Former Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chairman G. Madhavan Nair on Wednesday said the demise of former president Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam is a great loss for humanity, and added that he will always be remembered as a 'karamyogi'.
"It's a great loss for humanity. It's such a personal loss. I will not speak of him only in the scientific realm. He was a global leader. He was caring for the humanity, and always, the downtrodden and poor people were his priority. He has lived his full life and he has given his life to the youth. He always had a passion to convey what is in his mind to the young generation," Nair told media here.
"No wonder, God has called him back when he was serving a noble cause. He was really a karmayogi. And, I don't think, anybody else can fill in the vacuum, which is created by the sad demise of Dr. Kalam," he added.
Recalling some memories of his association with the late president, Nair said Dr. Kalam had requested him to come to his house quite often, and he had tried to visit the former president twice, but couldn't. He added that it was a matter of huge regret for him that when he finally came to Kalam's hometwon, it was to see him in a coffin, which was very sad personally.
The body of the former president was flown out from Delhi to Madurai in Tamil Nadu this morning, from where it will be taken by helicopter to Rameswaram. Union Ministers Venkaiah Naidu and Manohar Parrikar are accompanying the mortal remains to Rameswaram, where Dr. Kalam's body will be kept today for people to pay their last respects.
His last rites will be performed at 11 a.m. tomorrow with full military honours.
Dr. Kalam passed away in Shillong on Monday evening. He collapsed after suffering a massive cardiac arrest while delivering a lecture at the Indian Institute of Management.
His mortal remains were brought to New Delhi yesterday where a large number of people, including President Pranab Mukherjee, Vice-President Hamid Ansari, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the three Service Chiefs paid their homage to the departed leader.
Both Houses of Parliament were adjourned for two days yesterday as a mark of respect to Dr. Kalam.
The government has declared a seven-day national mourning to honour Dr. Kalam, who played a stellar role in advancing India's nuclear programme.
Considered one of the most popular presidents of India, Dr. Kalam became the 11th head of the state and occupied the post between 2002 and 2007 during the NDA government headed by Atal Bihari Vajpayee.