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The then President greeted India's team members under Sourav Ganguly in 2003, a couple of weeks after they finished runners-up in the World Cup

The ‘People’s President’ APJ Abdul Kalam, India’s most popular President, died in Shillong on Monday. His vision for the youth and the nation has been well-documented, but he had a foresightedness that transcended boundaries. He had travelled to the north-eastern state to participate in a discussion at the Indian Institute of Management (IIM), but was admitted to Bethany Hospital in Nongrim Hills when he collapsed during the lecture session at the institute, where he was declared brought dead. Among the tributes were also Indian crickets and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), but the inspiration and direction he provided to the nation cannot be overestimated. An off-beat Hindi movie, ‘I am Kalam’, a story about the friendship of two children and the inspiration of one of them from the then President, perhaps gives a sense of his universal appeal. READ: Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam passes away: Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman, others from world of cricket pay tribute

The earlier generation of Indian cricketers have had the opportunity to the accept government’s awards to recognise their achievements in sport, by Kalam. Soon after India finished runners-up at the ICC Cricket World Cup in South Africa, the team was greeted by him in New Delhi. Under Sourav Ganguly, a core group of cricketers, at the embryonic stage of their international careers, promised to hold the Indian team in good stead in the future: Yuvraj Singh, Harbhajan Singh, Mohammad Kaif, Ashish Nehra, and Virender Sehwag. READ: Sachin Tendulkar pays homage to Late APJ Abdul Kalam

Rahul Dravid and Ganguly received the Padma Shri, the fourth degree honour, at the Presidential Palace in June, 2004, and Sehwag and Harbhajan were selected to be conferred the Arjuna Award, a recognition for India’s budding sportsmen, in 2004 and 2005 respectively. While Sehwag was present to receive his award from the President, Harbhajan wasn’t, and his mother Avatar Kaur received the award in his behalf.