Abdul Kalam

Wednesday, July 31, 2002

From what his family and neighbours think of him, Abdul Kalam comes out a simple and unassuming man. But will these characteristics suffice in a President?

This one's funny. The Lover's Organisation for Volutary Exhibition (LOVE) in Calcutta protested that President is a bachelor. (So is the Prime Minister. That worried them too.) (Avanova)

Incidentally, LOVE has been been up to some interesting things. Like reviving love letters through SMS (BBC). Campaigning for free love zones (BBC). Organising a "kiss and hug" protest on March 26th (CNN) to demand the same. Not bad ideas, mind...

Little Neha wrote to Dr. Kalam, asking for help with her elocution competition at school. Not only did she get help, she was also invited to the President's swearing in ceremony. (Gulf News). So were 99 other children. (Hindustan Times)

Now that we need a Vice President, politics is back in action again. (Gulf News)

Tuesday, July 30, 2002

Is Dr. Kalam's ascendency to Presidency a sign of social mobility in India? Asian Times uses this and other examples to demonstrate upward mobility through the democratic process.

I tend to agree. I remember when "a humble farmer" had become Prime Minister, a friend of mine remarked, "Now I have full confidence. I can become a Prime Minister too." Jokes apart, guess social class is not a showstopper in politics.

From Paknews: "... the architect of India's nuclear missile arsenal and considered 'mad scientist' who triggered nuclear arms race in South Asia..."

I suppose it would be a little scary. We were almost on the brink of a war, and now we have a President who headed the nuclear programme. Similar thoughts are all but voiced on the Washington Post.

Monday, July 29, 2002

Dr. M Vidyasagar offers his personal reminiscences of Abdul Kalam. Dr. Vidyasagar is an EVP at TCS, Hyderabad.

Biographies of Abdul Kalam are posted at IndiaInfo, Murali's personal website and at siafdu at Geocities.

In his first few days as President, Abdul Kalam has visited memorials, visited school children, hosted lunches, witnessed a controversy and attended a funeral. Is that all a President's supposed to do?

Well, he did appointed 3 high court judges. But surely Dr. Kalam's role goes further? I wonder what he thinks he could accomplish, as the President? Realistically...

Sunday, July 28, 2002

Abdul Kalam is an aeronautical engineer, not a scientist. His contributions have been more towards R&D project management. Reason, perhaps, for him to make a better President than a scientist would (The Strait Times).

What's the Muslim community's reaction to Abdul Kalam's appointment? Dr. Rafiq Zakaria asks What's Muslim about Kalam? The article has led to a lot of interesting reactions (via Google).

This article on Rediff takes a look at the influences behind the Presidential choice. Suggests that Krishna Kant died broken-hearted (soc.culture.indian).

Saturday, July 27, 2002

Rediff has a comprehensive coverage on Abdul Kalam's route to Presidency. I have tried to duplicate the same with clippings from the rest of the web, leading up to the nomination.
12 MayWith the NDA backing BJP, the search for a new President is on. (The Tribune)
16 MayAbdul Kalam's name is voiced by individuals... (The Hindu)
17 May...and by groups. (e-mail)
18 MayMulayam Singh Yadav suggested Abdul Kalam's name to the Prime Minister (The Hindu)
20 MayVarious names are discussed. (Kalam, Hegde, Narayanan)
22 MayBJP pushes for the Vice-President's post, leaving the President's seat open for other parties (Telegraph India)
23 MaySamata Party pushes for Abdul Kalam. (Tribune India)
26 MayBJP finds Abdul Kalam's name in strong reckoning. (Tribune India)
30 MayNarayanan, Alexander, Karan Singh and Abdul Kalam are in the race. (Deccan Herald)
3 JunPublic support for Abdul Kalam flows in. (The Hindu)
5 JunNarayan drops out. Only two serious contenders: Alexander and Abdul Kalam. (The Hindu)
8 JunAbdul Kalam appears disinterested. (Frontline)
10 JunVajpayee nominates Abdul Kalam (The Tribune, The Hindu).
11 JunMost people are happy. (BJP, Shiv Sena, TDP, SP, Kalam).
11 JunBut some are not. (Opposition, Congress, Narayanan)
After this point, you're best off following Rediff's coverage.

Abdul Kalam was sworn in as President on Thursday, 25th July 2002 (BBC, Express India). The transcript of his speech is here.

Abdul Kalam's autobiography, Wings of Fire (available at Amazon, Fabmart) has received some very good reviews. Outlook and Hindustan Times among the publications, and from Gangan Prathap, Demicom and Indbazaar among others.

I sat this morning, wondering what a good project on the web could be. Suddenly, it struck me that India now had someone to talk about: Dr. Abdul Kalam. I SMSed Kalidas, another admirer, and he was enthusiastic. Here's where we are.

The point is to find interesting nuggets of news and information related to Dr. Kalam. And we'll post as often as we're able to. Wish us luck!