Features Monday, July 27, 2015 - 05:30
    Former President Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, popularly known as India’s "Missile Man" passed away in Shillong on Monday night after he collapsed at the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) in Shillong while conducting a lecture for a more liveable planet earth.  Dr. Kalam will be remembered for a lot of things but it is the humility that he portrayed and the inspiring deeds that he did, that will perhaps make us miss him the most. He gave his presidential salary to charity When he became President, he reportedly called Amul founder Dr Verghese Kurien and asked, "Now that I have become the President of India, the government is going to look after me till I am living; so what can I do with my savings and salary?" (sic) He is said to have given his salaries and life savings to PURA  (Providing Urban Amenities to Rural Areas), a trust he founded.  Kalam's visit to a cobbler and a lodge owner It was December 2002. Dr Kalam had already been president for five months and was in Thiruvananthapuram on an official visit to the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre - where he once worked.  Seemingly reminiscing his roots, the President took time off to visit George, a cobbler who he used to chat with while he repaired Kalam's shoes and Parmeswaran Nair, the owner of a Guruvayurappan Lodge, where he used to eat. "Almost every day he used to come to my shop, sit on this bench and talk for at least half an hour.  He also used to get his chappal repaired regularly," George told India Today. George was reportedly overwhelmed after the President stopped by and asked him in Tamil: "George, Eppadi irukai? Sowkiyama?" (How are you, George? All fine)?" He refused to sit on a bigger chair While attending the Lakshmi Vidya Sangham (LVS) in February 2015, Dr Kalam refused for an umbrella to be held over him as he planted a sapling in the sun, a school student told The Hindu, adding that it left her astonished.  He also refused to sit on bigger chair provided to him on the dais and sat in a chair for students.  In 2012 too, while he was on a visit to the Defence Food Research Laboratory (DFRL) in Mysuru, he refused a bigger chair given to him and asked for a regular one.  His question to the world What should we do to free our planet from terrorism? This was the question that Kalam had asked on Yahoo answers in 2007. According to a report in Digital Journal, Yahoo Answers gets various leaders to ask questions occasionally. Stephen Hawking had reportedly, earlier asked Yahoo users, how the human race can survive the next hundred years. Here is the full text of Kalam's question. He recieved more than 30,000 answers for it, such was the popularity if the President, What should we do to free our planet from terrorism? Human society, from origin until now, has always been at war within and between groups and has led to two World Wars. Presently, terrorism and low intensity warfare are affecting many parts if the world.  As the current global population of 6 billion increases to 8 billion by 2025, national and international conflicts will continue to be a source of concern for humanity. When evil minds combine, good minds have to work together and combat. In this context, what are the out-of-the-box solutions to free the planet earth from terrorism?  Your answers when processed and implemented can lead to a peaceful, happy and safe planet earth.  A Rashtrapati Bhavan powered completely by solar energy In an interview to IndiaKnowledge@Wharton, the former president spoke about his liking to make the residence of the president completely solar powered Question: If you could rewind and replay your years as President, what might you do differently? Is there anything you wanted to accomplish that you were unable to do? Kalam: Last year I came up with an idea: I felt I should power the Rashtrapati Bhavan completely with solar power. For that I worked on a proposal after completing four years of my Presidential term — and at the beginning of the fifth year. But then the environmental agencies raised a lot of questions. Before I could answer them, my term ended. I would have liked the Rashtrapati Bhavan to be the first home in India to be powered completely by solar energy.  

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