NEW DELHI: “I am Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam's elder brother. It has been 5 months since my brother passed away. Today his burial site is strewn with animal droppings all over.

The Central Government must deliver the promise and build my brother the memorial he deserves. Please sign my petition.

I am 99 years old and cannot run after the officials. Ineed your support to get that memorial set up. This is the wish of every Indian.

Thank you for taking action,

APJM Maraikayar”

This is the rather sad petition sent out by the former President’s old brother along with photographs of the site where he is buried. Animal droppings and complete neglect by the government, that only recently made great fanfare of changing Aurangzeb road in New Delhi to APJ Abdul Kalam road,justifying this as a tribute to the ‘secularism’ of the former President.

He was buried at the Pei Karumbu burial ground near his hometown Rameshwaram in Tamil Nadu.After the petition for signatures started gaining momentum over the last 24 hours, the government has now suddenly moved to announce that work on the memorial is about to begin. And that land for the purpose has been acquired.

Tamil Nadu chief minister Jayalalithaa has claimed that the delay is by the centre, as her government has allocated 1.5 acres of land for the memorial. The centre has reportedly now written asking for another two acres of land.

However, the panic is evident after the family’s petition with clearances being sought, funds being arranged with the government now keen to ensure adverse publicity on this front, More so as the BJP and RSS have projected the late President as a ‘nationalist Muslim’ and yet forgotten about the promised memorial.

In fact Union Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma had received flak for maintaining at the time when the name of the road was changed, “I don’t think Aurangzeb was an ideal person. Only a source of inspiration can be inspirational. Aurangzeb Road has been named after such a great man who, despite being a Muslim, was a nationalist and a humanist, A P J Abdul Kalam. The road has been named after him.” He got flak for the term ‘despite being a Muslim.’

Significantly, Kalam’s grand nephew who had joined the BJP in September left the party after a few weeks in protest against its refusal to turn the bungalow occupied by the late President in Delhi into a memorial in his name. Instead the house was allocated to Minister Mahesh Sharma. To ensure that this controversy does not raise its head again now that Kalam’s relatives seem to have gone on the offensive government sources have let it be known that a memorial in Delhi is also being considered at the Defence and Research Development Organisation (DRDO) where the late President worked for long years.