Ever since Dr. Kalam, India’s 11th President passed away on the 27th of July 2015, there have been reams written on him. Both in the Virtual World that is the Social media and Twitter and the actual world i.e. the media, paeans in his praise are being sung by the minute.
Rather than being carried away in the heat of the moment and going on and on about the virtues of a person who undoubtedly excelled in whatever he did, one must analyze the legacy that he is leaving behind and understand the importance of it.
What is it that made people like Swami Vivekananda, Gandhiji, Annie Besant, etc. become immortal?? If we find answer to this we can safely address the importance of Dr. Kalam and the potential of his becoming immortal rather than just occupying space in the history books as the “People’s President”.
If you look at the common thread between Swami Vivekananda, Gandhiji and Annie Besant, they all have been harbingers of Social Change. They all stand for Ideas and Values which, when propagated, were before their times and were considered Radical but slowly they found acceptance and today form the core of the values that make our society.
Dr. Kalam was indeed a Great scientist, a Good President who opened up his Presidency to the People like none before him had done, a Great motivator of the youth particularly the Students. What else???
Has Dr. Kalam consciously or unconsciously talked or bought about any Social Change?? Is there a larger message that Dr. Kalam has given to the society?? Work is Worship, an age old saying has been eloquently promoted by Dr. Kalam, "Dream is not that which you see while sleeping, it is something that does not let you sleep".
Has Dr. Kalam's philosophy reached the hinterlands of India, amongst the poorest of poor?? Do or Can people at the Base of Pyramid really relate to Dr. Kalam??? I am not trying to run down the accomplishments of Dr. Kalam, I am just trying to understand if will Dr. Kalam become immortal??
Dr. Kalam is an inspiration to this generation. Be it the odds against which he rose to occupy the supreme chair in India, be it his unflinching Nationalism, Be it the devotion to the Student Community and be it the Value System that he followed, Be it the religious divide that he conquered, all are unparalleled in Modern Indian History.
So the importance of Dr. Kalam at the present moment cannot be denied. But whether he will serve as an inspiration to the generations to come, is a big question mark. I daresay unless his legacy is carried forward, there is a real danger that he will just be another name in the History books eventually.
Has he impacted the Society so much so as to bring societal changes?? I am sorry to say that the answer is an unequivocal No. Will he become immortal?? I would say the jury is still out on this and will remain so for sometime despite UN deciding to christen his birthday as the “International Students Day”.