Dr.A.P.J Abdul Kalam is the man behind every development of India whether in politics or science. He is the one who made the India it is today and the founder member of the Indian space and research organization.
A.P.J Abdul Kalam 15th October 1931 was born in Rameswaram into a Tamil Muslim family in Chennai. He came from a humble background where his father, a boat owner, and mother, a housewife brought him up. He used to distribute newspapers after the completion of his school so that he could support his father. He was a curious child and yearned for more to learn. He attended Ramanathapuram Schwartz Matriculation School and later he went to Saint Joseph’s College from where he became a physics graduate. In 1955 he went to Madras to pursue his further studies.
The Former President of India, Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam was hailed as an Indian scientist who served the President’s term from 2002 to 2007. He studied aerospace engineering and his last four decades were spent as an administrator of science. For the Indian army, A.P.J Abdul Kalam designed a mini helicopter.
1. He was the Project Director in ISRO to help develop India’s first indigenous Satellite Launch Vehicle.- At that time when India had hardly dreamt of its Satellite Launch Vehicle (SLV), Dr. Kalam’s efforts and hard work for over a decade made it possible for us to develop our first indigenous SLV. SLV III injected the Rohini satellite into the near-earth orbit in July 1980 making India an exclusive Space Club member.
2. He also became the Project Director for two missile projects whose aim was to develop ballistic missiles from the technology of the successful SLV program-After the success of the SLV program, Dr. Kalam also became the director of two projects, Project Devil and Project Valiant. In the 1970s, Project Devil was to produce a short-range surface-to-air missile. Although discontinued in 1980 without achieving full success, Project Devil, led to the later development of the Prithvi missile.
3. He took up the responsibility of developing Indigenous Guided Missiles at DRDO- After working for two decades in ISRO, Dr. Kalam was appointed as the CEO of the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP). He was responsible for the development and operationalization of AGNI and PRITHVI missiles. This also earned him the title of ‘Missile Man of India’.
4. He was the brain of multiple nuclear tests carried out at Pokhran in 1998 which made India a nuclear weapon state- Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam was the Scientific Adviser to the Defence Minister of India around 1992 till 1999 when India went ahead with the nuclear explosions at Pokhran. He supervised the Pokhran II explosions as the CEO of DRDO. While camping in the Thar desert for over a fortnight, he said
“The testing was a ‘defining moment’ in the country’s history, next only to adopting the path of economic liberalization in 1991.”
5. He helped design a cost-effective coronary stent known as ‘Kalam-Raju-Stent’ making healthcare accessible to all – Dr Kalam collaborated with cardiologist B. Soma Raju for the development of the famed ‘Kalam-Raju-Stent’ for coronary heart disease. The device was introduced in the market in 1994 and led to a reduction of prices of imported coronary stents in India by more than 50 per cent.
6. He was involved in the country’s Light Combat Aircraft project- Since he specialized in Aeronautical Engineering, President Kalam had been associated with avionics. In particular, he was deeply involved with the country’s Light Combat Aircraft project. He also became the first Indian Head of State to fly a fighter plane.
Unfortunately while delivering a lecture in July 2015 at IIM Shillong, he suffered a heart attack and was in critical condition; he was shifted to Bethany Hospital where he died of cardiac arrest.
Here are some of his honours and awards received by A. P. J. Abdul Kalam-
- Honorary Doctorate of Science from University of Wolverhampton, the UK in 2007
- Honorary Doctor of Engineering from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore in 2008
- International von Kármán Wings Award awarded at California Institute of Technology, the USA in 2009
- Doctor of Engineering from University of Waterloo, Canada in 2010
- In 1981 awarded Padma Bhushan,1990 awarded Padma Vibhushan
- In 1997 awarded Bharat Ratna
- In 1997 awarded Indira Gandhi Award for National Integration
- In 1998 awarded Veer Savarkar Award
- In 2000 SASTRA Ramanujan Prize by Shanmugha Arts, Science, Technology & Research Academy, India
- In 2013 Von Braun Award honoured by the National Space Society