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Abdul Kalam


Abdul Kalam who goes by the full name Avur Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam is a renowned Indian physicist and aerospace engineer who became India’s eleventh president between 2002 and 2007. Abdul Kalam is popularly recognized for being the inspiration and the facilitator of India’s second nuclear test (Pokhran-II) in 1998. He is also renowned as India’s missile man because of his work in ballistic missiles and vehicle development technology. He is well known for his interaction with the student community and his motivational speeches as well as for his book: India 2020; a book dedicated to transforming India into a developed nation by the year 2020. He was born and bred in Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu on the 15th of October 1931. Kalam studied physics at Saint Joseph’s College located at Tiruchirappalli and later aerospace engineering at the Madras Institute of Technology in Chennai. He defeated incumbent president, Lakshmi Sahgal, having received nomination and support by the two major parties of India at that time. He is a professor of aerospace science and an adjunct/ visiting professor in many universities all over India. He is the recipient of numerous awards including the highest civilian award; the Bharat Ratna. He is recognized as an anti-corruption advocate in India, launching his youth mission in 2011 with the theme: ‘what can I give?’

The early Life and Education of Abdul Kalam

Abdul Kalam was born in Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu to Tamil Muslim parents, Jaimulabudeen and Ashiamma. His parents were poor, his father being a boat owner and his mother a house wife. From an early age, he started working to support his father’s income. He obtained average grades while in school and first studied physics at the university and then aerospace engineering. While studying for a senior class project during his engineering studies, his dean, unsatisfied with the rate of the progress of the project, subjected him to a near impossible deadline of three days to complete the project or forfeit his scholarship. Remarkably, Kalam was able to meet this deadline to the admiration of his dean.

Abdul Kalam’s Career as a Scientist

On graduating as an aerospace engineer, Kalam worked as a scientist at Aeronautical Development Establishment of Defense Research and Development Organization, India. He was later transferred to the Indian Space Research Organization and was the project director for India’s first wholly indigenous Satellite Vehicle Launch in 1980, deploying the Rohini satellite just above the earth’s orbit. Kalam was said to have finally felt fulfilled in this role haven’t struggled for job satisfaction in his previous jobs. Between 1970s and 1990s, he successfully developed the Polar Satellite Launching Vehicle and the Satellite launching Vehicle III.