community leaders have expressed shock at the sudden demise of Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, who won popular acclaim as India’s president during 2002-07. He died on Monday, July 27th after collapsing during a lecture at the IIM-Shillong, officials said. He was 83. “Kalam is no more,” Meghalaya Chief Secretary P.B.O. Warjri told the media, shortly after the president passed away at Bethany Hospital, where he was taken to from the management school. Doctors said Kalam suffered cardiac arrest.

American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI)  is saddened at the sudden demise of former President Dr. Abdul J. Kalam,” said Dr. Seema Jain, President of AAPI. “In his passing away, the world has lost one of the iconic and visionary leaders of all time and has left a tremendous void.”  In a world full of violence, hatred and enmity, Dr. Kalam’s was truly an inspirational voice that provided positive energy to the common man, especially the youth. His contribution to the scientific advancement of India is quite unparalleled. “We fondly remember his presence with us during the Global Health Summit in Ahmedabad, India in Janaury 2014,” she recalled. Delivering the keynote address, Dr. Abdul  J . Kalam , the former president of India lauded AAPI   for its 32 years of strong leadership in the United States. “You are part of 1.2 million physicians of Indian origin around the world, and growing, making up 25% of all physicians in the world,” he said.

“His simplicity, humility, and inspiring personality endeared him to all and he is the most popular president of India in recent times. He inspired millions of children and gave them motivational speeches across the country,” President, Overseas Friends of BJP-U.S., Chandra Patel said. “Dr Kalam was indeed a people’s President, and beloved child of India. All Indians across the world salute him for his invaluable contributions to India. His death is a tremendous loss to the nation and creates a big void that is hard to fill,” Mr Patel said.
North America Telugu Society (NATS) in a statement said, it is “deeply saddened” on the sudden demise of Dr Kalam. “Dr Kalam had a special relationship with the Telugu land, spending a major part of his life here,” said Telugu Association of North America (TANA) in another statement TANA was a supporter of Kalam’s Lead India 2020 movement.

“A PJ Abdul Kalam has left a rich legacy to the people of India and an even richer legacy to the world,” Indian-American attorney Ravi Batra said. “His love of nation and peaceful celebratory co-existence of multiple faiths are an enduring lesson of humility,” he said.

“India has indeed lost one of the iconic leaders of all time and the death of former President Dr APJ Abdul Kalam has left a tremendous void,” Chairman of the Indian National Overseas Congress, U.S., George Abraham said.

To Kalam, becoming a fighter pilot was a “dearest dream” but he failed to realize it by a whisker, bagging the ninth position when only eight slots were available in the IAF. In his new book, “My Journey: Transforming Dreams into Actions,” published by Rupa, Kalam, who specialized in aeronautical engineering from Madras Institute of Technology, says he was desperate to pursue a career in flying.

“It is only when we are faced with failure do we realize that these resources were always there within us. We only need to find them and move on with our lives,” says Kalam, who went on to put his “heart and soul” at his job as a senior scientific assistant at DTDP. The book is filled with stories of “innumerable challenges and learning” in his years as the scientific adviser when India conducted its second nuclear test, his retirement and dedication to teaching thereafter and his years as president.

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