APJ Abdul Kalam
(15 Oct. 1931 - 27th Jul. 2015)
Famously known as missile man of India.
A Gem lost in 21st Century of India
Little did Jainulabdeen and Ashiamma know that their son would grow up to be the first citizen of India. An Indian scientist and administrator, Kalam served as the 11th President of India from 2002 until 2007. One amongst the most respected people of the country, Kalam contributed immensely both as a scientist and as a president. His contribution at the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) was immense. He was responsible for numerous projects such as Project Devil and Project Valiant and launch of the Rohini-1, besides developing missiles under the missions Agni and Prithvi. For the same, he was popularly tagged as the “Missile Man of India”. Kalam was honored with great laurels and awards for his work by both the Government of India and other countries. After completing his term as President, Kalam served as a visiting professor in various esteemed institutes and universities of India.
Abdul Kalam will remain one of the finest human beings to have ever lived. He lived an illustrious and successful life, and his legacy will continue to inspire people around the world in the coming years. Below is a list that tries to do justice to his numerous achievements:
2. In 1969 he got the Government’s approval to expand the programme by including more engineers and scientists.
3. After he was transferred to the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), Mr Kalam worked as the project director for SLV-III, India’s first indigenous satellite launch vehicle.
4. SLV-III successfully launched satellite Rohini to orbit on July 1980. From then, Mr Kalam expanded India’s space programme.
5. In the 1980s he led India’s missile programme. Under his leadership, India became a major military power after the successes of Agni and Prithvi.
6. He was the Chief Scientific Adviser to the Prime Minister and the Secretary of Defence Research and Development Organisation from July 1992 to December 1999.
7. In 1998, along with cardiologist Dr.Soma Raju, Kalam developed a low cost Coronary stent. It was named as “Kalam-Raju Stent” honouring them. In 2012, the duo designed a rugged tablet PC for health care in rural areas, which was named as “Kalam-Raju Tablet”.
8. In 1998, the Pokhran-II tests cemented India’s nuclear prowess. Mr Kalam played the pivotal role in the project. He firmly told the international community that such arms were only to deter other nations from trying to subjugate India, and were only to be used as “weapons of peace”.
9. In a rare show of unity, all political parties unanimously voted for Mr Kalam in 2002 as the 11th President of India.
10. As President, Mr Kalam personified dignity and optimism throughout India and abroad. His stirring speeches at the UN and the European Parliament are among the best ever delivered. His simplicity in oration and action were applauded and made him dear to all.
11. After the completion of his term as President, Mr Kalam became a visiting professor, wrote extensively and launched many initiatives for youth development. “Wings of Fire” and “India 2020” are modern classics, and have motivated millions of Indians.
12. His books envision his dream of India as a superpower, with Indians as innovative and unique in their thinking. His speeches, books, works – all are the legacy of a man who spent all his life trying to make the world a better place.
Personal life and facts:
- Abdul Kalam remained unmarried throughout his life.
- A.P.J. Abdul Kalam grew up in poverty and distributed newspapers as a young boy to contribute to his father’s meager income.
- He was a protégé of the great Indian scientist Dr. Vikram Sarabhai who guided him and gave him valuable advice.
- He always faced the press following failed tests at ISRO and accepted responsibility for his mistakes but never claimed the credit for any of the massive successes achieved at the organization.
- He was the first bachelor to become the president and occupy Rashtrapati Bhawan.
- Kalam was the third President of India to have been honored with a Bharat Ratna before being elected to the office of President.
- He was known to write his own thank you cards with personalized messages in his own handwriting.
- He was a scholar of Thirukkural (a classic of couplets or Kurals) and was known to quote at least one couplet in most of his speeches.
- He had a keen interest in literature and wrote poems in his native Tamil.
- A practicing Muslim, he was also well versed with Hindu traditions and read the Bhagavad Gita.
- He had more than a million followers on Twitter but followed only 38 people.