Kalam’s Dark Side: To Err Is Human, He Was No Different



#APJAbdulKalam– born in South, galvanized in West, led the nation from North, passed away in East.

“I remember reading ‘Ignited Minds’ back in standard 8. The man that inspired and ignited so many young minds is no more. RIP APJ Abdul Kalam your legacy lives on,” he wrote.

It was a sad Rest-in-Peace post, as normal as everyone else in my Facebook feed when suddenly a bomb dropped in his next post which revealed the crux of his sudden enlightenment.

Brian Singson, a brilliant student from University of Delhi wrote further, “Based on the effect that his writings and quotable quotes had on me in my school days (glorified achievements and rag to riches stories), I naively paid a sentimental tribute to APJ Abdul Kalam. Before anything else, a condolence to the man.

However, from reports and pics that have emerged, I must say that the sight of him offering tribute to RSS founder Hedgewar sickens me to the core. I had posted that APJ’s legacy lives on. What exactly then is his legacy? On record, he has never spoken out on Gujarat Pogrom, infact he was always evasive whenever this question arose, which could be a factor in why the Hindu right was comfortable enough with him to make him the president. Tharoor tweets that he was a Muslim “steeped in Hindu culture, a true Indian.” This, I understand is a symptoms of the Fascist time that we are in and must be resisted vehemently. I gather from reports that his vision of India was that of technocratic militarism was quite in sync with the jingoism of the Hindu Right.

In short, I’m retracting my earlier post as an example of misplaced respect.” (sic)

Not just him, many teenagers and adults like us are actually unable to digest the dark side of Mr. Kalam that is resurfacing at this moment, post his death. Not that it didn’t surface during his lifetime; it did and was quietly tight-lipped with élan. And we were quite young to understand then.

A Muslim steeped in Hindu culture

When a Thiruvananthapuram-elected incumbent MP, 59-years-old London-born Shashi Tharoor posted a seemingly remembering Rameshwaram born Kalam tweet just recently, “AbdulKalam ignited minds, inspired young people,&embodied the potential in every Indian. A Muslim steeped inHindu culture, a complete Indian.”

People tweeted and retweeted what Shashi Tharoor had to say but what they skipped, or missed deliberately was the sarcasm in his tweet.

“A Muslim steeped in Hindu culture”.

Only few got the double meaning in the sentence and yet they were not direct about their understanding of the tweet regarding the death of Rameswaram born Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen “A. P. J.” Abdul Kalam in Shillong at the age of 83.

APJ Abdul Kalam, as President, was powerfully equipped to intervene the death penalty of Mohammad Afzal Guru handed to him on February 9, 2013, convicted in the Indian Parliament terror attack case sometime in October 2006. Kalam didn’t do anything to save him.

“I think the hanging was both wrong & badly handled. Family should have been warned, given a last meeting & body returned,” Shashi Tharoor, tweeted on Monday.

APJ Abdul Kalam being called a ‘rashtra-ratna’ (nation’s gem) by none other than BJP bhakt and Prime Minister of India, Narendra Damodardas Modi is no big surprise knowing Kalam’s allegiance to Dr.Keshav Baliram Hedgewar, founding Sarsanghachalak (supreme leader) of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).


Nalanda- repository of world knowledge and mediocre controversy

Even before the proper full functioning of Nalanda University, Abdul Kalam seemed to have resigned from the honourable post as “First visitor” offered by the University which he mentions in his letter written to the External Affairs Minister, Somanahalli Mallaiah Krishna  on July 4, 2011, where he reveals why he refused the offer, “Having involved in various academic and administrative proceedings of Nalanda University since August 2007, I believe that the candidates to be selected/appointed to the post of Chancellor and Vice Chancellor should be of extraordinary intellect with academic and management expertise. Both the Chancellor and Vice Chancellor have to personally involve themselves full-time in Bihar, so that a robust and strong international institution is built.”

Media reports that came said that Kalam was not in agreement with some of the decisions of the Nalanda Mentor Group (NMG).

Interestingly, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson, Syed Akbaruddin said that in the draft minutes of the GBNU, there were two options- either to continue with Sen or the Visitor (Mukherjee) or they chuck out Sen. One NDA loyal Bengali is better than none, they might have thought.

And just last year on 30th of April, Sen said after exercising his franchise at a booth on Vishwa Bharati University campus, “My reaction on Modi is well known, I don’t think he is a good prime ministerial candidate. Obviously he is popular among some sections, particularly in the business community. But that does not mean he is my favourite candidate, indeed he is not”. Finally, APJ Abdul Kalam’s close connection with the BJP government ousted Sen.


Kalam – a privileged BJP puppet for pacifying Muslims during Godhra carnage

The National Democratic Alliance nominated A P J Abdul Kalam as its candidate for the prestigious Presidency not just because of his achievements at the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and the Defence Development Research Organisation (DRDO) but mainly because the NDA government knew what happened in the 2002 Gujarat riots/ violence or the Gujarat pogrom. They knew Kalam being a Muslim himself was needed to soothe Muslim sentiments after the anti-Muslim riots in Gujarat because the government couldn’t afford to lose on their sizeable vote-bank.


Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project 

Former government bureaucrats and environmental activists have expressed their bewilderment at former president Dr APJ Abdul Kalam’s controversial defence of nuclear power plants as stands. Dr Kalam’s article in The Hindu has been followed by a string of letters and comments from different sections of sector experts, who have deftly pointed out the loopholes in his reasoning.

Former finance and power secretary, EAS Sarma, in a letter to Dr Kalam asks, “When you brushed aside the safety concerns about nuclear technology as mere conjectures, did you make an effort to ask the nuclear establishment whether Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NCPIL) had ever carried out a reliable engineering study of each existing nuclear power plant to estimate the compound probability of an accident taking place as a result of a mechanical failure arising from the failure of individual components? If this has not done, can you jump to the conclusion that the probability of an accident is negligible, merely on the basis of your own appreciation of the number of accidents that have taken place during the last few decades?”

The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear was a fatal nuclear disaster that happened at the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant that began on 11 March 2011 which resulted in a massive nuclear meltdown of three of the plant’s six nuclear reactors. The failure actually occurred when the plant was hit by a tsunami that had been triggered by the magnitude 9.0 Tōhoku earthquake. That same year, inter-government backed –  Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP) was protested by thousands from the vicinity of the plant which included S. P. Udayakumar, a teacher, writer and anti-nuclear activist from Tamil Nadu of the People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy, stating “the nuclear plant is unsafe”. Achin Vanaik, SP Udayakumar, Arundhati Roy, Kumar Sundaram and the recently deceased Praful Bidwai have been warning against the dangers stemming from nuclear plants. They all are from a well-known pool of scholars and environmental activities. Developed countries such as Germany are phasing out such nuclear powers and successfully following the model of renewable sources of energy.

The poor villagers near the project area were hardly absorbed in well-paying jobs in the plant now.


Dhananjoy Chatterjee and Mohammad Afzal Guru 

Dhananjoy Chatterjee, an improvised guard was hanged on 14 August 1965 after a grossly carried out blotched investigation, where he was accused of raping and murdering of Hetal Parekh, an 18-year-old girl of an apartment residence in Bhowanipur on 5 March 1990 where he was the security guard. The same thing happened with the recently concluded death of Afzal Guru.

The analysis carried out by Debashish Sengupta and Prabal Chaudhury which was timed to coincide with the Law Commission’s Public Hearing on the death penalty in New Delhi on Saturday, July 11, described what they honestly believe was a tell-tale situation of a botched investigation. They also highlighted the inconsistencies found in the evidence and pointed to the fictitious claims, all aimed, they say, to frame Chatterjee. He spent 14 years in jail only to be hanged on 14 August 2004.

As the saying goes under Brahmanical system of casteist India, a Brahmin is twice-born. In Chatterjee’s case, he died thrice, once by stigma, another by 14 years long jail-term and then by hanging. Infact, Chatterjee’s appeals were rejected by none other than the then president APJ Abdul Kalam on the advice of arguably India’s worst home minister, Shivraj Patil. The same mistake is being done by the now President Pranab Kumar Mukherjee.


India’s Nuclear Scientists Keep Dying Mysteriously

Something deeply disturbing is happening inside the scientific community since the past decade. Suddenly, and rather in a strangely fishy way, people- scientists are getting plagued by “suicides,” unexplained deaths, and sabotage, but most cases have gone underreported in the country. The latest being on Sunday 6, 2013 when two nuclear submarine engineers were found dead. Kalam, belonging to the same fraternity and closer to both the NDA and INA could have taken initiatives to make them aware for a major investigation regarding the sudden deaths that have been continuing since he was a part of the ISRO and DRDO. The Indian governments probably never heard of Maslow’s need hierarchy where it’s of utmost necessary importance to cover an employee’s safety and security needs. Just two years after his stint as President ended, a senior scientist, Lokanathan Mahalingam, was reported to have committed suicide in 2009 which Kalam could have had investigated, considering his powerful contacts and posititions. Even he could have influenced a debate regarding the death of Homi Jehangir Bhabha, who was an Indian nuclear physicist, founding director, and professor of physics at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research; even by mentioning them in his autobiography. Simply because he is powerful enough to make an impact.


It’s interesting to note that, APJ Abdul Kalam is considered as a great man of our times. Because considering him as having scientifically secular visionary futuristic dreams for India with secular seeds is like calling Bengal the land of non-vegetarians. His scientific temperament drowned in a good amount of religious superstitions. Secretly, a Hindutva worker, he was far from being a secular ideal as being projected as. His love for capitalizing and weaponizing over the interests of the poor tribals is an open secret. But do we consider that most people don’t love him just because he is famously called the missile man but because he is a famous public figure? That will be so colonial!

H.N. Sethna, who was the former chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission was the guiding force behind Pokhran I in 1974, has added his bit, saying Kalam was “not qualified” to speak on the subject:

“What did he (Kalam) know about extracting, making explosive-grade uranium? He didn’t know a thing. By being the President he appeared to wear the stature. He relied on atomic energy to gain additional stature.”

Now some crazy Indian is recommending his name to have the pre-tag of “Mahatma”.

This site dug a bit more to reveal:

“Abdul Kalam is the fruit of assiduous self-promotion, audacious political opportunism and pumped-up nationalism, combined with the gee-whiz ignorance of an uncritical media.

# A missile technologist who is routinely confused for a “nuclear physicist”.

# A scientist without a formal PhD—who was turned away from the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) because he didn’t have the “requisite scientific credentials”—who happily uses the appendage “Dr”.

# A reverse-engineer who has presided over several failures as the in-charge of the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme who is unquestioningly called “Missile Man”.

# And, although the masterstroke to make him President came initially from the Samajwadi Party, it is the BJP which has appropriated the Thirukkural-quoting, veena-playing, vegetarian “Kalam Iyer” as its favourite Muslim, thanks in part, as the Princeton scholar M.V. Ramana wrote, because of his ability to “dress up even mediocre work with the tricolour to pass them off as great achievements.”

And as I go on reading my own discovery about the shady personality he hid, tears of childhood gentleman worship of a great Indian leader, a so called role-model crashes down with bitter results.




Partha Pratim Barua

Image Source: The Viewspaper