Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, the 11th president of India. Today, July 27, marks the six-year anniversary of his death. (Credits: BCCL)
Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, the 11th President of India, was an inspiration and motivational figure for millions across the world. His persona and his legacy has contributed majorly in the science field, especially in defence technology. Dr. Kalam was a decorated scientist who became the first president of India without a political background.
Today, Indians mark his death anniversary, when on July 27, 2015 he suffered a cardiac arrest while delivering a lecture in IIM Shillong and said goodbye to millions of followers.
Here are five interesting facts about Dr. Kalam who is also nicknamed as the ‘Missile Man of India’ due to his highly researched, successful work with ballistic missiles and launch vehicle technology
When Dr. Kalam was 10, he distributed newspapers in his hometown of Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu due to poverty at home. He graduated from Madras Institute of Technology in aeronautical engineering. Then, he worked with DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organisation). He had also designed helicopters for the Indian Army. In his prolific career spanning decades, A P J Kalam held the distinction of holding doctorates(P.H.D degrees) from over 40 universities across the world! He was the brain and backbone of the development of Prithvi and Agni missiles of India. He also designed indigenous weapons by bringing together various institutions which led to the formation of BrahMos Aerospace between Russia and India. Dr. Kalam also made significant contributions to the nuclear capabilities of India. The Pokhran -2 nuclear tests (in 1998) were successful under his nuclear expertise and guidance. He never owned a television set. His only personal belongings included his beloved books, a veena he was very fond of playing in his spare time, a CD player, and a laptop. In the books he authored, he wrote about his struggles and wrote many inspirational quotes and poems. Many of his books include Wings of Fire, Ignited Minds, Inspiring Thoughts, and Turning Points among others. In the year 1997, Kalam received India's highest civilian honor, the Bharat Ratna, for his contribution to the scientific research and modernisation of defence technology in India.