27th of July 2015, is a day of great loss for the country. It shall always be remembered as a dark day when India lost a crown jewel of the country, country’s dearest A.P.J. Abdul Kalam: India’s Rocket man, an indomitable spirit.
Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam was born on 15 October 1931 in Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu. After his completion of studies in physics and aerospace engineering he became an iconic scientist and was a leading force behind various projects at DRDO and ISRO. And with a life full of contribution towards his motherland A.P.J Abdul Kalam rose to become the 11th President of India.
In this Article we pay our tribute to this great man and try to highlight the lesser known side of this inspirational soul.
Kalam came from a humble beginnings.
Mr. Kalam’s father lacked formal education and used to built boats and ferry people for living. Due to severe condition Kalam himself had to start earning at a tender age to support his family income. At the age of eight A. P. J used to distribute newspaper for earnings.
A.P.J Abdul Kalam's Father
Abdul Kalam's childhood home
Kalam had to overcome great obstacles to complete his education.
During the time of his entrance at MIT (Madras Institute of Technology), it was next to impossible for Kalam to pay his fees of Rupees One Thousand. The amount was the scope of his father to pay. At that time his sister had mortgaged her gold bangles in order to help her brother’s dream.
Kalam's childhood school
Kalam’s contributions at DRDO
Kalam joined, as a scientist, in the Aeronautical Development Establishment of Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO). His greatest achievement during his tenure at DRDO was designing a small helicopter for the Indian Army; however he remained unconvinced and dissatisfied with the choice of his job at DRDO.
Kalam’s achievements at ISRO
Kalam was transferred to the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in 1969 as the project director of India's first Satellite Launch Vehicle (SLV-III) which was successful in deploying the Rohini satellite in near-earth orbit during July 1980. In early 1960’s, he visited NASA’s Langley Research Centre in Hampton, Virginia, Goddard Space Flight Centre in Greenbelt, Maryland and Wallops Flight Facility. From 1970’s, Kalam put a lot of effort in developing the Polar Satellite Launching Vehicle (PSLV) and SLV-III projects, both of which were successful projects.
SLV - III Review meeting room, Sathish Dhawan present
Kalam – the Rocket man of India
Also in the 1970s, Kalam directed two projects, namely Project Devil and Project Valiant, the aim of these were to develop ballistic missiles from the technology of SLV programme. Kalam played a key role in developing many missiles including Agni, an intermediate range ballistic missile and Prithvi, the tactical surface-to-surface missile. In 2012, A. P.J along with cardiologist Soma Raju devoloped a rugged tablet computer for health care in harsh rural areas, which was named the "Kalam-Raju Tablet".
Kalam – A leader with an adventure spirit
“I am a contented man. My childhood dream has been fulfilled” were President Kalam’s after he had completed a 30-minute ride in the SU-30 fighter. This made him Oldest Indian to fly a fighter aircraft and also the first Indian Head of State to accomplish such a height.
Mr.Kalam took great care of his colleagues
On one instance a co worker had promised his kids that after returning from work, he would take them to the local carnival he had also taken prior permission of Mr. Kalam to leave early. Later the colleague got so engrossed in his work that it was pretty late into the evening when he realised that he would not be able to keep the promise to his kids. On rushing back home, his wife told him that Mr. Kalam visited earlier and taken the kids to the carnival.
The Epitome of Inspiration – A youth Icon and Global Figure
In 2003 and 2006 nominated him for the Youth Icon of the Year award. His global popularity is evident from the fact that the day he visited Switzerland, the Switzerland government commemorated that day as the Science day of Switzerland.
The shocking criticism of Kalam!
As strange as it may sound Kalam was judged for inaction as a President on basis of deciding the fate of 20 out of the 21 mercy petitions.
Kalam the stalwart in every feild
The Scientist President of our country was also a great author. His book India 2020, gives well written action plan to transform India into a global superpower by 2020. He also authored many other books which are - Envisioning an Empowered Nation, Ignited Minds, My Journey, Developments in Fluid Mechanics and Space Technology, The Luminous Sparks, The Life Tree, Mission India, Children Ask Kalam, Guiding Souls, Indomitable Spirit and Inspiring Thoughts.
Young Abdul Kalam With Vikram Sarabhai
Receiving Padma Bhushan Award from Neelam Sanjeeva Reddy
A. P. J. Abdul Kalam receiving Bharatha Ratna
These words in this article are not enough to express how great a person A. P. J. Abdul Kalam was. His loss can never be fully expressed both by the common man and the government. Our Honourable PM Mr. Narendra Modi could not control his emotions while he expressed his grief by saying, “India mourns the loss of a great scientist, a wonderful president and above all an inspiring individual. Rest in peace Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam,....... He loved students and spent his final moments among them,...... My mind is filled with so many memories, so many interactions with him. Always marvelled at his intellect, learnt so much from him,....... I again bow to the work of the great man… I do not have words to say”.
Viralomia salutes this great man. May God bless his soul and he rest in peace.