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Home > News > Report

'Kalam wants to move into his old room'

Shobha Warrier in Chennai | July 18, 2007 22:27 IST

On July 16 at 9 pm, the Vice Chancellor of Anna University Dr D Viswanathan was pleasantly surprised to get a call from New Delhi. It was from the President of India, Dr A P J Abdul Kalam.

Kalam had called to inform the VC that he would be back to where he was when he left for the Rashtrapathi Bhavan, that is, he would be back to Anna University on July 25 when his term as the President of India ended.

Dr Viswanthan had earlier invited the President to Anna University twice when he met him but Kalam then "...did not say anything.

"He said he would inform me later. I am thrilled and surprised to get a call from him," said Dr Viswanathan.

Before Dr Kalam left for the presidential palace in New Delhi, he lived in a one-room guest house at Anna University, teaching students and guiding research scholars.

"He told me he would be in Chennai on the July 25 and wanted to continue teaching at the University. But he would decide what he wanted to teach upon his arrival," the VC said.

The President also told the VC that he preferred to stay in the room at the University guest house where he used to stay earlier. "We offered him an independent bungalow or some other big house, but he insisted that he would stay only in the same room. He also told me that he would like to have the same office as before."

The VC also said that the PhD students who were working under him, such as Father A.K.George would continue their research under him.

With a former President staying inside the Anna University campus, security has to be tight but Dr Viswanathan is hopeful that they would be able to manage the directions of the government.

"I am sure we will be able to provide adequate security to him. He may go for his morning walks like he used to in the past."

The vice chancellor has plans to provide him all the facilities so that students from all over India can get in touch with Dr Kalam. "It will save him a lot of time travelling to interact with children. He can do that from Anna University."

Though the vice chancellor wants a grand welcome for the President, there will only be a simple welcome as the President has specifically asked the VC not to have any grand functions. "So, in a very simple way, we will express our happiness for his choosing to stay in our campus."