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Tamil Nadu - Coimbatore Printer Friendly Page   Send this Article to a Friend

Kalam the teacher quizzes audience

V. S. Palaniappan

Apologises for turning up late at the function

COIMBATORE: : The President, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, chose to test literary skills of the audience at a function in Bharatiar University on Wednesday.

After inaugurating the Centre for Life Sciences established by the university in association with the Defence Research and Development Organisation, he began his speech with a question to the audience.

Mr. Kalam asked whether any one among the audience had read Saraswathi Vandhanam in Panchali Sabatham authored by Mahakavi Bharati. He paused for a while and cautioned: "If anyone raises a hand I will ask you more questions to check the credibility of the claim." It evoked peals of laughter from the audience.

With none coming forward to get grilled, he read out the Saraswathi Vandhanam and said every one in the process of learning should understand the need for knowledge on science, philosophy and moral values.

Mr. Kalam apologised for turning up late for the function. The event was scheduled for 6 p.m. but he could turn up only around 8 p.m.

He had taken part in seven official functions and two informal events and his convoy had covered nearly 140 km in just 12 hours throwing the schedule out of gear.

"I spent more time with students and they had taken all my time... I was running well behind schedule, so please bear with me for the delay," he said.

He had to wade through scores of people especially school children waiting along the roadside even at 10 p.m.

The children raised slogans hailing Mr. Kalam. Braving chill weather they were seen holding placards hailing him a "scientist, hero and a role-model."

Despite assurances to minimise hardship to motorists the peak hour traffic in the city was thrown out of gear at Avanashi Road, Thadagam Road, R.S. Puram, Sai Baba Colony and Mettuppalayam Road because of security measures.

People were stuck at these places for more than an hour for the president's convoy to pass.

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