On 27 July 2015, India lost its most loved President - Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam better known as A. P. J. Abdul Kalam. Tomorrow will mark his 5th death anniversary.
Kalam was the 11th and President of India. Though he was a scientist who made our country proud with his missile defence programme, his favourite job was ‘teaching’. And he always wanted the world to remember him for that and coincidently he died doing what he loved the most. On July 27, 2015, while delivering a lecture at the IIM Shillong, Kalam fell down suffering a stroke and passed away.
On this occasion of the death anniversary of APJ Abdul Kalam, we bring to you few interesting facts about the ‘Missile Man’ of India.
Kalam was born on October 15, 1931, to Jainulabudeen, a boat owner, and Ashiamma, a housewife, at Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu.
In order to support his family, he used to distribute newspapers after his school hours.
He was elected as the 11th President of India from 2002 to 2007, succeeding KR Narayanan. For his simple and humble nature, he is widely referred to as the ‘People’s President’.
Kalam missed an opportunity to become a fighter pilot for the Indian Air force. His dreams were shattered when he was ranked 9th when there were only 8 openings.
For his contribution on the launch of vehicle technology and ballistic missile he came to be known as the ‘Missile Man of India’.
In 2017, a newly discovered organism found on the International Space Station was named after APJ Abdul Kalam by NASA. Name of the bacteria was Solibacillus kalamii.
Kalam also made significant contributions to the nuclear capabilities of India. The Pokhran -2 nuclear tests (in 1998) were successful thanks to his organizational and technical support.
He supported the abolition of the death penalty saying that as President of India he felt pain in deciding mercy petitions of death row convicts.
He received honorary doctorates from more than 40 national and international universities during his lifetime.
Kalam was the recipient of Padma Bhushan (1981), Padma Vibhushan (1990) and Bharat Ratna (1997) for his contribution to the scientific research and modernisation of defence technology in India.
His autobiography ‘Wings of Fire: An Autobiography’ was first published in English and now has been translated into 13 languages.
Kalam used to love the Veena and often played the instrument at his residence.
He would write poetry in Tamil and also published several books such as Wings of Fire, Ignited Minds, Inspiring Thoughts, and Turning Points among others.
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