Rameswaram | Late former President A P J Abdul Kalam may not have left behind any will and had asked his elder brother to take care of a small piece of property he owned. I am not aware of any will left behind by my uncle (Kalam).
One by one, several of our properties were sold. What remains is the ancestral house and a small site near the house which Kalam’s father Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen had left for him, the late former president’s nephew Jainulabdeen said. Kalam had asked his elder brother Muthu Meeran Labbai Maraiker to take care of his properties. We have been taking care of that, Kalam’s elder brother’s son added.
Kalam’s ancestors once had commercial interests and vast property. They also operated ferry services to transport pilgrims coming to Pamban by boats centuries ago, when there was no bridge between the mainland and this island, he said.
This was what got them the family title ‘Mara Kalam’ (wooden boat) iyakkivers–which over the years came to be called Maraiker.
Their commercial interests involved transporting groceries from the mainland for sale to people here, as well as Sri Lanka. But their fortunes took a nosedive when the bridge was laid across the sea connecting the mainland to the island.
Though they initially had enormous property in the island, they all had to be sold to maintain the family as well the Mohaindeen Andavar mosque, housed in the street where Kalam’s ancestral property is located, Jainulabdeen said. Kalam’s ancestral house too is unique.
The first floor houses a museum, while the family runs a small business on the second floor where Jainulabdeen sells articles like conchs as souvenirs for a small income. A member of Jamath said Kalam used to send Rs 1.10 lakh every year for the Porridge (porridge given in the Mosque during Ramzan). This year prior to Ramzan, Kalam had sent money to all his family members from his pension, a family member said.
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