New Delhi: APJ Abdul Kalam did not earn the tag of Missile Man easy. Before he became the President of India, Dr. Kalam led India’s entry into the exclusive club of countries making their own Intermediate Range Ballistic Missiles (IRBM).
After leading the SLV-3 mission, which ushered India into the space age with its own launch vehicles, he became the director of Defence Research and Development Laboratory (DRDL) in Hyderabad. Dr. Kalam went on to spearhead the mission to build missiles Agni and Prithvi.
Born on 15 October 1931, in Tamil Nadu’s Rameswaram, Dr. APJ Kalam served as the 11th President of India between 2002 and 2007. Kalam, who had penned several books and inspired millions through his philosophy of ‘simple living and high thinking’, died due to a cardiac arrest while delivering a lecture at the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) in Shillong on 27 July 2015.
As an eminent scientist, educationist, author, visionary, philanthropist, and orator, Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam donned several hats in his life. Fondly known as the ‘missile man’, he played a crucial role in the 1998 Pokhran-II nuclear tests. He was also associated with India’s space program and missile development program.
Kalam was elected as the 11th President of India in 2002 with the support of both the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and the then-opposition Indian National Congress. Widely referred to as the “People’s President.
In the honour of the late scientist and ‘People’s President’, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had inaugurated the APJ Abdul Kalam Memorial at Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu last year.
He was honoured with several prestigious awards including India’s highest civilian honour Bharat Ratna in 1997.
He was very popular among the children and the country’s youth and inspired them to think big in life. He also penned nearly 25 books, including India 2020: A Vision for the New Millennium, Wings of Fire: An Autobiography, Ignited Minds: Unleashing the Power within India, Mission of India: A Vision of Indian Youth.
Kalam gave away his salary to charity: Dr. Kalam donated his entire salaries and savings to a charitable trust – PURA (Providing Urban Amenities to Rural Areas) – he had founded. He argued that after becoming the President of India, the government will take care of him till his death, so why not use his salary for better things.