Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam (elected president of India in 2002), born 15 October 1931 is an Indian scientist and administrator who had headed the SLV-3 project at ISRO, moved to DRDO to direct India’s missile program. About a dozen scientists accompanied Abdul Kalam from ISRO to DRDO, where Abdul Kalam designed the Agni missile using the SLV-3’s solidfuel first stage and a liquid-fuel (Prithvi-missile-derived) second stage. Kalam was invited by Raja Ramanna to witness the country’s first nuclear test Smiling Buddha as the representative of TBRL, even though he had not participated in the development, test site preparation and weapon designing. In the 1970s, a landmark was achieved by ISRO when the locally built Rohini-1 was launched into space, using the SLV rocket. He is popularly known as the Missile Man of India for his work on development of ballistic missile and space rocket technology.
He is well known for his inspirational quotes. Some of them are:
“If a country is to be corruption free and become a nation of beautiful minds, I strongly feel there are three key societal members who can make a difference. They are the father, the mother and the teacher.” – A. P. J. Abdul Kalam
“We should not give up and we should not allow the problem to defeat us” – A. P. J. Abdul Kalam
“Great dreams of great dreamers are always transcended.” – A. P. J. Abdul Kalam
“As a child of God, I am greater than anything that can happen to me.” – A. P. J. Abdul Kalam
My message, especially to young people is to have courage to think differently, courage to invent, to travel the unexplored path, courage to discover the impossible and to conquer the problems and succeed. These are great qualities that they must work towards. This is my message to the young people. – A. P. J. Abdul Kalam
Kalam was elected the President of India in 2002, defeating Lakshmi Sahgal and was supported by both the Indian National Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party. He won the 2002 presidential election with an electoral vote of 922,884, surpassing 107,366 votes won by Lakshmi Sahgal. He served from 25 July 2002 to 25 July 2007.
A. P. J. Abdul Kalam‘s 79th birthday was recognized as World Students’ Day by United Nations. He has also received honorary doctorates from 40 universities. The Government of India has honoured him with the Padma Bhushan in 1981 and the Padma Vibhushan in 1990 for his work with ISRO and DRDO and his role as a scientific advisor to the Government. In 1997, Kalam received India’s highest civilian honour, the Bharat Ratna, for his immense and valuable contribution to the scientific research and modernisation of defence technology in India.
He has written so many books and the most noted are ‘Wings of Fire’, ‘Ignited Minds’, and ‘India 2020: A Vision for the New Millennium’, ‘Ignited Minds: Unleashing the Power Within India’.