Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam full name is Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam was an Indian aerospace scientist and politician who served as the 11th President of India from 2002 to 2007.
He was born and raised in Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu and studied physics and aerospace engineering. He spent the next four decades as a scientist and science administrator, mainly at the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and was intimately involved in India's civilian space programme and military missile development efforts.
He thus came to be known as the Missile Man of India for his work on the development of ballistic missile and launch vehicle technology.
He also played a pivotal organisational, technical, and political role in India's Pokhran-II nuclear tests in 1998, the first since the original nuclear test by India in 1974.
Widely referred to as the "People's President", 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 honor.
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.
Thousands, including national-level dignitaries, attended the funeral ceremony held in his hometown of Rameshwaram, where he was buried with full state honors.
Key Description of Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam:
11th President of India (25 July 2002 – 25 July 2007)
Full Name: Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam
D.O.B: 15 October 1931, Rameswaram, Madras Presidency, British India, (present-day Tamil Nadu, India)
Died: 27 July 2015 (aged 83), Shillong, Meghalaya, India
Resting Place Pei Karumbu Ground, Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu, India
Education: Madras Institute Of Technology (M.Eng.), Anna University (1955–1960), St.joseph's college (1954), Tiruchirappalli (B.Eng.), University of Madras
Profession: Aerospace scientist Author
- Padma Bhushan (1981)
- Padma Vibhushan (1990)
- Bharat Ratna (1997)
- Hoover Medal (2009)
- NSS Von Braun Award (2013)
Notable work(s): Wings of Fire, India 2020, Ignited Minds, Indomitable Spirit, Transcendence: My Spiritual Experiences with Pramukh Swamiji
Fields: Aerospace Engineering
Early Life And Education of Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam:
Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam was born on 15 October 1931 to a Tamil Muslim family in the pilgrimage centre of Rameswaram on Pamban Island, then in the Madras Presidency and now in the State of Tamil Nadu.
His father Jainulabdeen was a boat owner and imam of a local mosque; his mother Ashiamma was a housewife.
His father owned a ferry that took Hindu pilgrims back and forth between Rameswaram and the now uninhabited Dhanushkodi. Kalam was the youngest of four brothers and one sister in his family.
His ancestors had been wealthy traders and landowners, with numerous properties and large tracts of land.
Their business had involved trading groceries between the mainland and the island and to and from Sri Lanka, as well as ferrying pilgrims between the mainland and Pamban. As a result, the family acquired the title of "Mara Kalam Iyakkivar" (wooden boat steerers), which over the years became shortened to "Marakier." With the opening of the Pamban Bridge to the mainland in 1914, however, the businesses failed and the family fortune and properties were lost over time, apart from the ancestral home.
By his early childhood, Kalam's family had become poor; at an early age, he sold newspapers to supplement his family's income.
In his school years, Kalam had average grades but was described as a bright and hardworking student who had a strong desire to learn. He spent hours on his studies, especially mathematics.
After completing his education at the Schwartz Higher Secondary School, Ramanathapuram, Kalam went on to attend Saint Joseph's College, Tiruchirappalli, then affiliated with the University of Madras, from where he graduated in physics in 1954.
He moved to Madras in 1955 to study aerospace engineering in Madras Institute of Technology.
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".
He narrowly missed achieving his dream of becoming a fighter pilot, as he placed ninth in qualifiers, and only eight positions were available in the IAF.
Career As a Scientist of Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam:
After graduating from the Madras Institute of Technology in 1960, Kalam joined the Aeronautical Development Establishment of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (by Press Information Bureau, Government of India) as a scientist after becoming a member of the Defence Research & Development Service (DRDS).
He started his career by designing a small hovercraft, but remained unconvinced by his choice of a job at DRDO.
Kalam was also part of the INCOSPAR committee working under Vikram Sarabhai, the renowned space scientist.
In 1969, Kalam was transferred to the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) where he was the project director of India's first Satellite Launch Vehicle (SLV-III) which successfully deployed the Rohini satellite in near-earth orbit in July 1980; Kalam had first started work on an expandable rocket project independently at DRDO in 1965.
In 1969, Kalam received the government's approval and expanded the programme to include more engineers.
In 1963 to 1964, he visited NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia; Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland; and Wallops Flight Facility.
Between the 1970s and 1990s, Kalam made an effort to develop the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) and SLV-III projects, both of which proved to be successful.
Kalam was invited by Raja Ramanna to witness the country's first nuclear test Smiling Buddha as the representative of TBRL, even though he had not participated in its development. In the 1970s, Kalam also directed two projects, Project Devil and Project Valiant, which sought to develop ballistic missiles from the technology of the successful SLV programme.
Despite the disapproval of the Union Cabinet, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi allotted secret funds for these aerospace projects through her discretionary powers under Kalam's directorship.
Kalam played an integral role convincing the Union Cabinet to conceal the true nature of these classified aerospace projects.
His research and educational leadership brought him great laurels and prestige in the 1980s, which prompted the government to initiate an advanced missile programme under his directorship.
Kalam and Dr V S Arunachalam, metallurgist and scientific adviser to the Defence Minister, worked on the suggestion by the then Defence Minister, R. Venkataraman on a proposal for simultaneous development of a quiver of missiles instead of taking planned missiles one after another.
R Venkatraman was instrumental in getting the cabinet approval for allocating ₹ 3.88 billion for the mission, named Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP) and appointed Kalam as the chief executive.
Kalam played a major part in developing many missiles under the mission including Agni, an intermediate range ballistic missile and Prithvi, the tactical surface-to-surface missile, although the projects have been criticised for mismanagement and cost and time overruns.
Kalam served as the Chief Scientific Adviser to the Prime Minister and Secretary of the Defence Research and Development Organisation from July 1992 to December 1999.
The Pokhran-II nuclear tests were conducted during this period in which he played an intensive political and technological role. Kalam served as the Chief Project Coordinator, along with Rajagopala Chidambaram, during the testing phase.
Media coverage of Kalam during this period made him the country's best known nuclear scientist.
However, the director of the site test, K Santhanam, said that the thermonuclear bomb had been a "fizzle" and criticized Kalam for issuing an incorrect report. Both Kalam and Chidambaram dismissed the claims.
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".
Personal Life of Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam:
Kalam was the youngest of five siblings, the eldest of whom was a sister, Asim Zohra (d. 1997), followed by three elder brothers: Mohammed Muthu Meera Lebbai Maraikayar (born 4 November 1916), Mustafa Kalam (d. 1999) and Kasim Mohammed (d. 1995).
He was extremely close to his elder siblings and their extended families throughout his life, and would regularly send small sums of money to his older relations, himself remaining a lifelong bachelor.
Kalam was noted for his integrity and his simple lifestyle. He never owned a television, and was in the habit of rising at 6:30 or 7 a.m and sleeping by 2 a.m.
His few personal possessions included his books, his veena, some articles of clothing, a CD player and a laptop; at his death, he left no will, and his possessions went to his eldest brother, who survived him.
Awards And Honors:
Kalam received 7 honorary doctorates from 40 universities. The Government of India honoured him with the Padma Bhushan in 1981 and the Padma Vibhushan in 1990 for his work with ISRO and DRDO and his role as a scientific advisor to the Government.
In 1997, Kalam received India's highest civilian honor, the Bharat Ratna, for his contribution to the scientific research and modernization of defense technology in India.
In 2013, he was the recipient of the Von Braun Award from the National Space Society "to recognize excellence in the management and leadership of a space-related project".
In 2012, Kalam was ranked number 2 in Outlook India's poll of the Greatest Indian.
Following his death, Kalam received numerous tributes. The Tamil Nadu state government announced that his birthday, 15 October, would be observed across the state as "Youth Renaissance Day;" the state government further instituted the "Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam Award," constituting an 8-gram gold medal, a certificate and ₹500,000 (US$7,000).
The award will be awarded annually on Independence Day, beginning in 2015, to residents of the state with achievements in promoting scientific growth, the humanities or the welfare of students.
On the anniversary of Kalam's birth in 2015 the CBSE set topics on his name in the CBSE expression series.
The Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, ceremonially released postage stamps commemorating Kalam at DRDO Bhawan in New Delhi on 15 October 2015, the 84th anniversary of Kalam's birth.
Researchers at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), had discovered a new bacterium on the filters of the International Space Station (ISS) and named it Solibacillus kalamii to honor the late president Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam.
Several educational and scientific institutions and other locations were renamed or named in honour of Kalam following his death.
An agricultural college at Kishanganj, Bihar, was renamed the "Dr. Kalam Agricultural College, Kishanganj" by the Bihar state government on the day of Kalam's funeral.
The state government also announced it would name a proposed science city after Kalam.
India's First Medical Tech Institute named as Kalam Institute of Health Technology located at Visakhapatnam.
Uttar Pradesh Technical University (UPTU) was renamed "A.P.J. Abdul Kalam Technical University" by the Uttar Pradesh state government.
A.P.J. Abdul Kalam Memorial Travancore Institute of Digestive Diseases, a new research institute in Kollam city, Kerala attached to the Travancore Medical College Hospital.
A new academic complex at Mahatma Gandhi University in Kerala.
Construction of Dr. A.P.J Abdul Kalam Science City started in Patna in February 2019.
A new science centre and planetarium in Lawspet, Puducherry.
India and the US have launched the Fulbright-Kalam Climate Fellowship in September 2014. The first call for applicants was announced on Friday 12 March 2016, for the fellowship which will enable up to 6 Indian PhD students and post-doctoral researchers to work with US host institutions for a period of 6–12 months. The fellowship will be operated by the binational US-India Educational Foundation (USIEF) under the Fulbright programme.
Kerala Technological University, headquartered at Thiruvananthapuram where Kalam lived for years, was renamed to A P J Abdul Kalam Technological University after his death.
Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Planetarium in Burla, Sambalpur, Odisha was named after him.
Other Awards And Honors:
|Year of award or honour||Name of award or honour||Awarding organisation|
|2014||Honorary professor||Beijing University, China|
|2014||Doctor of Science||Edinburgh University, UK|
|2013||Von Braun Award||National Space Society|
|2012||Doctor of Laws (Honoris Causa)||Simon Fraser University|
|2011||IEEE Honorary Membership||IEEE|
|2010||Doctor of Engineering||University of Waterloo|
|2009||Honorary Doctorate||Oakland University|
|2009||Hoover Medal||ASME Foundation, USA|
|2009||International von Kármán Wings Award||California Institute of Technology, USA|
|2008||Doctor of Engineering (Honoris Causa)||Nanyang Technological University, Singapore|
|2008||Doctor of Science (Honoris Causa)||Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh|
|2007||Honorary Doctorate of Science and Technology||Carnegie Mellon University|
|2007||King Charles II Medal||Royal Society, UK|
|2007||Honorary Doctorate of Science||University of Wolverhampton, UK|
|2000||Ramanujan Award||Alwars Research Centre, Chennai|
|1998||Veer Savarkar Award||Government of India|
|1997||Indira Gandhi Award for National Integration||Indian National Congress|
|1997||Bharat Ratna||Government of India|
|1995||Honorary Fellow||National Academy of Medical Sciences,|
|1994||Distinguished Fellow||Institute of Directors (India)|
|1990||Padma Vibhushan||Government of India|
|1981||Padma Bhushan||Government of India|
Books, Documentaries And Popular culture:
- Developments in Fluid Mechanics and Space Technology by A P J Abdul Kalam and Roddam Narasimha; Indian Academy of Sciences, 1988
- India 2020: A Vision for the New Millennium by A P J Abdul Kalam, Y. S. Rajan; New York, 1998.
- Wings of Fire: An Autobiography by A P J Abdul Kalam, Arun Tiwari; Universities Press, 1999.
- Ignited Minds: Unleashing the Power Within India by A P J Abdul Kalam; Viking, 2002.
- The Luminous Sparks by A P J Abdul Kalam, by; Punya Publishing Pvt Ltd., 2004.
- Mission India by A P J Abdul Kalam, Paintings by Manav Gupta; Penguin Books, 2005.
- Inspiring Thoughts by A P J Abdul Kalam; Rajpal & Sons, 2007.
- Indomitable Spirit by A P J Abdul Kalam; Rajpal and Sons Publishing.
- Envisioning an Empowered Nation by A P J Abdul Kalam with A Sivathanu Pillai; Tata McGraw-Hill, New Delhi
- You Are Born To Blossom: Take My Journey Beyond by A P J Abdul Kalam and Arun Tiwari; Ocean Books, 2011.
- Turning Points: A journey through challenges by A P J Abdul Kalam; Harper Collins India, 2012.
- Target 3 Billion by A P J Abdul Kalam and Srijan Pal Singh; December 2011 | Publisher Penguin Books.
- My Journey: (titled எனது பயணம் – Tamil) Transforming
- Dreams into Actions by A P J Abdul Kalam; August 2013 by the Rupa Publication.
- A Manifesto for Change: A Sequel to India 2020 by A P J Abdul Kalam and V Ponraj; July 2014 by Harper Collins.
- Forge your Future: Candid, Forthright, Inspiring by A P J Abdul Kalam; by Rajpal and Sons, 29 October 2014.
- Reignited: Scientific Pathways to a Brighter Future by A P J Abdul Kalam and Srijan Pal Singh; by Penguin India, 14 May 2015.
- Transcendence: My Spiritual Experiences with Pramukh Swamiji by A P J Abdul Kalam with Arun Tiwari; HarperCollins Publishers, June 2015.
- Advantage India: From Challenge to Opportunity by A P J Abdul Kalam and Srijan Pal Singh; HarperCollins Publishers,15 Oct 2015.