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My childhood
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Dear Student.

The author mentions the two major religious groups of India—Hindus and Muslims—as the social groups predominant in Rameswaram.

Yes, these groups were easily identifiable. The factors that demarcated these groups from one another were their dressing sense and the place they lived in. Abdul Kalam wore a cap, which marked him as a Muslim. Besides, he lived on the Mosque Street. On the other hand, his friend, Ramanandha Sastry, wore the sacred thread as he belonged to an orthodox Hindu Brahmin family.

When Kalam was in the fifth standard, a new teacher came to his class. The teacher was a bigot and could not tolerate Kalam, who was a Muslim, to sit with Ramanandha Sastry, who was a Hindu priest’s son. Thus, he changed Kalam's seat. This broke the heart of the two boys. When Ramanandha Sastry’s father came to know about it, he rebuked the teacher for spreading communal intolerance in the minds of innocent children. The teacher apologized and regretted his behaviour.

In another incident, Kalam’s science teacher, Sivasubramania Iyer, invited Kalam for a meal to his house. But his conservative wife refused to serve a Muslim in her pure Hindu kitchen.

The unperturbed teacher, served Kalam himself and even invited him for another meal the next weekend. Iyer believed that once a person has decided to change the system, such problems have to be confronted. However, by Kalam's next visit, Iyer’s wife’s views had changed. She took Kalam inside her kitchen and served him food with her own hands.

We hope that this answer solves your query.

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