Ganesh Nadar in Rameswaram
Just five minutes of brisk walking separates Kalam's home in Rameswaram from the mosque where the President prayed on July 9, 2002.
It is a thatched structure, but that is because the mosque is being re-built.
Mohammad Imdadullah is leading the prayers at the mosque in the absence of Imam A C M Noorullhuda who is in Delhi for the President's swearing-in. Imdadullah says Kalam always comes to pray at this mosque whenever he is in Rameswaram. "Kalam always stays for 10 to 15 minutes," he says.
The people at the mosque recount Kalam as a friendly person, who spoke to everybody with a smile.
"The security personnel accompanying him always stood outside but now I don't know what will happen. If the presidential guards want to come in they will have to remove their shoes and wash their feet. But, they don't have to wear a headgear," Imdadullah says.
"There is no division inside a mosque, a poor man will pray next to a landlord. And so the President will have to pray with the others, unless he wants to pray alone," he adds
A man overhearing our conversation interrupts, "We are not bothered that he reads the Gita. What's wrong if he reads that? We should all read it to increase our knowledge. There is a festival going on the St Royappa church in Thangachimadam. Many of us go there. And when our Hindu friends from out of town come, we take them to the Shiva temple here."
"There is communal harmony in Rameswaram," he says, and others nod in agreement.
The 11th President of India: Complete Coverage
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