Community leaders from the Tri-state area came together to honor the memory of the former President A.P.J Abdul Kalam on Sunday at Santoor restaurant, Glen oaks, Queens. The condolence meeting was organized by George Abraham, Lal Motwani and B. Aravindakshan , the chair persons of the organizing committee that received Dr. Kalam in New York in 2008.
Harbachan Singh, the General Secretary of the Indian National Overseas Congress opened the meeting paying glowing tribute to a man so great and highly educated and yet so humble and simple that his rich legacy which is second to none and bodes well with the culture and milieu of India will be long remembered . Singh believed that he uplifted the mood and desires of the Indians by inculcating dedication, honesty, mutual respect and perseverance in their daily lives. He felt immensely grateful and proud of his presidency.
George Abraham, the Chairman of INOC, USA spoke about his humility while recalling his experience by getting invited to ride with him in a car to the airport on his return trip. ‘He thanked me for organizing the community reception bringing 33 Indian organizations together and said he wouldn’t like to have it any other way and then added if there is unity of minds, you can solve anything’.
Lal Motwani spoke of his immense talent and how he related with young people and requested that we all do our best to keep his great legacy alive. Aravindakshan spoke about his days working with Dr. Kalam in ISRO and talked about his simplicity in everything including the way he dressed and the food he has consumed. ‘He was just one of us, an ordinary worker, though he was the program director’. Dr. Surinder Malhotra, President of World Punjabi Organization spoke about his commitment to pluralism and how he stayed above the fray of mixing politics and religion.
Dr. Jit Chandan, professor at the City University talked about how Dr. Kalam redefined leadership. ‘ To Dr. Kalam the leadership entails taking responsibility when there is a failure and sharing credit with others when success is attained’ Dr. Chandan added. Mr. Juned Qazi, President of INOC, USA spoke about how Dr. Kalam made India stronger in the field of science and Technology and paid tribute to his many contributions in that arena. Prof. Inderjit Saluja of the Indian Panorama spoke about how Dr. Kalam epitomized the best in a human being and said he has set a high benchmark for all of us.
Dr. Satnam Parhar, the President of IALI (Indian Association of Long Island) reminded that Dr. Kalam is an example of how simplicity could win over the hearts and minds of the common man and said he was a noble soul and totally unpretentious. Mr. R. Jayachandran, President of the Kerala Chapter spoke about his unique ability in motivating young people and encouraging them to dream for a brighter future.
Vinod Kearke, legal advisor for the Kerala Chapter described Dr. Kalam as a teacher above everything while Prasad Kambhampaty, the Executive Committee member of INOC, USA recalled the days when he worked for the Bhabha Atomic Research Center listening to visiting Dr. Kalam who used to give motivational speeches that energized the young scientists.
Imran Mohammed of NRI-SAHI lauded the people’s president while Leela Maret, Vice-President of INOC, Kerala Chapter and the President of the Women’s Forum of FOKANA paid tribute Dr. Kalam as an extra-ordinary human being whose legacy will continue to motivate the youth of India in the years to come. Mr. K.G. Janardhanan of Sree Narayana Association stated that Dr. Kalam shined like a Sun and he will be sorely missed while Father John Thomas, Diocesan Secretary of Orthodox Churches in North America paid tribute to Dr. Kalam as a noble soul who has set an example for everyone with his principled life. Mr. John Joseph, President of Tamil Chapter of INOC praised his life for using the Presidency of India as a bully pulpit to create an enormous impact on so many lives, especially the young ones. The audience expressed heartfelt condolences and left with a great sense of pride and honor to have had him as the former President of India.