Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam

Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam was a prominent Indian scientist who served as the 11th President of India from 2002 to 2007. He was the first scientist and the first bachelor to become the President of India. Dr. Kalam is also known as people's President and the 'Missile man of India'. He played a pivotal role in the nation's civilian space programme and military missile development. He was a great scientist and science administrator, mainly at the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) and Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO).

In the 1970s, he began making efforts to develop the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), which was first launched on 20th September, 1993. In the late 1990s, he played a major role in conducting the Pokharan-II a series of five nuclear bomb test explosions at the Indian Army's Pokhran Test Range in May 1998. 

He was a recipient of several awards, including the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian honour. He died, apparently from a cardiac arrest, on 27th july 2015. 

Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam was born in Rameswaram Tamil Nadu on 15 October 1931. His father Jainulabdeeen was a boat owner and imam of a local mosque, his mother Ashiamma, was a housewife. Even though Kalam's ancestors were rich, the family has lost most of its fortunes and was poverty-stricken by the time Kalam was born. As a young boy he had to sell newspapers in order to add to his family's income.

After completing his studies at Schwartz Higher Secondary School he enrolled at Saint Joseph's College, Tiruchirappalli graduating in science in 1954. He moved to Madras in 1955 to study aerospace engineering at the Madras Institute of Technology.

Later, he narrowly missed achieving his dream of becoming a fighter pilot. Kalam earned his degree in 1957 and joined the aeronautical development establishment of the Defence Research and Development Organization as a scientist.

Dr. Kalam is renowned for his pivotal role in the nation's civilian space programme and military missile development. Kalam began his career as a scientist at the Aeronautical Development Establishment of the DRDO. He was later transferred to the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) where he served as 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.
Then Dr. Kalam took up the responsibility of developing Indigenous Guided Missiles at DRDO as the Chief Executive of Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP).

Dr. Kalam led the programme, which soon proved to be a resounding success, and produced a number of successful missiles, including the first Prithvi missile in 1988, and the Agni missile in 1989. 

He was the Chief Scientific Adviser to the Prime Minister and Secretary of the Department of Defence Research & Development. He also played a major role in conducting the Pokhran-II, a series of five nuclear bomb test explosions in Pokhran in May, 1998.

Dr. Kalam flew Sukhoi-30 fighter plane in Jun 2006. Earlier in February, 2006 kalam had created history becoming the country's first President to journey on-board the submarine, INS Sindhurakshak.
Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam was elected as 11th President of India in 2002. The NDA government initially proposed Dr. Kalam's name for the presidential post. However, he received support from both the ruling, and the opposition parties. The polling for the Presidential election began on 15th Jul 2002 in Parliament and the state assemblies. he won the election getting 922,884  votes, thus defeating Lakshmi Sehgal, who got 107,366 votes.

Dr. Kalam succeeded KR Narayanan as the 11th President of India. He was the first bachelor and scientist to reside in the Rashtrapati Bhavan. Dr. Kalam was affectionately called the People's President.

The Nation honoured Dr. Kalam with Bharat Ratna, the highest civilian award, in 1997 for his contributions to the field of scientific research development and modernisation of technology in the defence sector of India.

Dr. Kalam never contested for a second term even though many Indians wanted him to do so.

After finishing his tenure as the President, Dr. Kalam ventured into the academic field. Interacting with bright young minds was what he loved the most. He became a visiting professor at the Indian Institute of Management Shillong the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, and the Indian Institute of Management Indore.

The post-presidency years also saw him teaching information technology at the International Institute of Information Technology, Hyderabad, and technology at Banaras Hindu University and Anna University. He also served as the Chancellor of the Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology, Thiruvananthapuram. He was an adjunct at many other academic and research institutions across India.

Dr. Dalam was a prolific literary contributor after his political career. In 2012 he launched a programme called 'What can i give Movement' to develop a 'giving' attitude among the youth, and to encourage them to contribute towards the nation's progress.

Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam was a receipient of the Padma Bhushan Padma Vibhushan and Bharat Ratna awards.
He remained active till the very end of his life. While delivering a lecture at the Indian Institute of Management, Shillong on 27th Jul 2015, he collapsed. He was confirmed dead of a cardiac arrest. 

The Government of India declared a seven-day state mourning period as a mark of respect.

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