'My toughest decision as president was returning the Office of Profit Bill to Parliament'

My guest this week is the man who has redefined the presidency, one of our most popular presidents ever, one of the most popular Indians of our times --   former president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, or now, just Citizen Kalam.

Citizen or Prof Kalam.

 

As happy to be a citizen as a president, and as happy to be in this modest place in Delhi Cantonment?

Yes, this is a beautiful place.

 

After the Rashtrapati Bhavan?

They have made it very liveable. The environment's excellent.

 

And there are as many birds (as in Rashtrapati Bhavan).

It's as though all the peacocks (of Rashtrapati Bhavan) have come here.

 

I think they follow your wishes and directions. So tell me, Sir, your first thoughts after five years in the very onerous, privileged position of President of India.

My first thoughts . . . you know, before reaching the Rashtrapati Bhavan, I was teaching. So almost it's a re-entry phenomenon.

 

Like a missile's re-entry?

Like the re-entry phenomenon. I immediately went, met students, took a class on nano sites, nano technology, faced a lot of questions. It was a beautiful experience. Then I went to a rural university, the Gandhigram University. It's a beautiful thing, seeing people and how they live there. The university builds earning capacity in students. I talked to students. They were unique students, because for them it was education with a purpose. I was away for five days and then I came back to Delhi, and Delhi is a very busy place for me. Yesterday, I saw people from a freedom society in Pune --   young people, college and high-school students, nearly 30 people. You know why they came?

 

Why?

... contd.

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