It took two whole years and enormous public outrage for the country to arrive at this day. The memorial to the ‘Missile Man of India’, former President Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, has finally been inaugurated at his grave site in Rameswaram on Wednesday.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi came down to Rameswaram to do the honours, and open to the public the memorial to India's most-loved President.
Widespread outrage had built up against the Centre and the state government six months after Kalam's demise, when his burial site was found in a state of disarray. A temporary shed-like structure had been built over it and visuals showed cows and dogs taking refuge near the spot.
What followed next was confusion over whether the state government had allotted the required two acres of land for the memorial. Both the state and centre couldn't agree on how much land had been transferred. Even as the tussle continued, the Central Public Works Department (CPWD) began the construction work. The measurement for a boundary wall was finally taken in December 2015.
On July 27, 2016, former Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and former Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu laid the foundation stone on the occasion of Kalam's first death anniversary.
The DRDO, where Kalam spent a good part of his life and career, had taken up the task of building of building the memorial at total cost of Rs 20 crore. They have completed the task in a record time of nine months. And now, the former President has been given the respect he deserves.
The structure has come up on 2.11 acres of land with a total plinth area of 1,425 sq m, according to reports.
The main entrance, with giant ‘Chettinad wooden’ doors, has reportedly been designed on the lines of the India Gate. The main dome meanwhile is said to have been build on the lines of Rashtrapati Bhavan.
The tomb itself has been given a complete makeover, and placed within a dome-like structure.
The outer arena of the memorial has a replica of Kalam’s Agni, the intercontinental-range ballistic missile.
There are display halls in the memorial hall that depict moments from the former President's life – his stay at the Rashtrapati Bhavan, his address in the UN Assembly, his association with ISRO and DRDO and even his last lecture at the Indian Institute of Management, Shillong, where he collapsed and passed away.
Paintings of the former President adorn the walls of the memorial – depicting him right from his childhood to his death.
And of course, the Indian flag flies high over the dome that houses the mortal remains of a President that millions in the country continue to be inspired by.