Wah Kalamji Wah!

Our beloved president APJ Abdul Kalam is a man with unique endowments. He is a rare combination of extraordinary intelligence, integrity and empathy. His concern for human suffering was very evident in the speech he delivered at Spastic Society of Karnataka on 5th November at the inaugural of the Polytechnic unit.

Disability is one of the toughest challenges of life. To accept and live with physical handicap requires lot of courage. However, in an understanding and supportive environment, these physically challenged children can grow to their full potential. Our president has deeply understood their special needs. He shared with us this small incident, which indeed had a great impact.

One day Kalamji received a letter from a boy in Belgaum that read, "Sir, I don't have both my legs. I want to walk. Please help me". Our president was touched by this letter and immediately made arrangement for prostheses (artificial limbs) through some doctor friends. After a few weeks he received another letter from the same boy that read "Uncle! Now I can walk. I am very happy. I want to see you" Overwhelmed with joy, our President made Prostheses available for nearly 500 children and young adults and invited them for his birthday in October, which he decided to celebrate at Belgaum.

Amidst their laughter and smiles, Kalamji celebrated his birthday. He had empowered them physically and emotionally. He had made their dreams come true. Is there a better way to celebrate one's birthday?

As he spoke that day to us at Spastics Society, his kindness and compassion flooded the hall and drowned the audience. His speech, so simple yet so strong, touched our hearts. My brother who is affected by cerebral palsy, was fortunate enough to shake hands with our president. He whispered to me, "Akka, Kalamji's hand is so soft and warm" "So is his heart!" I said, as tears welled in my eyes. These words quoted by Kalamji still linger in my ears: "When God is with us, Who can be against us" And indeed! God is with us in all our honest endeavours.

- Dr.Veda.P

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