Today, as we bid adieu to Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, we realise that there is an ever-elusive, mysterious element, that transforms “a hero” into “my hero” – they don’t just “inspire”, they “connect”. With a country as rich on producing heroes, as India has been, it is not easy being “a hero”, never mind “my hero”, yet, Dr. Kalam somehow managed to make a successful and effortless transition, from one to the other. And quite evidently so, when, in 2011, Chotu – a 12 year old, poor boy from Rajasthan, in search of “a hero” found “his”, and said “I am Kalam”. I am Kalam, produced by Smile Foundation, while talking about the importance of education, seeks to pay tribute to the man who was a real-life hero, with numerous accomplishments to his credit, but remained a teacher at heart.

We seek to honour this wonderful and mysterious facet of Dr. Kalam that made him a personal hero for not just Indians, but people from all walks of life around the world, who either had the privilege of being associated with him, read his works, or found inspiration from his words.

We get to witness this quality of Dr. Kalam, in the various inspirational speeches he made throughout the world. One of the most prominent ones was at the European Union Conference where he said –

As we say in India, where there is righteousness in the heart, there is beauty in the character. When there is beauty in the character, there is harmony in the home. When there is harmony in the home, there is order in the nation. When there is order in the nation, there is peace in the world.

Among resounding applause, the representative speaker of the European Parliament said, “This is one of the most extraordinary speeches we have ever heard. From a statesman, scientist, and poet, this is unique. All the best to this great nation – India.

So, what made “The People’s President” of India, such a highly respected, loved and popular figure? Take a deep love for education, mix a little steely determination, add in a dash of hope for a brighter future and sprinkle an engaging smile on top and you are getting close.

On the occasion of Teachers’ Day, Dr. Kalam said, “If the people remember me as a good teacher, that will be the biggest honour for me.”

My hero”, you shall always be a proud, inspiring and happy memory !!!