Remembering Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam (1931-2015)

Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam was born in a Tamil Muslim family on October 15, 1931. His father, Jainulabudeen was a boat owner and mother Ashiamma, a housewife. The family resided Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu.

The former President interacts with little children during the Golden Jubilee celebration of a school at Birla Matoshree, on June 30, 2013.
The former President interacts with little children during the Golden Jubilee celebration of a school at Birla Matoshree, on June 30, 2013.

Kalam had humble beginnings and had to start working at an early age to support his family. He worked as a newspaper boy after school. He was an average student in school but is fondly remembered as a bright and hardworking student with a strong desire to learn.

APJ Abdul Kalam, salutes a guard of honour at the presidential palace in New Delhi, pics/AFP
APJ Abdul Kalam, salutes a guard of honour at the presidential palace in New Delhi, pics/AFP

Mathematics held a special place in Kalam's life and he spent hours studying his favorite subject. Upon completing school, Kalam pursued a physics degree at Saint Joseph's College in Tiruchirapalli.

The President wearing a traditional costume in Nagaland
The President wearing a traditional costume in Nagaland

However, his interest in learning the subject dwindled by the time he completed his degree in 1954. The former President also wished to serve in the Air Force, but failed to make the cut by a narrow margin. He stood ninth and only eight positions were available.

Profile
>> Dr APJ Kalam made significant contributions to India's space programmes as Project Director at ISRO. He developed India's first indigenous Satellite Launch Vehicle (SLV-III) which successfully injected the Rohini satellite in the near Earth orbit in July 1980 and made India an exclusive member of the Space Club.
>> He also played an active role in evolving the PSLV.
>> He joined DRDO after working at ISRO for two decades. At DRDO, he developed Indigenous Guided Missiles as the Chief Executive of Integrated Guided Missile
Development Programme (IGMDP).
>> AGNI and PRITHVI missiles were products of his development.
>> He was also the Scientific Adviser to Defence Minister and Secretary, DRDO from July 1992 to December 1999.
>> During his stint as the adviser, he led to the weaponisation of strategic missile systems as well as the Pokhran-II nuclear tests in collaboration with Department of Atomic Energy, which made
India a nuclear weapon State.
>> Dr. Kalam laid out his vision for a developed India where he led the country with the help of 500 experts to arrive at Technology Vision 2020 giving a road map for transforming India from the present developing status to a developed nation.
>> Dr. Kalam was also a Professor, Technology & Societal Transformation at Anna University, Chennai from November 2001 and was involved in teaching and research tasks.
>> Meeting and igniting young minds was a mission of the former president that he carried on by meeting high school students across the country.
>> His books are household names in the country. 'Wings of Fire' and 'Ignited Minds' being the most popular.
>> Dr. Kalam is one of India's most distinguished scientists and holds the unique honour of receiving honorary doctorates from 30 universities and institutions.
>> He has been awarded highly coveted civilian awards - Padma Bhushan (1981) and Padma Vibhushan (1990) and the highest civilian award Bharat Ratna (1997).
>> Dr. Kalam became the 11th President of India on 25th July 2002 and demitted office in July 2007.

Golden words
"Don't take rest after your first victory because if you fail in second, more lips are waiting to say that your first victory was just luck."

"All birds find shelter during a rain. But eagle avoids rain by flying above the clouds."

"Failure will never overtake me if my definition to succeed is strong enough."

"Man needs difficulties in life because they are necessary to enjoy the success."

"If you want to shine like a sun. First burn like a sun."

"It is very easy to defeat someone, but it is very hard to win someone."

"All of us do not have equal talent. But, all of us have an equal opportunity to develop our talents."

Books by APJ
>> Developments in Fluid Mechanics and Space Technology ,with Roddam Narasimha (1988)
>> India 2020: A Vision for the New Millennium (1998)
>> Wings of Fire: An Autobiography by A P J Abdul Kalam (1999)
>> Ignited Minds: Unleashing the Power Within India (2002)
>> The Luminous Sparks (2004)
>> Mission India (2005)
>> Inspiring Thoughts (2007)
>> Indomitable Spirit (year not mentioned)
>> Envisioning an Empowered Nation (year not mentioned)
>> You Are Born To Blossom: Take My Journey Beyond (2011)
>> Turning Points: A journey through challenges by A P J Abdul Kalam (2012)
Turning Points: A journey through challenges by A P J Abdul Kalam (2012)

>> Target 3 Billion (2011)
>> My Journey: Transforming Dreams into Actions (2013)
My Journey: Transforming Dreams into Actions (2013)

>> A Manifesto for Change: A Sequel to India 2020 (2014)
>> Transcendence My Spiritual Experiences with Pramukh Swamiji (2015)

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