Society

Abdul Kalam’s Funeral, in Pictures

The funeral of former Indian President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, who died on July 27 of a cardiac arrest in Shillong, was held on July 30 on the outskirts of Rameshwaram, his hometown. He received full military honours before he was laid to rest, as well as visits from Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Chief Ministers of Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, senior leaders of regional as well as national parties, and tens of thousands of people. Photojournalist Shuchi Kapoor, who was in Rameshwaram during the events, documented them for The Wire.

Most shops on Dr. Abdul Kalam Street, where he had grown up, are named after him or named 'President'. © Shuchi Kapoor

Most shops on Dr. Abdul Kalam Street, where he had grown up, are named after him or named ‘President’. © Shuchi Kapoor

People start coming in to pay their respects at Kalam House from 5 am on the day of his body's arrival. Photo-ops took the event by storm. © Shuchi Kapoor

People start coming in to pay their respects at Kalam House from 5 am on the day of his body’s arrival. Photo-ops took the event by storm. © Shuchi Kapoor

People start gathering and crowding in front of Kalam House, where his brother lives, waiting to hear about the body's arrival. © Shuchi Kapoor

People start gathering and crowding in front of Kalam House, where his brother lives, waiting to hear about the body’s arrival. © Shuchi Kapoor

As the body of Abdul Kalam, ex-President of India, arrives at his childhood residence in Rameshwaram, the military band gets ready to pay its respects with the haunting 'Last Post'. © Shuchi Kapoor

As the body of Abdul Kalam, ex-President of India, arrives at his childhood residence in Rameshwaram, the military band gets ready to pay its respects with the haunting ‘Last Post’. © Shuchi Kapoor

Crowds start lining up at the ground where Kalam's body is to be brought for public viewing and for people to pay their respects to their much-loved President. © Shuchi Kapoor

Crowds start lining up at the ground where Kalam’s body is to be brought for public viewing and for people to pay their respects to their much-loved President. © Shuchi Kapoor

People, coming in large numbers from various cities to view Kalam's body, had to be kept from crowding the roads. © Shuchi Kapoor

People, coming in large numbers from various cities to view Kalam’s body, had to be kept from crowding the roads. © Shuchi Kapoor

General Secretary Vaiko of the MDMK party arrives to pay his respects at the first public viewing of Kalam's body on the outskirts of Rameshwaram. © Shuchi Kapoor

General Secretary Vaiko of the MDMK party arrives to pay his respects at the first public viewing of Kalam’s body on the outskirts of Rameshwaram. © Shuchi Kapoor

The body of Kalam arrives for the public viewing at a ground on the outskirts of Rameshwaram, his hometown in Tamil Nadu. © Shuchi Kapoor

The body of Kalam arrives for the public viewing at a ground on the outskirts of Rameshwaram, his hometown in Tamil Nadu. © Shuchi Kapoor

People gather in large numbers and wait for hours in the scorching heat to get a glimpse of Kalam's body, which is due to arrive for a public viewing on the outskirts of Rameshwaram. © Shuchi Kapoor

People gather in large numbers and wait for hours in the scorching heat to get a glimpse of Kalam’s body, which is due to arrive for a public viewing on the outskirts of Rameshwaram. © Shuchi Kapoor

Excitement to see Kalam's body breaks all barriers and the crowd turns into a mob. © Shuchi Kapoor

Excitement to see Kalam’s body broke all barriers and the crowd turned into a mob. © Shuchi Kapoor

The mosque near Kalam's childhood residence in Rameshwaram is packed with people, friends and family, eagerly awaiting his body's arrival and for the last rites to begin. © Shuchi Kapoor

The mosque near Kalam’s childhood residence in Rameshwaram was packed with people, friends and family, eagerly awaiting his body’s arrival and for the last rites to begin. © Shuchi Kapoor

'Vande Mataram' and many patriotic slogans are blared and the Indian flag is hoisted outside the mosque as the people await the arrive of Kalam's body for the final rites. © Shuchi Kapoor

‘Vande Mataram’ and many patriotic slogans are blared and the Indian flag is hoisted outside the mosque as the people await the arrive of Kalam’s body for the final rites. © Shuchi Kapoor

The body of Abdul Kalam covered with the holy 'chaadar' (sheet) being taken from his residence to the nearby mosque for the last rites. © Shuchi Kapoor

The body of Abdul Kalam covered with the holy ‘chaadar’ (sheet) being taken from his residence to the nearby mosque for the last rites. © Shuchi Kapoor

Armed services personnel decorate the gun-carriage with flowers that will escort Kalam's body to the burial ground on the outskirts of the city. © Shuchi Kapoor

Armed services personnel decorate the gun-carriage with flowers that will escort Kalam’s body to the burial ground on the outskirts of the city. © Shuchi Kapoor

An uncontrollable mob rushing toward the burial spot immediately after Kalam's body was laid to rest. © Gayatri Nair

An uncontrollable mob rushing toward the burial spot immediately after Kalam’s body was laid to rest. © Gayatri Nair

Shuchi Kapoor is an independent photojournalist currently based in Chennai, whose work mainly focuses on humanitarian, women’s rights and socio-political issues in India.

Categories: Society

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