APJ Abdul Kalam Quotes
Who was APJ Abdul Kalam?
Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam, popularly known as APJ Abdul Kalam, was an exceptionally intelligent scientist. Later, he turned statesman who administered as the 11th President of India from the year 2002 to 2007. Kalam devoted more than forty years of his life as a science supervisor and scientist primarily at the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) and Defence Research and the Development Organization (DRDO). He was closely linked with the military missile advancement actions and civilian space program of India. He was given the name ‘The Missile Man of India’ for his exceptional work on launch vehicle technology and the development of ballistic missiles. In 1998, he played a leading role in Pokhran-II Nuclear Tests.
In 2002, he was appointed by the people of India as the 11th President of the country. He came to be recognized as the ‘People’s President.’ After serving his presidential period, he continued what he loved the most – teaching, writing, and reading. For his accomplishments and contributions as a scientist, he was honored with the ‘Bharat Ratan Award,’ India’s highest civilian honor.
He passed away on July 27, 2015, while giving a speech at the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Shillong. His funeral was accompanied by thousands of people including national-level dignitaries.
Kalam’s Early Life
Kalam was born in a poor Tamil Muslim family of Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu, on October 15, 1931. Kalam’s father’s name was Jainulabdeen that he attached with his name. Jainulabdeen was a local imam in a nearby mosque. His father was also a boat owner. His mother, Ashiamma, was a homemaker. Kalam was the youngest in his family along with four elder brothers and a sister.
However, the family was not financially well-off, still, all the children were brought up in an environment that was full of love and kindness. Kalam used to sell newspapers in his childhood to support his family.
He was an ordinary student like others during school. But Kalam was keen and curious to learn new things and was very hardworking too. His favorite subject was mathematics. He used to spend hours investigating the subject. He continued his schooling from ‘Schwartz Higher Secondary School,’ and then pursued his graduation from ‘Saint Joseph’s College, Tiruchirappalli,’ in 1954. He wished to become a fighter pilot but his wish of becoming a fighter pilot remained unfulfilled as there were only eight positions available in the IAF and he attained the ninth place.
Kalam As A Scientist
In 1960, Kalam completed his graduation from the Madras Institute of Technology. After becoming a part of the ‘Defence Research and Development Service,’ Kalam entered the ‘Aeronautical Development Establishment as a scientist. Kalam also served under the outstanding space scientist, Vikram Sarabhai while he was an integral part of the ‘INCOSPAR’ committee. Kalam shifted to the ‘Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO)’ in 1969. He became the project head of the country’s foremost Satellite Launch Vehicle (SLV-III). In July 1980, SLV-III deployed the ‘Rohini’ satellite successfully near-earth orbit under Kalam’s supervision.
Kalam played a crucial role in different missions, including ‘Project Devil,’ in 1970. However, the mission was fruitless, yet it laid the basis for the advancement of the ‘Prithvi Missile,’ in 1980. He was also linked with ‘Project Valiant.’
In 1983, Kalam came back to DRDO as its chief. He was expected to govern the ‘Integrated Guided Missile Development Program’ (IGMDP).
In May 1998, he played a major role in accomplishing ‘Porkhran-II’ nuclear tests by India. The success of these nuclear tests produced Kalam as a national hero and his popularity went rising from that point.
As a specialized visionary, he made various suggestions in the spaces of technological inventions, farming, and nuclear strength to make India an advanced nation by 2020.
Kalam As The President
In 2002, Kalam was appointed as the Presidential candidate by the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA). Eventually, Kalam was elected as the President by people’s choice. He became the 11th President of India on July 25, 2002, and administered the role till July 25, 2007.
He also became the third President of all the Presidents of India who was honored with ‘Bharat Ratna’ before serving the office of the President.
People of India loved his attitude of working and interacting with ordinary people. Due to such enticing nature of Kalam, he was extremely popular among the youth. Therefore, Kalam was called ‘The People’s President.’
During his term as President, he confronted criticism for his nonaction in resolving the objective of mercy petitions that were delivered to him. Out of the 21 mercy petitions, he worked on only one mercy plea. In 2005, he advised for President’s rule in Bihar, which also came to be a questionable verdict.
Awards and Achievements
- Kalam was awarded the prestigious ‘Bharat Ratna,’ ‘Padma Vibhushan,’ and ‘Padma Bhushan’ from the Government of India.
- He was awarded upon the ‘Indira Gandhi Award for National Integration’ by the Government of India in 1997.
- He also received the Veer Savarkar Award.
- In 2000, he was honored with the ‘Ramanujan Award’ by the ‘Alwars Research Centre.’
- In 2007, he collected the ‘Kings Charles II Medal’ from the Royal Society.
- The ASME Foundation, USA, respected Kalam with the Hoover Medal.
- He also earned an honorary doctorate from 40 universities.
- The United Nations acknowledged Kalam’s 79th birthday as World Students’ Day.
- In 2003 and 2006, he was proposed for the ‘MTV Youth Icon of the Year.’
Kalam reached IIM Shillong to give a lecture on ‘Creating a Livable Planet Earth,’ on July 27, 2015. While boarding his flight, he indicated some trouble but then also went to the auditorium. He started speaking but after five minutes only, around 6:35 pm IST, he fell down in the auditorium. He was moved to ‘Bethany Hospital’ in a critical condition. He was kept in the ICU but lacked traces of life. At 7:45 pm IST, he was announced deceased due to cardiac arrest.
Kalam’s corpse was airlifted in an Indian Air Force chopper and was drifted to New Delhi on July 28. Numerous dignitaries and massive crowds paid tribute to him at his residence at 10 Rajaji Marg. Kalam’s body, enclosed in the national flag, was then taken to the town of Mandapam, from where an army truck took it to Rameswaram. People were allowed to pay their last honor to the departed soul. On July 30, 2015, the former President was laid to rest with full state honors at Rameswaram’s Pei Karumbu Ground. Kalam’s last rites were visited by more than 350,000 people.