This morning, I was watching the news on CNN-IBN. One report was on President Kalam’s last day in office. Tomorrow, the President-elect, Mrs. Pratibha Patil will be sworn in as President. On this occasion, CNN-IBN interviewed children in schools all over India to find out how they feel about the change of guard at Rashtrapati Bhavan. Why ask children? Because, this man is close to our hearts in a way no other president has ever been in the history of independent India. Because this man dared to dream of a super-power India by 2020. And because he took his ideas, not just to the people on the street, but to the citizens of tomorrow, the children of today.

The response of the children in question demonstrated the extent to which Dr. Kalam has made an impression on the future decision-makers of India. Practically all of the children interviewed said they were sorry to see him go. Some said he should remain president forever. Others said the way the elections had been held was simply dirty politics. Whatever be their opinion on the President and his successor, all of them thought he was the best President India has ever had the good fortune of having. To me, this attitude is gratifying. It is with great pride that I watched the report. It is reassuring to know that the children of today use their intelligence to judge the calibre of a person, something that our beloved adult politicians would do well to learn.

Personally, I could never respect another President as much as I respect Dr. Kalam. He is an exceptional individual. I am not a student of the hard sciences, but to be frank, I would not mind enduring mathematics and chemistry all over again just to be able to listen to him teach. I couldn’t agree more with the teens interviewed on television. He certainly is the best president India has ever had. Goodbye, Dr. Kalam. We will miss you as our president.

Farewell, President Kalam

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