“Life is the most difficult exam. Many people fail because they try to copy others. Not realizing that everyone has a different question paper”. Dr Kalam
Dr A.P.J Abdul Kalam was born on 15 October 1931 in a Tamil Muslim family to Jainulabdeen , a boat owner and Ashiamma, a housewife at Remashwaram Tamil Nadu. He came from a poor background and started working at an early age to support his family’s income. After completing school. Dr APJ Abdul Kalam distributed newspapers in order to financially contribute to his father’s income. In his school years, he had average grades, but he was described as a bright and hardworking student who had a strong desire to learn and spend hours on his studies especially mathematics.
After completing his school education at the Remashwaram Elementary School, Dr APJ Abdul Kalam went on to attend Saint Joseph’s College Tiruchirapali then affiliated with university of Madras, from where he graduated in physics in 1954.
Towards the end of the course, he wasn’t enthusiastic about the subject. He then moved to Madras to study Aerospace Engineering in 1955.
While Dr Kalam was working on a senior class project, the Dean was dissatisfied with the lack of progress and threatened revoking his scholarship unless the project was finished within the next two days. He worked tiresly on the project and met the deadline, impressing the Dean. For him becoming a fighter pilot was a dearest dream but he failed to realize it as he bagged the ninth position when only eight slots were available in the IAF. Dr APJ Abdul Kalam is popularly known as the Missile Man of India for his work on the development of ballistic missile and Launch Vehicle technology. He played a pivotal, technical and political role in India’s Pokhran-II nuclear tests in 1998.
After graduating from Madras Institute of Technology in 1960, Dr Kalam joined Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) as a scientist. Dr APJ Abdul Kalam started his carrier by designing a small helicopter for the Indian Army, but remained unconvinced with the choice of his job at DRDO. Dr Kalam was also part of the INCOSPAR committee working under Vikram Sarabhai, the renowned space scientist. In 1969 he was transferred to Indian Space Research Organisation ISRO where he was the project director of the India’s first indigenous Satellite Launch Vehicle PSLIII which successfully deployed the Rohini Satellite in earths orbit in July 1980.
Joining ISRO was Dr Kalams biggest achievement in life. In 1970s Dr Kalam also directed two projects namely project Devil and project Valliant, which sought to develop ballistic missiles from the technology of the successful SLV programme. Despite the disapproval of union cabinet, Prime Minister Indira Ghandi allotted secret funds for these aerospace projects through her discretionary powers under Dr APJ Abdul Kalams directorship. The Pokhran-II nuclear tests were conducted where he played an intensive political and technological role. Dr Kalam served as the chief project coordinator along with R.Chitambaram during the testing phase.
Dr APJ Abdul Kalam served as the 11th President of India from July 2002 to July 2007. During his term as president, he was affectionately known as the people’s President. In his book India 2020, Dr Kalam strongly advocates an action plan to develop India into a knowledge superpower and a developed nation by the year 2020.
In May 2011 , Dr APJ Abdul Kalam launched his mission for the youth of the nation called the WHAT CAN I GIVE MOVEMENT with a central theme to defeat corruption. He also had interest in writing Tamil poetry and in playing Veenai , a south Indian string instrument.
Dr APJ Abdul Kalam has received the honorary doctorates from 40 universities. In 1979 Dr Kalam received India’s highest civilian award the Bharat Ratna for his tremendous contribution to the scientific research and modernisation of defence technology of India.
While delivering a lecture at the Indian Institute Of Management Shillong , Dr APJ Abdul Kalam collapsed and died from an apparent Cardiac Arrest on 27th of July 2015 at the age of 83.
Rayees Ahmad Kumar
Teaacher at Govt BHS Anderwan Ganderbal
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