“For great men, religion is a way of making friends; small people make religion a fighting tool.”
Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam was born on October 15 1931 in Rameshwaram, Tamil Nadu. He was born to a family where in his ancestors were Boat owners; took Pilgrims from Dhanushkodi to Rameswaram, also involved in trading groceries to Sri Lanka. It was in 1914 when Pamban Bridge came to service and his family saw a steep of poverty along the time.
APJ Abdul Kalam had done his schooling from Schwartz Higher Secondary School, Ramanathapuram. He graduated in Physics from Saint Joseph’s College, Tiruchirappalli in 1954 and completed his Aerospace Engineering from Madras Institute of Technology in 1960.
Kalam, from selling newspapers to taking India ahead
The journey which had started in Kalam’s life when he was small; from spending extra time for practicing maths and selling newspapers to help his family sustain in the times of acute poverty.
It was in 1960 when Kalam joined the Defense Research Development Organisation (DRDO) as a scientist. The journey of making India a nuclear power in Kalam’s life, he started with designing small hovercraft.
It was in 1969 when he was transferred to the India Space Research Organisation (ISRO). He worked as a director of India’s Satellite launch Vehicle (ISV) and succeeded in 1980.
Abdul Kalam was also the Chief of Integrated Guided Missile Development Program who played a crucial role in development and operationalisation of Agni and Prithvi Missiles.
In between the years of 1992-1999 Kalam also served as Scientific Advisor to the Defence Minister and the Secretary of DRDO.
Kalam as a Chief of DRDO led the Pokhra-II nuclear test which took place in collaboration with the Department of Atomic Energy.
He also missed an opportunity to become a pilot in his life. He stood at ninth Rank and only eighth positions were available in the qualifiers of Indian Air force.
It was in the year 2002 when Doctor APJ Abdul Kalam was sworn in as the 11th President of India.
For his great contribution in the field of Science and service to the nation, Abdul Kalam was also decorated with Padma Bhushan, Padma Vibushan and India’s highest civilian award — the Bharat Ratna.
Apart from earning the title of the People’s President, APJ Abdul Kalam was the most loved by the children and always expressive in terms of sharing knowledge with them.
He was one of presidents who worked even more after leaving the office of President. He associated himself with IIM, Shillong, Ahmedabad and Indore as visiting professor.
honorary fellow of Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, Chancellor of Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology, Thiruvananthapuram, Professor at Anna University and taught technology at IIT Hyderabad and Banaras Hindu University.
It was on July 26 2015, APJ Abdul Kalam collaped with a cardiac attack and passed away while giving a lecture at IIM Shillong at the age of 83.
While, personality as such will stay in heart forever, His memorial is situated in Rameswaram; the originating point for his journey.