APJ Abdul Kalam
Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam (APJ Abdul Kalam) was one of the most beloved and respected Presidents of India and one of the foremost space scientists who put India on the global map.
Born in 1931 in Rameshwaram in Tamil Nadu, APJ was the youngest of the five siblings. As a boy he soon took to selling newspapers to supplement his household income. He later went to St. Joseph’s college for graduation in physics and completed his aerospace engineering from Madras Institute of Technology.
It was his dream to become a fighter pilot which he just barely missed. He was ranked ninth where eight were to be selected.
After his education he joined the Defense Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) as a scientist and designed a hovercraft. He later on moved to Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) as a project Director for Satellite Launch Vehicle Program.
Mr. Kalam served as the Chief advisor to the Prime Minister and Secretary DRDO from 1992 to 1999 when he was responsible for the nuclear tests conducted by India, which made India the sixth nation to conduct such tests. He also helped develop the indigenous guided missiles, because of which he is known as the Missile man of India.
He was elected the 11th President of India in 2002 and served his term in the finest way till 2009. In his position as the President, he used his influence to bring about cultural unity and to develop children’s education programs. He even had a children’s corner on his website to directly interact with the children. They considered him a friend.
Personal and spiritual life
APJ Abdul Kalam was a deeply spiritual person and followed the daily Muslim rituals, along with reading religious texts from other faiths. He imbibed the best of all cultures. His needs were simple and his lifestyle reflected this. He had not amassed wealth.
He wrote a number of books, the last of them published posthumously.
Among other numerous awards and honours, Kalam was awarded the Bharat Ratna, the highest civilian award in 1997.
A P J Abdul Kalam lived an exemplary life for all Indians to be proud of. He was a person who made a place in everyone’s heart and will continue to do so for generations to come.