Wednesday marks the first death anniversary of former Indian president APJ Abdul Kalam, fondly known as the People’s President, who breathed his last in Shillong last year. Kalam, a scientist who is known as the father of India’s missile defence programme, was one of India’s most-loved presidents. His death was mourned by thousands as they poured into the island town of Rameshwaram in Tamil Nadu to pay their last respects.
International sand artist from Odisha, Sudharshan Pattanaik paying his tribute to APJ Abdul Kalam
Born into a poor family in Rameswaram as Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam, he sold newspapers to fund his education and later studied physics and aerospace engineering in Tamil Nadu.
In this photo taken on 26 May 1989, Abdul Kalam is attending Agni’s Scientists Press Conference.
The then President KR Narayanan conferring the Bharat Ratna to Dr APJ Abdul Kalam in New Delhi.
Kalam was interested in Indian classical music and has penned books which have been best sellers- Ignited Minds, Wings of Fire, Indomitable Spirit and India 2020.
One of the little known facts about former President APJ Abdul Kalam is that he has a medical invention to his name — a coronary stent built with missile composites that dramatically brought down the cost of heart stents from Rs 55,000 to Rs 10,000 in the mid-1990s.
He was known as the ‘people’s President’ as he set a target of addressing 500,000 students during his five-year term. Even after leaving office in 2007, “Kalam Chacha” (“Uncle Kalam”), would receive hundreds of emails a day from young people inspired by his exhortation to “dream, dream, dream!”. It is said that he replied in person to nearly all of them.