Meghalaya to observe Kalam's death anniversary every year

Shillong: Paying rich tributes to `Missile Man` A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma on Wednesday said his state plans to annually commemorate the death anniversary of the great scientist to promote his ideals.

The students of the northeastern state, where Kalam died, on Wednesday took a pledge to carry forward his ideals and values at a public condolence meet at the Soso Tham auditorium.

"His (Kalam`s) last visit to the state and the fact that he breathed his last while being with the people he loved gives us an opportunity to connect with his ideals," the chief minister said.

"His teachings, inspirations and visions are to be followed and absorbed by everyone, especially the young people. We in our capacity, in our humble way, can actually do our part in a manner that he demonstrated, and I feel that a programme should be held every year to commemorate his life and death," Sangma said.

He recalled Kalam`s presidential visit to Meghalaya on March 17, 2007, and his advice for setting up of seven special economic zones in Meghalaya to ensure the state`s prosperity.

Pledging to be Kalam`s ambassador of ideals and values, Arvind Iyer of IIM-Shillong recollected an anecdote on Kalam.

"Kalam sir told us a funny anecdote on the first satellite that he launched, which actually went into the Bay of Bengal. Kalam`s boss told him to stay away from the press saying he will take care of the failure. Later, Kalam launched the second satellite. The launch was perfect and entered the orbit. This time, Kalam`s boss told him he has to face the press. Kalam said it was more difficult to face the press than launching a satellite."

Amanda Buhphang, the lone student to place a wreath on the former president`s casket at the Indian Air Force advanced landing ground in Shillong, described Kalam as a celebrity.

"I am thankful to god that he chose Kalam to be president as he had so much love and affection for the people and inspired the youth all over the country."

Vicky O. Lyngdoh, a student from Laitumkhrah Presbyterian School, said Kalam "will always be an inspiration and the endeavour of the youth should be to live up to his expectations and fulfill his dreams".

Describing the "people`s president" as a humble soul, and an extraordinary human being, Lady Keane College student Tina Thankhiew said Kalam`s "love for the people irrespective of their caste, class, creed and religion is highly respected by everyone".

The gathering observed two minutes` silence, which was followed by a floral tribute to the late former president.

Deputy Chief Minister R.C. Laloo, chief secretary P.B.O. Warjri, IIM-Shillong director Amitabha De were present on the occasion.