Why is it said that the seeds of secularism were laid down in Dr. Kalam’s mind from his childhood itself?

“Every child is born, with some inherited characteristics, into a specific socio-economic and emotional environment, and trained in certain ways by figures of authority,” wrote Dr. Kalam in his autobiography, Wings of Fire.

Dr. Kalam always understood that the acceptance of religions was a way of life and that we live in a society where religions confluence. Young Kalam had three close friends, all three of them from orthodox Brahmin families. Though from different backgrounds and up-bringing, his friendship with Ramanadha Sastry, Aravindan, and Sivaprakasan never had any problems.

All of them chose different ways of life in their adulthood as well. Ramanadha Sastry, who was the son of Pakshi Lakshmana Sastry, the high priest of the Rameswaram temple, took over the priesthood of the Rameswaram temple from his father. Aravindan went into the business of arranging transport for visiting pilgrims, Sivaprakasan became a catering contractor for the Southern Railways, and Kalam went on to become a scientist.

Another interesting story in Dr. Kalam’s upbringing is that his family used to arrange boats with a special platform during the annual Shri Sita Rama Kalyanam ceremony. This platform was used for carrying the idols of Lord Rama from the temple to the ceremonial wedding site ‘Ram Tirtha’, which was a pond near Kalam’s house. Young Kalam grew up listening to the stories both from the Ramayana and the life of the Prophet Muhammed, laying the foundation of secularism very early in his life.

Picture Credit : Google

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