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  Postcards for APJ Abdul Kalam

Postcards for APJ Abdul Kalam

| CRIS
Published : Jul 26, 2016, 11:13 pm IST
Updated : Jul 26, 2016, 11:13 pm IST

Two youngsters from Kerala talk about their novel initiative to promote hand-written letters.

Saji Mathew and Jubie John
 Saji Mathew and Jubie John

Two youngsters from Kerala talk about their novel initiative to promote hand-written letters.

They joined many others in posting little tributes on Twitter and WhatsApp last July, after hearing the news of A.P.J Abdul Kalam’s passing. Everyone had something to say about the late president and scientist who told children to dream. But then Jubie John and Saji Mathew remembered they could do something more. They had a non-profit organisation they co-founded to promote relationship competency through hand-written letters. Why not combine the two, they thought And that ended up as a book — a first of its kind postcard tribute to a public leader. Titled ‘Dear Kalam Sir’.

 

“Through the dearkalamsir campaign, the old-fashioned yellow postcards became the new-found medium for tens of thousands of people across India, who came together to offer their unique tribute to their beloved Kalam sir,” writes Saji in an email from the US. He is a Malayali who grew up in Kottayam, went off to Delhi and is now in the US.

Jubie on the other hand is a Kottayamkaran who grew up in Jodhpur and has moved down to Kochi five years ago. Together they began ‘LetterFarms’ to bring back hand-written letters into the communication mix of the future. They believe that human relationships will be stronger that way.

They collaborated with Bloomsbury India for the Kalam project. “The campaign was launched in 22 states across the country inviting postcard tributes from people. From the common man, that he represented,” says Jubie in a phone call from Delhi, where the book will be launched on July 27, the first death anniversary of Dr Kalam. The response had been overwhelming. From the 25 odd cities they began with, the movement had spread to 212 cities, and they are still receiving postcards, thousands every week, at a Kochi address they had given out.

 

“The postcards have come to reflect the kind of inspiration that Dr Kalam has been in every phase of his life, beginning from his early childhood to the years after he left the Rashtrapati Bhavan as president,” Jubie says.

On page 110 of the book — exactly halfway — is the postcard with the message: He died teaching. And in the last page it is: I have seen God, I have seen Kalam. Touching and emotional messages sketch the life of a great man through these postcards. “An order had emerged on its own, from the time he was born in a village in Chennai to the time after his death when people say how every child could be a Kalam,” says Jubie. There are not just messages, but paintings and art. “We have messages in nine languages including Chinese and German!” More than 350 of these feature in the book. The rest they hope to put up in an exhibition of postcards.