Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam, the 11th President of India was born today in 1931. Popularly known as India’s Missile Man, Kalam’s birth anniversary is also commemorated as World Students Day.
Humble, ever-smiling, and one of India’s most loved presidents, APJ Abdul Kalam was born on this day in 1931 in Tamil Nadu’s Rameswaram. Popularly known as India’s missile man, Kalam served as the 11th President of India. Kalam worked with the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) as a scientist and an administrator before becoming President of the country.
Kalam’s birth anniversary is celebrated as World Students Day. Well, every year there is a particular theme set but for this year there aren’t any. Even though there is no official theme, the goal of the campaigns would definitely be to provide support to students around the world. This is to ensure the creation of a better world dreamed by Dr Kalam. The students’ day 2021 in India is celebrated with zeal and enthusiasm.
Some lesser known facts about APJ Abdul Kalam:
- As a 10-year-old growing up in Madras, he started selling newspapers to help his father support the family. He would go to Rameswaram Road Railway station to collect the newspapers. It was a time of war, so the Madras Dhanushkodi Mail, which carried the papers, would pass through the station without stopping. The bundle was thrown from the running train to the platform from where he would collect it.
- Dr Kalam would get up at 4 am to take his mathematics lessons. He would also take a bath before going to class, a condition imposed on all students by the teacher.
- Dr Kalam was a strict vegetarian.
- Although he grew up in a Muslim family, Kalam was well-versed in Hindu traditions and was secular at heart. He learnt Sanskrit and was an avid reader of both the Quran and Bhagavad Gita.
- Dr Kalam never owned a television. His personal belongings included his books, some clothing, veena, a CD player and a laptop. He was an avid reader and used to read books on cosmology.
- Dr Kalam donated his entire salary and savings to a charitable trust- PURA (Providing Urban Amenities to Rural Areas) – that he had founded. He was of the opinion that after becoming the President of India, the Government of India will take care of him till the end of his life, so why not use his salary for better things.
- Dr Kalam was honoured with doctorates from 40 universities.
- Dr Kalam is among the only three presidents of India who were conferred the Bharat Ratna before they were elected President.
Here are some inspiring quotes by the great leader:
- “Don’t take a rest after your first victory because if you fail in second, more lips are waiting to say that your first victory was just luck.”
- “If you want to shine like a sun, first burn like a sun.”
- “You should not give up and we should not allow the problem to defeat us.”
- “I was willing to accept what I couldn’t change.”
- ”Man needs difficulties in life because they are necessary to enjoy success.”
- “I am not handsome but I can give my hand to someone who needs help… Because beauty is required in the heart, not in the face…”
10 big achievements of India’s ‘Missile Man’:
- Dr APJ Abdul Kalam headed multiple nuclear tests at Pokhran. As the Chief Scientific Adviser to the then Prime Minister, Dr Kalam played a major role in heading the Pokhran-II nuclear tests
- The nuclear tests under the supervision of Dr Kalam, during July 1992 to December 1999, made India a nuclear power.
- Dr APJ Abdul Kalam led India’s two major science research organisations – Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)
- Dr Kalam is credited with pioneering work in the development and operationalization of ‘Indigenous Guided Missiles’ – AGNI and PRITHVI
- For his work on AGNI and PRITHVI, Dr APJ Abdul Kalam was fondly called the ‘Missile Man of India’.
- Dr Kalam led the project to develop India’s first Satellite Launch Vehicle (SLV)
- Dr Kalam worked for over 10 years as the project director for the development of the indigenous Satellite Launch Vehicle at ISRO
- In July 1980, under the guidance of Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, India’s SLV-III successfully deployed the Rohini satellite in the near-Earth orbit, making India a member of the exclusive space club
- Dr Kalam directed projects for the development of India’s ballistic missiles. He headed the projects Devil and Valiant, for the development of ballistic missiles using the technology behind the successful SLV programme.
- APJ Abdul Kalam made huge contributions to the healthcare sector. He worked hard to make healthcare accessible to all. Dr Kalam worked with cardiologist Soma Raju, and developed a low cost coronary stent the ‘Kalam-Raju Stent’
Dr Kalam died on July 27, 2015, while delivering a lecture at the Indian Institute of Management in Shillong.