Oct 15, 2015: Today is birth anniversary of Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam. He was known as “Missile Man”, one of the most successful Presidents of India. But he too had experienced the taste of failure. Yes, APJ Abdul Kalam once had failed, but he overcame and left an inspirational message for all. He showed everyone how to learn from each and every failure.
He gave the Definition of FAIL:
A.P.J Abdul Kalam (15th October 1931- 27 July 2015) born in Rameswaram into a Tamil Muslim family in Tamil Nadu itself. He came from a humble background where his father, a boat owner and mother, a housewife brought him up. He used to distribute newspaper after the completion of his school so that he could support his father. What he had was a yearning to learn more. He was in Ramanathapuram Schwartz Matriculation School and later he went to Saint Joseph’s College from where he became a physics graduate. In 1955 he went to Madras to pursue his studies further in Madras.
Missile Man Of India:
He studied aerospace engineering and physics and his last four decades were spent as an administrator of science. He was also hailed as the ‘Missile Man of India’ because of his tremendous effort in missile development. He was bestowed with many prestigious honours among which Bharat Ratna is also included.
Kalam, who prefers bush shirts to suits and chappals to shoes, will have to get used to other prerequisites of power: formal wear for state dinners. Back in 1980, when the late prime minister Indira Gandhi called him to Delhi to personally felicitate him for putting the country on the world’s space map, Kalam was in a panic as he owned neither a suit nor shoes. Satish Dhawan, the then head of the ISRO, told him, “You are already wearing the suit of success. So just be there.”
For the Indian army, A.P.J Abdul Kalam designed a mini helicopter. Major breakthrough came when he was transferred to ISRO catering to the project of SLV-III. Being the representative of TBRL, he acted as the representative of Smiling Buddha which was the first nuclear test to be conducted.
In 1980s, his extensive research work and development brought many accolades and laurel to his name. From July 1992 onwards he served as the Chief Scientific Adviser to the then Prime Minister. His role in the field of technological and political field is remarkable during the nuclear tests of Pokhran-II.
“Don’t take rest after your first victory because if you fail in second, more lips are waiting to say that your first victory was just luck.”
President Of India:
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 2002 India’s ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) put forward Kalam to succeed outgoing President Kocheril Raman Narayanan.
Kalam was nominated by the Hindu nationalist (Hindutva) NDA even though he was Muslim, and his stature and popular appeal were such that even the main opposition party, the Indian National Congress, also proposed his candidacy. Kalam easily won the election and was sworn in as India’s 11th president, a largely ceremonial post, in July 2002. He remained committed to using science and technology to transform India into a developed country. In 2007 Kalam left office and was succeeded by Pratibha Patil, the country’s first woman president.
As a Writer:
Kalam wrote several books, including an autobiography, Wings of Fire (1999). Among his numerous awards were two of the country’s highest honours, the Padma Vibhushan (1990) and the Bharat Ratna (1997).
He returned to his civilian life of education, writing and public service after a single term. He was a recipient of several prestigious awards, including the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian honour.
While delivering a lecture at the Indian Institute of Management Shillong, Kalam collapsed and died from an apparent cardiac arrest on 27 July 2015, aged 83. His death was mourned across the nation with thousands including national-level dignitaries attending the funeral ceremony held in his hometown of Rameshwaram, where he was buried with full state honours.
His death is a great loss to the scientific community and to our country. He took India to great heights. He showed the way to our youngsters.