A. P. J. Abdul Kalam – Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam was the 11th and the most-loved President of India. Though he was a well-known and reputed scientist who made India proud with his missile defence programme he loves ‘teaching’ more than anything else.
On July 27, 2015, while lecturing at the IIM Shillong, Kalam fell down as he suffered a stroke and passed away. In 2010, the United Nations declared his birthday as ‘World Student’s Day’. A significant subject in the history of India is our Dr APJ Abdul Kalam. He is popularly known as the ‘Missile Man of India’.
He turned the chapters of countless people by means of his sumptuous speeches that acted as a catalyst to student’s growth. Dr APJ Abdul Kalam is a live wire at the dais when he holds the mic and when he begins to chip in with golden words, it is such a sweet thing to hear. He is certainly the greatest ever icon, we people look up to. He is an inspiration not just to the Indians but even the people from other nations as well.
Kalam announced his arrival to the world on October 15, 1931. Today, we are celebrating his birth anniversary. He was born to Jainulabudeen, a boat owner, and Ashiamma, a homemaker, in Ramanathapuram district of Tamil Nadu. Kalam understood the difficulties of the family in his young age itself and in a bid to support them, he used to distribute newspapers post the school hours.
Abdul Kalam was elected as the 11th President of India from 2002 to 2007, taking over KR Narayanan. He was admired and liked by many for his simple and humble nature. So, he is popularly called the ‘People’s President’. Ever since his childhood, Abdul Kalam dreamt of becoming a fighter pilot to represent the Indian Air Force but he missed it by a whisker. 8 candidates were selected for the position and Kalam was at the ninth position.
His immense contribution on the launch of “vehicle technology” and “ballistic missile”, he is widely recognised as the ‘Missile Man of India’. After proudly becoming the President of India, Kalam founded a trust named PURA which is known as “Providing Urban Amenities to Rural Areas” and then he started donating his salaries (that he worked day and night) and savings to it.
Kalam has this speciality to write “thank you” cards in his own handwriting with personalised texts. During an official visit to the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre in Thiruvananthapuram, he advanced to meet his cobbler, identified as George, who used to have brief talks with Kalam while repairing his shoes. He even went to meet the lodge owner, named Parameswaran Nair, where Kalam used to have lunch while working at the Space Centre. Kalam likes to get along with others.
His impeccable autobiography starred ‘Wings of fire: An Autobiography’ was first published in English and now it has been translated into 13 different languages. Interestingly, Kalam was the recipient of honorary degrees from not just one alone but 40 universities.
Abdul Kalam was the proud recipient of Padma Bhushan in 1981, Padma Vibhushan in 1990 and Bharat Ratna in 1997. He is among the 3 Presidents of India who were congratulated with Bharat Ratna before nominating as the President.
We are proud of the fruitful contributions that he has done for the nation. We will forever be indebted to his services. Abdul Kalam is still living in our hearts!