Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam usually known Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, was the 11th President of India, serving from 2002 to 2007, he is one of the few presidents who have touched the hearts thats why during his term as President, he was popularly known as the People’s President. In India he is highly respected as a scientist and as an engineer. He is popularly known as the Missile Man of India for his work on development of ballistic missile and space rocket technology.
Stories of extreme hardship, braving impossible odds and innumerable sacrifices, abound in the lives of nearly 90 percent of the students in the country. But among them, some perform exceptionally well. Their academic laurels are so brilliant, that at times their CV looks intimidating. And each one acknowledges that it’s the right education that made them what they are today.
APJ Abdul Kalam
Several months back, after finishing an interview with Dr APJ Kalam, and just before leaving his Rajaji Marg residence he made me repeat these three words in a schoolteacher’s tone: perseverance, hard work and patience.
This, he said, was alone the path to progress. Later, much later, I realised, that those were the very words he’s lived by all through his life. They are both philosophical and practical, quite like the world he grew up in as a boy in the island town of Rameswaran, in south India.
As a humble paperboy to supplement family income. Born in Rameswaram on 15 October 1931, he was brought up by his boatman father Jainulabdeen in a multi-religious environment. He had seven siblings, his mother Ashimma at times, made chappatis for him, while the others were given rice, since his day would start at 4 am and end at 11 pm. Because he was a bright student and would often burn midnight oil, his mother would save up some kerosene oil for him.
His father, a humble boat owner, Jainulabdeen, was a devout Muslim and a close friend of the Rameswaran temple priest. Kalam was brought up in a multi-religious, tolerant society; one with a progressive outlook. His father often quoted from the Quran to make the young Kalam see the world without fear. He had seven siblings, and a doting mother who, at times, made chappatis for Kalam, while the others were given rice as Kalam’s day would start at four in the morning and end at 11 pm.
His father wasn’t educated, but he wanted Kalam to study. Kalam would get up at 4 am, bathe, and then go for his mathematics class, which was taught by a teacher who took only five students in the whole session; and bathing before class was a condition he had laid to all his students. After his morning class, Kalam along with his cousin Samsuddin went around town distributing the newspaper. As the town had no electricity, kerosene lamps were lit at his home between 7 pm and 9 pm. But because Kalam studied until 11, his mother would save some for him for later use.
Being a bright student, Kalam always had the support of his schoolteachers. Schwarzt High School’s Iyadurai Solomon often told Kalam that if he truly, intensely desired something, he would get it. “This made me fearless,” said Dr Kalam. And outside school, Ahmed Jallaluddin, who later became his brother-in-law, and Samsuddin, encouraged Kalam to appreciate nature’s wonders. So at once, while growing up, he was exposed to a religious and a practical way of looking at the world.
The flight of birds had fascinated him since he was a boy, but it was years later he realised that he wanted to fly aircrafts. After finishing school, he took up Physics at St Joseph’s College, Trichi, but towards the end he was dissatisfied. When he discovered aeronautical engineering, he regretted having lost three precious years. But he was glad to have discovered Leo Tolstoy, Thomas Hardy and F Scott Fitzgerald and other English poets in his college years.
At Madras Institute of Technology (MIT), Chennai, where Kalam studied aeronautics, he learnt an important lesson: the value of time. He was leading a project on system design, when one day the principal walked into the class to see his work. He appeared dissatisfied and told Kalam that he wanted the project finished in the next two days; else his scholarship aid would be withdrawn. That unsettled Kalam; years of his father’s hardships would come to naught. Kalam worked without food and sleep. On the last day, his professor came to check on his progress. He was impressed and said: “I was putting you under stress and asking you to meet a difficult deadline,” recounted Dr Kalam.
Although Kalam has led several projects in his professional life, he’s treated each like his last. Such was his passion. No wonder, he’s always led projects. His advisor, Major General R Swaminathan explained Kalam’s success as a leader. “He has this unique capability of being a boss as well as a worker. He can take on any role with ease.”
When Dr Kalam’s first major project SLV 3-failed the first time he was almost shattered. Also, around this time, Kalam’s childhood mentor, Jallaluddin, died. “A part of me too passed away…” said Dr Kalam. But he never thought of quitting after SLV-3. “I knew that for success, we have to work hard and persevere.” And so, SLV-3 was launched again, this time with success. He drew strength from philosophy, religion and literature to tide by his professional setbacks; also a life with few companions. In time, he also learnt to deal with professional jealousy and uncooperative team members.
Kalam played a pivotal organisational, technical and political role in India’s Pokhran-II nuclear test in 1998, the first since the original nuclear test by India in 1974. He is chancellor of Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology (Thiruvanthapuram), a professor at Anna University (Chennai) and adjunct/visiting faculty at many other academic and research institutions across India.
He spent his growing years dreaming of conquering the space frontiers on the Arabian Sea. He introduced our country to the field of Space Research and helped India to secure the position of one of the top countries in this field. His dreams of the next two decades were mostly conjured up on the shores of the Bay of Bengal, where he test-fired a variety of short-, medium- and long-range conventional and nuclear-capable missiles for India. His interest in flying led to a degree in aeronautical engineering, and eventually to his supervising the development of India’s guided missile program. He went abroad to study only once, in 1963-’64, to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in the United States.
He had the great opportunity and honour to work in the field of -Space Research,Defence Research and Atomic Energy.He completed his sixty years of age at 15 October 1991 and decided to devote the rest of his life in social service. He is popularly known as the Missile Man of India for his work on the development of ballistic missile and launch vehicle technology.
Kalam demonstrated the great potential for dynamism and innovations .Agni,Pritvi,Akash,Trishul and Nag- missiles that have become household names in India and have raised the nation to the level of a missile power of international reckoning.After graduating from Madras Institute of Technology (MIT – Chennai) in 1960, he joined Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) as a scientist. Kalam started his career by designing a small helicopter for the Indian Army, but remained unconvinced with the choice of his job at DRDO. Later Kalam was transferred to the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) where he was the project director of India’s first indigenous Satellite Launch Vehicle (SLV-III) which successfully deployed the Rohini satellite near earth’s orbit in July 1980. Joining ISRO was one of his biggest achievements in Kalam’s life.
A P J Abdul Kalam’s 79th birthday was recognized as World Student’s Day by United Nations. He has also received honorary doctorates from 40 universities. The Government of India has honoured him with the Padma Bhushan in 1981 and the Padma Vibhushan in 1990 for his work with ISRO and DRDO and his role as a scientific advisor to the Government. In 1997, Kalam received India’s highest civilian honour, the Bharat Ratna, for his immense and valuable contribution to the scientific research and modernization of defence technology in India. In 2005, Switzerland declared 26 May as science day to commemorate Kalam’s visit in the country.In 2013, he was the recipient of the Von Braun Award from the National Space Society “to recognize excellence in management of and leadership for a space-related project.”
At the same time he helped to create India’s awesome weaponry and maintained the rigour of his personal life,working 18 hours a day and practicing veena and loving literature. With the characteristics of modesty ,Kalam ascribes the greatness of his achievements to the influence of his teachers and parents.He was a simple and ordinary person who have experience a lot of struggle in his youth and boy hood.He came from a poor background and started working at an early age to supplement his family’s income.His dream was to become a pilot and fly high ,but narrowly missed achieving his dream of becoming a fighter pilot, as he placed ninth in qualifiers, and only eight positions were available in the Indian Air Force (IAF).On July 25,2002 he was sworn in as the eleventh president of India and governed India succeeding K.R Narayanan.
Dr Kalam set a target of interacting with 100,000 students during the two years after his resignation from the post of scientific adviser in 1999. He loved to interact with students by saying- “I feel comfortable in the company of young people, particularly high school students. Henceforth, I intend to share with them experiences, helping them to ignite their imagination and preparing them to work for a developed India for which the road map is already available.”He continued to interact with students during his term as a President and also during his post-presidency period as a visiting professor at Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad and Indian Institute of Management Indore, Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology Thiruvananthapuram, and a visiting faculty at many other academic and research institutions across India. He is strong supporter of Space based solar power. He continues to take an active interest in other developments in the field of science and technology.
Dr Kalam felt that the biggest problem faced within the youths of our country was the lack of clarity of vision ,the lack of direction.the poor children living in obscure place,in an unprivileged social setting may find a little solace in the way his destiny has been shaped and helped them to liberate themselves from the bondage of their illusory backwardness and hopelessness.He is a great man who changed our country ,a great inspiration for the youth like me and a great model for all.
Lets put our hands together who endeavoured to make a better India and I conclude my words by giving out a great salute to the MISSILE MAN OF INDIA,THE MISSILE MAN OF THE YOUTH —Dr. APJ ABDUL KALAM .
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:
• After graduating from Madras Institute of Technology in 1960, Mr Kalam joined the Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO). He designed helicopters for the Indian Army, but he always said he didn’t feel at home at the DRDO.
• In 1969 he got the Government’s approval to expand the programme by including more engineers and scientists.
• 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.
• SLV-III successfully launched satellite Rohini to orbit on July 1980. From then, Mr Kalam expanded India’s space programme.
• 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.
• 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.
• 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”.
• 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”.
• In a rare show of unity, all political parties unanimously voted for Mr Kalam in 2002 as the 11th President of India.
• 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.
• 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.
• 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.
The key passage from his speech:
‘Where there is righteousness in the heart
There is beauty in the character.
When there is beauty in the character,
There is harmony in the home.
When there is harmony in the home,
There is order in the nation.
When there is order in the nation,
There is peace in the world.’
Name of award or honour
2014 Doctor of Science Edinburgh University,UK
2012 Doctor of Laws (Honoris Causa) Simon Fraser University
2011 IEEE Honorary Membership IEEE
2010 Doctor of Engineering University of Waterloo
2009 Honorary Doctorate Oakland University
2009 Hoover Medal ASME Foundation, USA
2009 International von Kármán Wings Award California Institute of Technology, USA
2008 Doctor of Engineering (Honoris Causa) Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
2007 King Charles II Medal Royal Society, UK
2007 Honorary Doctorate of Science University of Wolverhampton, UK
2000 Ramanujan Award Alwars Research Centre, Chennai
1998 Veer Savarkar Award Government of India
1997 Indira Gandhi Award for National Integration Indian National Congress
1997 Bharat Ratna Government of India
1994 Distinguished Fellow Institute of Directors (India)
1990 Padma Vibhushan Government of India
1981 Padma Bhushan Government of India
Success followed Dr Kalam. Prithvi, Agni, Akash, Trishul and Nag missiles were huge successes. He was awarded the Padma Bhushan and Bharat Ratna, and then he became the President of India; one of the few presidents who have touched the hearts of so many poor children in the country.
Because he also came from a poor background, he knew the power of education in changing one’s future.
Few Quotes from him shows is Simplicity.
Former President APJ Abdul Kalam, the ‘missile man’ who came to be known as ‘People’s President’ died on Monday after he collapsed during a lecture at the IIM in Shillong on Monday evening.
Kalam, who would have turned 84 in October, was confirmed dead more than two hours after he was wheeled into the ICU of Bethany hospital in a critical condition following the collapse at around 6.30 pm.
According to reports, Kalam suffered a massive cardiac arrest during the lecture at IIM, Shillong.
Considered the most popular President, Kalam became the 11th head of the state and occupied the post between 2002 and 2007 but lack of consensus denied a second term in office for a man who came from outside political spectrum.
Meghalaya Governor V Shanmughanathan, who rushed to the hospital on hearing the news of his admission, said Kalam died at 7.45 pm. Despite medical team best efforts, he could not be revived.
Chief Secretary PBO Warjiri told reporters outside the hospital that he had spoken to Union Home Secretary LC Goyal asking for necessary arrangements to be made for carrying Kalam’s body from Guwahati to Delhi on Tuesday morning.
“The former President has been admitted to Bethany hospital in a critical condition,” M Kharkrang, SP Khasi Hills said earlier.
Doctors from the army hospital and North Eastern Indira Gandhi Regional Institute of Health and Medical Sciences (NEIGRIHMS) rushed to Bethany hospital but their efforts proved to be of no avail.
A seven-day national mourning will be declared by the Centre, Union Home Secretary LC Goyal said. Both the Houses of Parliament are likely to make obituary references and adjourn as a mark of respect to his memory.
Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam rose from humble origins to become the President in the most unexpected manner during the NDA government under Atal Bihari Vajpayee after an all party consensus minus the left parties that saw him through in an election which he won handsomely.
An aeronautics engineer from Madras Institute of Technology, Kalam was considered the brain of missile programme in India got and as Chief Scientific Adviser to Vajpayee was also instrumental in the Pokhran nuclear test in 1998.
As President, Kalam utilised any opportunity that came to him to address students, especially school children, to dream big so that they became achievers in life. A bachelor, the former President was a veena player and was deeply interested in Carnatic music. He was vegetarian all his life.
Earlier during the day, Kalam had tweeted about his function at IIM Shillong.
“He had a special love for children and fought to constantly inspire the youth of our country,” said President Pranab Mukherjee. “Dr Kalam will be long remembered for his passion, science and innovation and his contributions have enabled scientists, educationists and writers. His achievements as leader of DRDO vastly enhanced the security of our nation.
“In his passing away, we have lost a great son of India who dedicated his entire life to the welfare of his motherland. Dr Kalam was a people’s president during his lifetime and will remain so,” the President said.
“I got to work with him closely. I have lost an uttam marg darshak. The country has lost a son who worked for the strength of India. He had spent every moment for the youth of India. No person will be able to fill the gap left by him. His work will inspire us to work for the development of the nation,” said Prime Minister Modi.