There are many bright gems in the crown of mother India. One of the brightest gems is Dr A P J Abdul Kalam.
Birth and student life
Abdul PakirJainuddeen Abdul Kalam was born in a poor Muslim family of Rameshwarm, in the southern state Tamil Nadu ( Then Madras) of India on 15 October 1931. His father was a very religious man. He rented boats Kalam’s mother was very affectionate. These qualities of his parents had a profound effect on Dr Kalam’s later life. Kalam was a very bright student. His favourite subjects were science and mathematics in which he showed promise. He went to St Joseph’s College and from there to Madras Institute of Technology. He obtained a degree in aeronautical engineering from there. He became an aerospace scientist who later joined India’s defence department after graduating from M.I.T.
He hoped to become a fighter pilot but anyhow it was not possible. Instead, he joined the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) as a Senior scientific assistant in 1958. From there he moved to the Indian space Research Organization (ISRO) in 1969. The Organization was then newly formed. He became the project Director of the SLV- III. It was the first satellite launch vehicle designed and produced on Indian soil. Again coming back to the DRDO in 1982, now as the Director, Kalam implemented the integrated Guided Missile Development Programme. In 1992 Kalam became the scnior scientific advisor to the defence minister of the country. He used the position to campaign for the development of India’s nuclear capabilities. He was hailed as a national hero when in 1998 five nuclear devices were detonated in the Rejasthan Desert. The world powers could not bear with India’s entry to the nuclear club but kalam was hailed as the national hero.
In 2002, Dr APJ Abdul kalam became the 11th President of India. National Democratic Alliance (NDA), the then BJP led ruling party extended it’s hand to elect him to this ceremonial post. He was popularity known as the Pcoplle’s President. Even the opposition parties did not dislike him. His prudent vision, far- sighted decisions and outstanding outlook on life made him an iconic figure at all national and international levels. He completed his presidency and Left the office in 2007.
Awards Winner and Author Kalam
He received many awards from his native as well as foreign countries. Government of India granted him the Padma Bhushan in 1981 and the Padma Vilhushan in 1990. He was awarded India’s highest civilian award the Bharat Ratna in 1997. These were the acknowledgement for his contributions in modernising Government’s defence technologies. He received honorary doctorates from many universities. Kalam became a visiting professor of several universities after he had left the office of the President in 2007. He wrote some books among which Wings of Fire (1999) is his autobiography.
One of the greatest sons of mother India and an eminent and prominent scientists, President Dr APJ Abdul Kalam suffered a massive heart attack during his lecture at the Indian Institute of Management and subsequently breathed his last at the age of 83 on July 27, 2015. He was laid to rest with full state honours in his native state Tamil Nadu.