In this Indian name, the name Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen is a patronymic, not a family name, and the person should be referred to by the given name, Abdul Kalam.
11th President of India
25 July 2002 – 25 July 2007
Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee
Vice President Krishan Kant
Bhairon Singh Shekhawat
Preceded by K. R. Narayanan
Succeeded by Pratibha Patil
Born Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam
15 October 1931
Rameswaram, Madras Presidency, British India
(now in Ramanathapuram, Tamil Nadu, India)
Died 27 July 2015 (aged 83)
Shillong, Meghalaya, India
Resting place Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam National Memorial
Alma mater St. Joseph’s College, Tiruchirappalli
Madras Institute of Technology
Awards Padma Bhushan (1981)
Padma Vibhushan (1990)
Bharat Ratna (1997)
Hoover Medal (2009)
NSS Von Braun Award (2013)
Notable work(s)Wings of Fire, India 2020, Ignited Minds, Indomitable Spirit, Transcendence: My Spiritual Experiences with Pramukh Swamiji
Fields : Aerospace Engineering
Institutions Defence Research and Development Organisation
Indian Space Research Organisation
Who is A. P. J. Abdul Kalam?
A. P. J. Abdul Kalam also known by as Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen was giving birth on the 15th day of October 1931 – 27 July 2015, he was an aerospace scientist who served as the 11th President of India from 2002 to 2007. He was born and raised in Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu and studied physics and aerospace engineering.
He spent the next four decades as a scientist and science administrator, mainly at the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and was intimately involved in India’s civilian space programme and military missile development efforts.
A. P. J. Abdul Kalam thus came to be known as the Missile Man of India for his work on the development of ballistic missile and launch vehicle technology. He also played a pivotal organisational, technical, and political role in India’s Pokhran-II nuclear tests in 1998, the first since the original nuclear test by India in 1974.
Kalam was elected as the 11th President of India in 2002 with the support of both the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and the then-opposition Indian National Congress. Widely referred to as the “People’s President”, he returned to his civilian life of education, writing and public service after a single term. He was a recipient of several prestigious awards, including the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian honour.
While delivering a lecture at the Indian Institute of Management Shillong, Kalam collapsed and died from an apparent cardiac arrest on 27 July 2015, aged 83. Thousands including national-level dignitaries attended the funeral ceremony held in his hometown of Rameshwaram, where he was buried with full state honours.
A. P. J. Abdul Kalam Early life and education
Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam was born on 15 October 1931 to a Tamil Muslim family in the pilgrimage centre of Rameswaram on Pamban Island, then in the Madras Presidency and now in the State of Tamil Nadu. His father Jainulabdeen was a boat owner and imam of a local mosque; his mother Ashiamma was a housewife.
His father owned a ferry that took Hindu pilgrims back and forth between Rameswaram and the now uninhabited Dhanushkodi.[Kalam was the youngest of four brothers and one sister in his family.
His ancestors had been wealthy traders and landowners, with numerous properties and large tracts of land. Their business had involved trading groceries between the mainland and the island and to and from Sri Lanka, as well as ferrying pilgrims between the mainland and Pamban.
As a result, the family acquired the title of “Mara Kalam Iyakkivar” (wooden boat steerers), which over the years became shortened to “Marakier.” With the opening of the Pamban Bridge to the mainland in 1914, however, the businesses failed and the family fortune and properties were lost over time, apart from the ancestral home. By his early childhood, Kalam’s family had become poor; at an early age, he sold newspapers to supplement his family’s income.
In his school years, A. P. J. Abdul Kalam had average grades but was described as a bright and hardworking student who had a strong desire to learn. He spent hours on his studies, especially mathematics.
After completing his education at the Schwartz Higher Secondary School, Ramanathapuram, Kalam went on to attend Saint Joseph’s College, Tiruchirappalli, then affiliated with the University of Madras, from where he graduated in physics in 1954.
He moved to Madras in 1955 to study aerospace engineering in Madras Institute of Technology. While Kalam was working on a senior class project, the Dean was dissatisfied with his lack of progress and threatened to revoke his scholarship unless the project was finished within the next three days.
A. P. J. Abdul Kalam met the deadline, impressing the Dean, who later said to him, “I was putting you under stress and asking you to meet a difficult deadline”. He narrowly missed achieving his dream of becoming a fighter pilot, as he placed ninth in qualifiers, and only eight positions were available in the IAF.
A. P. J. Abdul Kalam Personal life
Kalam was the youngest of five siblings, the eldest of whom was a sister, Asim Zohra (d. 1997), followed by three elder brothers: Mohammed Muthu Meera Lebbai Maraikayar (born 4 November 1916), Mustafa Kalam (d. 1999) and Kasim Mohammed (d. 1995).
He was extremely close to his elder siblings and their extended families throughout his life, and would regularly send small sums of money to his older relations, himself remaining a lifelong bachelor.
Kalam was noted for his integrity and his simple lifestyle. He never owned a television, and was in the habit of rising at 6:30 or 7 a.m and sleeping by 2 a.m.
His few personal possessions included his books, his veena, some articles of clothing, a CD player and a laptop; at his death, he left no will, and his possessions went to his eldest brother, who survived him.
In the 2011 Hindi film I Am Kalam, Kalam is portrayed as a positive influence on a poor but bright Rajasthani boy named Chhotu, who renames himself Kalam in honour of his idol.
A. P. J. Abdul Kalam Career as a scientist
This was my first stage, in which I learnt leadership from three great teachers—Dr Vikram Sarabhai, Prof Satish Dhawan and Dr Brahm Prakash. This was the time of learning and acquisition of knowledge for me.
A P J Abdul Kalam After graduating from the Madras Institute of Technology in 1960, Kalam joined the Aeronautical Development Establishment of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (by Press Information Bureau, Government of India) as a scientist after becoming a member of the Defence Research & Development Service (DRDS).
He started his career by designing a small hovercraft, but remained unconvinced by his choice of a job at DRDO. Kalam was also part of the INCOSPAR committee working under Vikram Sarabhai, the renowned space scientist.
In 1969, A. P. J. Abdul Kalam was transferred to the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) where he was the project director of India’s first Satellite Launch Vehicle (SLV-III) which successfully deployed the Rohini satellite in near-earth orbit in July 1980; Kalam had first started work on an expandable rocket project independently at DRDO in 1965.
In 1969, Kalam received the government’s approval and expanded the programme to include more engineers.
Kalam served as the 11th President of India, succeeding K. R. Narayanan. He won the 2002 presidential election with an electoral vote of 922,884, surpassing the 107,366 votes won by Lakshmi Sahgal. His term lasted from 25 July 2002 to 25 July 2007.
After leaving office, A. P. J. Abdul Kalam became a visiting professor at the Indian Institute of Management Shillong, the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad, and the Indian Institute of Management Indore; an honorary fellow of Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore; chancellor of the Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology Thiruvananthapuram; professor of Aerospace Engineering at Anna University; and an adjunct at many other academic and research institutions across India.
He taught information technology at the International Institute of Information Technology, Hyderabad, and technology at Banaras Hindu University and Anna University.
Kalam at Bijnor a week before his death
On 27 July 2015, Kalam travelled to Shillong to deliver a lecture on “Creating a Livable Planet Earth” at the Indian Institute of Management Shillong.
While climbing a flight of stairs, he experienced some discomfort, but was able to enter the auditorium after a brief rest. At around 6:35 p.m. IST, only five minutes into his lecture, he collapsed.
He was rushed to the nearby Bethany Hospital in a critical condition; upon arrival, he lacked a pulse or any other signs of life. Despite being placed in the intensive care unit, Kalam was confirmed dead of a sudden cardiac arrest at 7:45 p.m IST. His last words, to his aide Srijan Pal Singh, were reportedly: “Funny guy! Are you doing well?
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