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A.P.J Abdul Kalam

APJ Abdul Kalam

Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam embodied a multitude of talents. While he is primarily celebrated for his amiable demeanor during his presidency, his legacy extends far beyond his political role. Kalam was a prolific author, a captivating orator, and a gifted poet in Tamil. He also indulged in his passion for music as an amateur musician, showcasing his diverse interests. However, his true essence lay in his identity as a scientist, where his innovative spirit, adaptability, and effective leadership propelled India’s rocketry program to new heights, cementing his place in the nation’s consciousness. Serving as the 11th President of India from 2002 to 2007, he left an indelible mark on the country’s scientific and political landscape.

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Education and Struggles – A.P.J Abdul Kalam

Kalam displayed exceptional dedication and diligence in his academic pursuits, garnering recognition from his teachers for his unwavering thirst for knowledge. He completed his secondary education at Schwartz Secondary School in Ramanathapuram. In 1955, he earned a diploma in physics from Saint Joseph’s College in Tiruchirappalli. Seeking further education, he pursued a diploma in aircraft engineering from the Engineering and Technology Institute in Madras. Despite his aspirations of becoming a military pilot, he narrowly missed securing a position due to limited slots in the Indian Air Force, ranking ninth. Undeterred, after graduation, he embarked on a career as a scientist, contributing his expertise to organizations such as the Defense Research Service and the Aeronautical Development Establishment.

APJ Abdul Kalam as a Scientist

After graduating from the University of Madras in 1960, APJ Abdul Kalam returned to the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) as a scientist. Initially working on projects like a miniature hovercraft, he found himself seeking new challenges. In 1969, he transitioned to the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) where he led the development of India’s first Satellite Launch Vehicle. This endeavor culminated in the successful launch of the Rohini satellite into orbit in July 1980. Later, Raja Ramanna invited Kalam to witness the country’s inaugural nuclear test, code-named “Laughing Buddha,” albeit Kalam had no direct involvement in its development, serving merely as the spokesperson for TBRL.


Dr. Kalam assumed the presidency of India on July 25, 2002, serving until July 25, 2007, following an overwhelming victory in the 2002 presidential election. Endorsed by the National Democratic Alliance, his candidacy garnered support from the Samajwadi Party and the National Congress Party. Renowned as the “people’s President,” he earned this title through his manifold contributions to both the nation and its citizens. Known for his courage, he fearlessly made and executed tough decisions, including the pivotal signing of the “office of profit” Act. This Act, rooted in the English Settlement Act of 1701, barred individuals holding positions of profit or influence under the royal family from serving in the House of Commons, ensuring administrative impartiality.

Awards and Achievements

Throughout his lifetime, Abdul Kalam received numerous honors for his remarkable contributions. In 1981, he was bestowed with the “Padma Bhushan,” the Republic of India’s third-highest civilian honor. Progressing in his acclaim, in 1990, he earned the prestigious “Padma Vibhushan,” the nation’s second-highest civilian honor. Recognizing his exceptional service, the Indian government elevated Kalam further by awarding him the “Bharat Ratna” in 1997, the highest civilian honor in the country, alongside the “Indira Gandhi Award of National Integration” by the Indian National Congress.

The following year, he received the “Veer Savarkar Award” in 1998 and the SASTRA “Ramanujan Award” in 2000, recognizing his profound impact. His influence went beyond borders, as the United Kingdom honored him with the “King Charles II Medal” in 2007 for his significant contributions to scientific advancements in India.

Books he wrote

Throughout his lifetime, he authored numerous works, such as “Agni ki Udaan” (1999), “India 2020” (1998), “Ignited Minds” (2002), “Naa Jeevana Gamanam” (2013), “Turning Points: A Journey Across Difficulties” (2012), “Indominate Spirit” (2006), and “You Are Born To Blossom” (2007). Additionally, writers like Arun Tiwari in “APJ Abdul Kalam” and Srijan Pal Singh in “Advantage of India” have dedicated books to him, highlighting his remarkable contributions.

Other interests

  • Dr. Kalam, a vegetarian, possessed remarkable fluency in reciting both the Quran and the Bhagavad Gita.
  • Viewed from a third person’s perspective, Dr. Kalam was seen as a man dedicated to peace, his love for classical music evident in his skillful Veena playing.
  • Known for his captivating Tamil poetry, Dr. Kalam’s verses were renowned for their ability to deeply move readers.
  • A voracious reader, Dr. Kalam authored several influential books including “India 2020: A Vision for the New Millennium,” “Wings of Fire,” “Ignited Minds: Unleashing the Power within India,” “Transcendence: My Spiritual Experiences with Pramukh Swamiji,” and “A Manifesto for Change: A Sequel to India 2020.”

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