Padma Bhushan Dr Vijay Bhatkar on Tuesday offered his tribute to Dr Kalam by saying that Kalam had given India a new vision, which freed the country from its dependency upon other countries, and resulted in building capacity so that the country could become a Vishwa Guru.
Dr Bhatkar delivered this tribute during the program Rokhthok on Zee24Taas. He described Kalam as a humble human being who always made the impossible possible. Bhatkar recalled that he first met Kalam in Trivandrum (presently Thiruvananthapuram) when Kalam was leading the satellite launch vehicle development for the country’s space programme. Bhatkar recollected that in those days, “Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre was at Thumba and Kalam used to stay in a very small and simple lodge, despite holding a big post and leading the team of scientists working on launch vehicles.”
Bhatkar said that when he met Kalam for discussions about the electronics involved in the project, it was Kalam who said that import substitution in certain parts was necessary. Bhatkar said that Kalam’s insistence upon indigenization has brought India a long way in the space programme. Bhatkar said, “Kalam’s insistence has given all of us in the field of electronics the great confidence that we can do it, and this was his extra-ordinary contribution.”
Recalling Kalam’s simple ways, he said that during those days, despite being head of the satellite launch vehicle development programme, Kalam would sit on the ground without waiting for any chair to be brought to him. Bhatkar said that Kalam used to work right from the morning till late night. He was, Bhatkar said, a true leader who led by example. The youngsters under Kalam, Bhatkar said, would be inspired by him. Kalam had the habit of doing things with a great deal of planning, which, Bhatkar said, was rare.
Bhatkar said that Kalam lived according to the precepts of the Bhagavad Geeta. The holy book underlines the importance of having a sense of duty, and doing one’s duty diligently. Bhatkar said that the Late Vikram Sarabhai was Kalam’s guru, and Kalam followed in his guru’s footsteps by preparing a long-term plan for the country.