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A Tribute to Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam

Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, the legendary visionary, rocket scientist & leader of India

Dr. Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam, (15 October 1931 - 27 July 2015) passed away today in Shillong after a heart attack at the age of 83. He was in Shillong to give a lecture at IIM Shillong.

Dr. Kalam needs no introduction.
Visionary, Leader, Role Model, Rocket Scientist, Humanitarian, Great Teacher and what not. Even his last few moments were spent with students.
If a country is to be corruption free and become a nation of beautiful minds, I strongly feel there are three key societal members who can make a difference. They are the father, the mother and the teacher.
Early Life
Born and raised in Rameswaram, his father was a boat owner & after completing his school, he used to deliver newspapers to help his family. Later, he graduated in Physics in 1954 from the University of Madras. In 1955, he started studying aerospace engineering & who knew at that time that decision of that 24 year old child would change the future of India. IAF.

While Kalam was working on a senior class project, the Dean was dissatisfied with his lack of progress and threatened to revoke his scholarship unless the project was finished within the next three days. Kalam met the deadline, impressing the Dean, who later said to him, "I was putting you under stress and asking you to meet a difficult deadline".
After graduating in 1960, Dr. Kalam joined DRDO as a scientist. His first accomplishment there was building a small helicopter for the Indian army. He later worked under the legendary Dr. Vikram Sarabhai. He was later transferred to ISRO where he was the director of the country's first satellite launch vehicle (which was later used to deploy Rohini in 1980). Later between 1970-1990 he was part of the teams which successfully developed the PSLV & SLV-III for India.

In 1970s, Dr. Kalam was also the mastermind behind Project Devil & Project Valiant which developed indigenous ballistic missile technology for India for which he was called the Missile Man of India.

Dr. Kalam also served as the Chief Scientific Advisor to the Prime Minister from 1992 to 1999. 

In 1998, along with cardiologist Soma Raju, Kalam developed a low cost coronary stent, named the "Kalam-Raju Stent". In 2012, the duo designed a rugged tablet computer for health care in rural areas, which was named the "Kalam-Raju Tablet".

I am really overwhelmed. Everywhere both in Internet and in other media, I have been asked for a message. I was thinking what message I can give to the people of the country at this juncture.
—Dr. Kalam responding to the announcement of his candidature by Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee
Dr. Kalam became the 11th President of India in year 2002 surpassing Captian Lakshmi Sehgal (another great personality of India, read about her at http://blog.jewelove.in/2012/07/captain-lakshmi-sehgal-women.html)

He became the first scientist & bachelor to become the President of India. Dr. Abdul Kalam is in the league of Dr. Radhakrishnan & Dr. Zakir Hussain who were all Bharat Ratna awardees & President of India.

At the end of his term, on 20 June 2007, Kalam expressed his willingness to consider a second term in office provided there was certainty about his victory in the 2007 presidential election. However, two days later, he decided not to contest the Presidential election again stating that he wanted to avoid involving Rashtrapati Bhavan from any political processes. He did not have the support of the Left parties, Shiv Sena and UPA constituents to receive a renewed mandate.

Photo Courtesy : The Better India

General Life

In May 2012, Kalam launched his mission for the youth of the nation called the 
What Can I Give Movement with a central theme to defeat corruption. He also enjoyed writing Tamil poetry and playing the veenai, a South Indian string instrument.

India 2020 & Wings of Fire, Ignited 

Many famous books have been written or authored by Dr. Kalam. India 2020Wings of Fire & Ignited Minds are some of the most famous of them.
I have identified five areas where India has a core competence for integrated action: (1) agriculture and food processing; (2) education and healthcare; (3) information and communication technology; (4) infrastructure, reliable and quality electric power, surface transport and infrastructure for all parts of the country; and (5) self-reliance in critical technologies. These five areas are closely inter-related and if advanced in a coordinated way, will lead to food, economic and national security.
  "I feel comfortable in the company of young people, particularly high school students. Henceforth, I intend to share with them experiences, helping them to ignite their imagination and preparing them to work for a developed India for which the road map is already available."
I never had the honor of meeting Dr. Kalam in person. However, I once had the pleasure to hear his thoughts live. I have always been a great fan and am inspired by his writings, teachings and thoughts. To the extent, that me and my wife generally discuss something from his book or life every week.

I hope we can live a beautiful life as was inspired by Dr. Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam.

Rest in peace sir.


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