As children, Abdul Kalam and his best friend Ramanadha Sastry sat together in class. Ramanadha Sastry was the son of the head priest. One day, a new teacher who came to their class objected to the fact that a Muslim boy sat with a Hindu Brahmin. In a harsh manner, he asked Abdul Kalam to go and sit at the end of the class. This incident hurt both boys. The head priest took strong action against the teacher. He summoned the teacher and said that he can no longer teach in that school. The teacher learnt his lesson that his duty was to teach religious harmony and not to poison little minds with superficial differences. He asked for Kalam’s forgiveness and seeing that the head priest allowed him to continue teaching.
Dr A. P. J. Abdul Kalam is a recipient of the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian honour, and a former President from 2002 to 2007. He is one of independent India’s most inspirational action and thought leaders. Popularly known as the ‘missile man’, he is admired for his contributions as an engineer and a scientist. As a ‘people’s President’, Dr Kalam developed a special rapport with children, whom he always encouraged to dream big.