When former India President, Dr. Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam, said, “Don’t declare holiday on my death, instead, work an extra day if you love me,” none of us were paying attention to what the ‘People’s President’ wanted to convey.
We failed to grasp, or rather conveniently ignored, the essence of his message. We never understood that the greatest gift to India’s ‘Missile Man’ would have been to work harder on the day of his demise, not look for holiday.
Why else would over a crore Indians, immediately after his death, log on to the internet to check whether it was going to be a holiday the next day? Rather than mourning his sudden death, we looked for what we could gain from it.
Did we pretend to love APJ Abdul Kalam?
The massive search on the social media began when Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave a condolence speech. There was no mention of any holiday in his commiseration, leaving millions of ‘chhutti-seeking’ corporate Indians restless with anxiety.
Google analytics reflected a sad state of affairs. Over 10 million (1 crore) Indians Googled, “is it a holiday on Tuesday”? We developed sudden amnesia and forgot all about Dr Kalam’s message. Even in death, we expected Kalam to contribute to our cause, however wicked it may be. Did we only pretend to love the man? In television and other mediums, it became almost like a fashion statement to be part of the collective national pain at Kalam’s death.
This is not a reflection on every Indian. I, for one, did not pretend. Many of you would surely have experienced the sense of loss… but there also those who indulged in frivolous behaviour, those who looked to gain from his death.
Another face got exposed! It was a competition among bollywood stars. Everyone rushed to be the first one to tweet condolences. Anushka Sharma, in her haste to tweet, spelled APJ as ‘ABJ’! Farhan Akhtar called him Abdul Kalam ‘Azad’! This is less amusing and more disgraceful.