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APJ Abdul Kalam: The Missile Man of India

By :The Report Desk
Published : Jul 27, 2022 11:26:00 AM | Remembering

“When I am dead, do not declare a holiday; instead work a day extra”, said India's former President Dr APJ Abdul Kalam for whom work was literally worship. India remembers ‘Missile Man of India’ — Dr APJ Abdul Kalam today marking his 7th death anniversary.

Early Life

Born on 15 October 1931, to a Tamil Muslim family in the pilgrimage centre of Rameswaram, Dr APJ Abdul Kalam used to sell newspapers as a child to add to the family's humble income.

Being a hardworking and intelligent student, he had a strong desire to learn and spent hours in studies, especially Mathematics. He grew up studying Physics and Aerospace Engineering. Dr APJ Abdul Kalam also worked as a scientist and science administrator for the Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) and the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO).

He almost missed out on his aim of becoming a fighter pilot after finishing ninth in qualifiers, with only eight spots available in the IAF.

Professional Life

Dr Kalam was the project director for the SLV-III, the first satellite launch vehicle that put the Rohini satellite into orbit around the earth.

He also implemented the Integrated Guided Missile Development Program, earning him the infamous title "Missile Man of India."

Under Kalam’s supervision, the country made the surface-to-surface missile Prithvi, surface-to-air missile Trishul and anti-tank missile Nag among other advancements.

Dr Kalam played a pivotal role in India's 1998 nuclear weapon test, which was led by then-Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

While the international community was outraged by the development and even placed economic sanctions on India, the Pokhran-II tests in May 1998 made Dr Kalam a household figure.

In 1998, Kalam collaborated with cardiologist Soma Raju to develop the "Kalam-Raju Stent" which is a low-cost coronary stent. The Kalam-Raju Tablet, a robust tablet computer for rural health care, was built by the duo in 2012.

He received the Padma Bhushan in 1990 and the Bharat Ratna, the country's highest civilian honor, in 1997.

He had also written a number of books. Several of his books have been bestsellers and are still read many years after their launch. Some of his popular books are Wings of Fire, Ignited Minds, India 2020, Turning Points, and Transcendence.

Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam served as the 11th president of India. Widely referred to as the "People's President", because of his simplicity, he returned to his civilian life of education, writing and public service after a single term. He became a role model for many leaders of India.

Death

On July 27, 2015, Dr. Kalam was delivering a lecture at the Indian Institute of Management, Shillong, when he collapsed and passed away due to a cardiac arrest. The country was shattered at the death of its favorite president. They reacted to Kalam's death with an outpouring of grief and numerous tributes were paid to the former president across the nation and on social media.

His life story tells the power of dreams and continues to inspire Indians. He had said, “Dream is not that which you see while sleeping, it is something that does not let you sleep.”