“Dream is not the thing you see in sleep but is that thing that doesn't let you sleep.” – APJ Abdul Kalam
Born in a Tamil-Muslim household of a Pambam Island (now Tamil Nadu) in Rameswaram, Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam, also known as APJ Abdul Kalam was used to be considered as one of the brightest minds in his whole class. Since childhood, he had the strong desire to learn and acquire knowledge. His interest in mathematics helped him in establishing his career as a scientist. He became the 11th President of India in 2002 and was known to be a ‘People’s President’.
Coming from a background where he saw a lot of hardships and difficulties during his education, he always wanted to make sure that every student of our country attains basic knowledge so that they could read and write. After completing his graduation from Madras Institute of Technology in 1960, Abdul Kalam went on to begin his career with Aeronautical Development Establishment of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) as a scientist. Later, he was transferred to Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) where he was the project director of India's first Satellite Launch Vehicle (SLV-III).
His life has been an inspiration to the masses. He carried the phenomenon of simple living and high thinking, with a grace.
Today, on his third death anniversary, we remember him with these 10 unknown facts about Dr APJ Abdul Kalam:
• APJ Abdul Kalam never ran away from hard work. Even as a school student he used to sell newspapers to help his father in managing the expenses.
• His career took off when he became the project director of India’s first Satellite Launch Vehicle (SLV-III) which deployed the ‘Rohini’ satellite in near earth orbit in 1980. After his active participation in the Indian ballistic missile development and its technology, he became the ‘Missile Man’ of India.
• Our country owes its development as a nuclear nation to APJ Abdul Kalam’s organisational and technical support for Pokhran-II nuclear tests in 1998, the first such tests after a gap of 24 years.
• His impact as a scientist was so powerful that May 26th is considered as ‘Science Day’ in Switzerland to commemorate APJ Kalam’s visit.
• APJ Abdul Kalam was a renowned scientist who turned into a famous author after his book ‘Wings of Fire: An Autobiography’ was published. It was translated into 13 languages, including French and Chinese.
• Once he was asked by a journalist how would he like to be remembered: as a scientist, a president or a teacher. To this he smiled and replied – “I want to be remembered as a teacher first and then as any other person.”
• He was the recipient of honorary doctorate from 40 universities across the world.
• Dr APJ Abdul Kalam had won many titles and awards which include Bharat Ratna (1997), Padma Bhushan (1981) and Padma Vibhushan (1990).
• He became the 11th President of India on July 25, 2002. Because of his humble attitude and innovative ideas for the development of this nation, he was considered as the ‘People’s President’.
• Because of his love for students and focus on promoting education, the United Nations declared his birthday (October 15) as ‘World Student’s Day’ in 2010. Although this day is not listed in the UN international days list.
He died on July 27, 2015, while delivering a lecture at the IIM, Shillong. He had an apparent cardiac arrest which led to his demise. On his death anniversary, we remember him as a dedicated student, great president, lovable teacher and an immortal visionary. He was, and will always be an inspiration to the whole mankind.
- Shruti Niraj