New Delhi: The Catholic bishops of India have hailed former Indian President Abdul Kalam as a global citizen who endeared himself to billion across nations.
Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam, who was India’s 11th president, died of cardiac arrest on Monday evening while lecturing at a management institute in Shillong, capital of Meghalaya state in northeastern India.
“Dr. Abdul Kalam was not only one of the most illustrious statesmen of India, but also a renowned Global Citizen, who has captured the hearts and minds of millions of people across the nations,” says a condolence message from the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India issues on Tuesday.
The message said Kalam’s sudden death has brought “deep grief” to Christians in India.
Signed by Cardinal Baselios Cleemis, CBCI president, the message described Kalam as “a great visionary, a source of inspiration for thousands of children and youth, with whom he shared his wisdom and experience and motivated them to work for a better future, a prosperous India and a safer and habitable planet.”
The cardinal noted that Kalam remained “quite humble and easily accessible to all, especially the children and the youth,” despite holding exalted positions such as president of India, scientist, scholar, writer, educationist that brought him several awards, including Bharat Ratna (jewel of India), India’s highest civilian award.
The message recalled numerous occasions at home and abroad where the former president has publicly acknowledged and appreciated the sacrifice and the goodwill of the Church in India for playing a prominent role in the progress and development of India.