India honours Kalam’s wish for no holiday on his death

New Delhi, July 28 (IANS) In deference to former president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam’s wish that no holiday should be declared on his death, political leaders of different hues – as also the common people – worked through the day and paid their tributes by even working extra hours.

“Don’t declare a holiday on my death; instead work an extra day. This was his message,” Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu said on Tuesday, paying his tributes to Kalam at the state secretariat in Hyderabad.

Naidu said since the former president was against declaring a holiday on his death, it was a working day in the southern state.

The government of Andhra Pradesh also requested all educational institutions and government offices to function for an extra hour as a mark of respect for Kalam. The Telangana government, however, declared a holiday.

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu tweeted: “Worked whole day as a tribute to Dr. Kalam; he preached work is worship. Though postponed public events, will do after mourning period.”

Aam Aadmi Party leader Yogendra Yadav also reiterated Kalam’s words to work an extra day on his death through his tweet.

“Declaring holidays is no way to remember a patriot like Kalam. He hated such symbols,” Yadav tweeted during the day. He added: “Instead, let us work this Sunday to pay homage to him.”

Shaktisinh Gohil, a Congress leader, also took to Twitter and said: “Abdul Kalam had said don’t declare holiday on my death; instead work extra if you love me. We worked more today in PAC (Public Accounts Committee).”

Both houses of parliament were, however adjourned for two days and will hold their next sittings on July 30.

“Dr. Kalam worked till the last day of his life. His devotion to work is inspirational. It would be wrong not to condole the death of such a grand leader. Parliament always condoles the death of its members. It’s a way of paying homage to the leader by adjourning the house,” Bhartendu Singh, a Bharatiya Janata Party parliamentarian told IANS.

Inspired by his words, many schools and government offices in the city remained open.

Kiran Mehta, principal of Salwan Public School in the city, recalled Kalam saying how work must be worshiped. “Dr. Kalam said there must be no closure on his death and he died while working, while delivering a lecture to his students. That is what we instilled in our students today,” Mehta said.

“Our school remained open on Tuesday and we held a memorial service to pay respects to Dr. Abdul Kalam,” added Renu Singh, principal, Amity International School, Noida.

The former president died on Monday in Shillong after he suffered cardiac arrest while delivering a lecture at IIM-Shillong.

The last rites will take place with full military honours in Kalam’s hometown Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu on Thursday, a statement from the union home ministry said.


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