A P J Abdul Kalam, also known as the ‘Missile Man’ of India, was born on October 15, 1931. The former president of India was also as a scientist, an author and a visionary patriot.
Born into a fisherman’s family in Tamil Nadu, Kalam worked against all odds to serve at the top research institutes of India. He worked for four decades at DRDO and ISRO.
Despite his extraordinary scientific temperament, he was also passionate about spirituality. He wrote a book on Swaminarayana sect’s head Param Pujya Pramukh Swami Maharaj and co-wrote a book with the Jain Saint, Dr Lokesh Muni, on family morals and ideals. Both the spiritual leaders were able to notice the keen interest Kalam had in spirituality.
He was truly a man, who though born to a particular religion, celebrated and respected all religions. Gita and Quran, both were an integral part of his religious knowledge. He described his religious approach thus -- “For great men, religion is a way of making friends; small people make religion a fighting tool.”
With the Ram Janambhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute having its final hearing in the Supreme Court on October 17 -- just two days ahead of Kalam's birth anniversary, let us look into his vision of Ayodhya.
Abdul Kalam called Ayodhya “the divine land which enriched the faith of two religions”. He visualised the holy land as emerging as a place of harmonious integrity by 2020, one that will serve as a healing centre for all pains including mental, spiritual and physical. He wanted it to be a place where the poor and elderly could get the best health services at a low cost. A place where all the traditional healthcare forms, including Ayurveda, Unani, Yoga etc, converged with modern medicine to heal illnesses.
Kalam, with his far-sighted view, knew that even if the economy of India grows to be the world’s fourth-largest economy, the country will still will have to deal with infant mortality rate, malnourishment, lack of clean water and nutritious food. He envisioned the divine land to have an excellent research centre for healthcare that collaborates with international agencies to find solutions to India’s health grievances.
To deal with spiritual healing along with physical healing, Kalam also expected it to have a humanity healing centre. With lush green surroundings and chirping of birds, he wanted it to be a multi-religious platform. He wanted spiritual therapy to treat ailing souls so that they would awaken themselves and find proximity with divinity and conscience.
Beyond healthcare, he envisioned an institute that imparts value-based knowledge to the youth of India. He wanted the foundation of knowledge to be taken from all religions and delivered with efficient methodology so that the youth could bring it to practice.
He always wanted Ayodhya to inspire future generations by being a place of harmony rather than a place that is ‘governed by the baggage of hostility from the past’.