Condolence meeting for former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam at Umshyrpi College on Wednesday. Telegraph picture
Shillong, July 30:The library at the Madina Masjid, the Northeast's only glass mosque, will be named Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam Islamic Library after the former President who passed away here on Monday.
"We have decided to name our library on the top floor of the mosque in honour of Kalam. This is a tribute to the man who had devoted himself to the service of the nation," Shillong Muslim Union general secretary and former Meghalaya minister Sayeedullah Nongrum said.
The library will have books on comparative religious studies and other subjects, besides those authored by Kalam.
Nongrum felt that the naming of the library after Kalam would be the best way to pay tribute to the former President.
"Kalam used to exhort parents to have a small library in their homes in order to encourage their children to read so that they inculcate the habit," he added.
Enclosed with coloured glass and a touch of tiles and marble, the masjid, which is the largest mosque-cum-library-cum-theological centre-cum-orphanage in the Northeast, was inaugurated in 2012.
Located on the premises of the Idgah complex, Laban, the structure is 120 feet wide and 61 feet long.
This morning, while Kalam's funeral rites were being performed at Rameshwaram, his hometown in Tamil Nadu, hundreds of people gathered at the Idgah here for a special prayer service - Namaz-e-Janazah-Gayabana - or funeral service in absentia.
"Everybody prayed for the departed soul. This was the first time that such a service was held in Shillong. This shows that the people of Shillong are always with him (Kalam)," Nongrum said.
Every year on July 27, Kalam's death anniversary, there will be a recitation of the Quran in memory of the former President, he added.
The story about Kalam selling newspapers during his youth in Tamil Nadu has struck a chord with members of the Meghalaya Newspaper Hawkers and Vendors Association (MNH&VA).
"We express our deep sorrow and grief over the sudden demise of Kalam in Shillong. Kalam, the people's President and the Missile Man, had, along with one of his cousins, Samsuddin, gonearound town distributing newspapers in his younger days," association adviser L.P. Warjri said.
The Meghalaya unit of the BJP said it would ask the state government to erect Kalam's statue in the city "so that the students, in particular, can remember him and be inspired."
This evening, IIM Shillong organised a shraddhanjali (homage) in honour of Kalam at its Mayurbhanj Palace Complex, Nongthymmai.