Farewell Dr Kalam, the Visionary Who Will Never Cease to Inspire
The Quint fondly remembers former President Dr APJ Abdul Kalam.
Let us sacrifice our today, so our children can have a better tomorrow.
— Dr APJ Abdul Kalam
The 11th President of India and the winner of all three of the nation’s biggest awards – Padma Bhushan, Padma Vibhushan and the Bharat Ratna, Dr Kalam was instrumental in executing the Pokhran-II nuclear tests. A rocket scientist, Dr Kalam studied aerospace engineering.
Solely responsible for the evolution of ISRO’s launch vehicle programme – the PSLV configuration, he took the responsibility of developing Indigenous Guided Missiles at DRDO.
Born on October 15, 1931, at Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu as Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam, he began working at an early age to support his education. After completing his schooling from the Ramanathapuram Schwartz Matriculation School, Kalam went on to attend Saint Joseph’s College at Tiruchirappalli. He went on to graduate in Physics in 1954, following which he moved to Chennai (then Madras) in 1955 to study aerospace engineering. In 1960, he joined the Aeronautical Development Establishment of DRDO.
Dr Kalam served as the President of India from July 25, 2002 to July 25, 2007.
On April 29, 2009, he became the first Asian to be bestowed the Hoover Medal, America’s top engineering prize, for his outstanding contribution to public service.
In 1998, he along with cardiologist Dr Soma Raju developed a low-cost coronary stent. It was later named ‘Kalam-Raju Stent’ honouring them.
Later in 2012, the same duo designed a rugged tablet PC for health care in rural areas, which was named ‘Kalam-Raju Tablet’.
Known as the ‘People’s President’, Kalam was known for his accessibility, and his bonhomie with children, whom he perceived as the torch bearers of India’s future.
Later, he wrote a number of books, Wings of Fire, India 2020 – A Vision for the New Millennium, My Journey, and Ignited Minds – Unleashing the Power Within India. Some even bought his books just for the sheer pleasure of owning them.
Such was the appeal of a man whose vision for the country continues to inspire millions.
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