Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam was born on 15 October 1931 to a Tamil Muslim family in the pilgrimage center of Rameswaram on Pamban Island in the State of Tamil Nadu. His mother, Ashiamma, was a housewife, and his father, Jainulabdeen Marakayar, 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. Apj Abdul Kalam's family was poverty-stricken by the time Kalam was born. He spent his childhood in poverty. However, his family had no privilege but still had the most precious Kalam.
The journey from Desire to Passion
In school, APJ Abdul Kalam had average grades but was described as a bright and hardworking student with a strong desire to learn. One day in his class, his teacher taught them how a bird flies. The young boy was listening to his words patiently and desired to achieve sky by becoming an Airforce pilot. He used to examine paper plane day and night; he saw the birds in the sky, and consequently, this desire turned into a passion, which he followed with his full efforts. Although his family was in poverty, they believed in APJ Abdul Kalam and assured him to teach him in the best school by seeing the spark inside their boy. APJ Abdul Kalam decided to complete his education at the Schwartz Higher Secondary School, Ramanathapuram. During his school days, one day, APJ Abdul Kalam entered the wrong class where math class was going on; when the teacher saw APJ Abdul Kalam there, he shouted at him, saying, “if you could not remember class, then you should be rusticated from the school” this incident made APJ Abdul Kalam noted. The boy decided to be the best in math. He spent hours and hours studying day and night, and in the final examination, APJ Abdul Kalam got full marks in math, and the same teacher said that APJ Abdul Kalam was the one Who would brighten up the name of our school and city. APJ Abdul Kalam said, “I felt proud that day and forget about that incident of maths class.”
APJ Abdul Kalam's education
After his higher secondary, APJ Abdul Kalam went on to attend Saint Joseph’s College, Tiruchirappalli, then affiliated with the University of Madras, where he graduated in physics in 1954. He proceeded to Madras in 1955 to study aerospace engineering at the Madras Institute of Technology. While APJ Abdul Kalam was working on a senior class project, the dean was unhappy with his absence of progress and threatened to cancel his scholarship unless the project was finished within the next three days. APJ Abdul Kalam completed the task by the deadline and impressed his dean. He barely missed attaining his dream of becoming a fighter pilot, as he placed ninth in qualifiers, and only eight positions were available in the IAF. That was a sad moment in his life, but that moment made APJ Abdul Kalam choose a carrier as a Scientist.
Life as a Scientist
After proceeding from the Madras Institute of Technology in 1960, APJ Abdul Kalam joined the Aeronautical Development Establishment of the Defence Research and Development Organisation. He started his career by designing a small hovercraft but remained uncertain about his choice of a job at DRDO. In 1969, APJ 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 let APJ Abdul Kalam experience his biggest failure. SLV-III was ready to launch. APJ Abdul Kalam was the director; the countdown started when the 40s left to launch; the computer reported leakage in the rocket, and experts doing their calculations concluded that the rocket could still be launched. APJ Abdul Kalam had to take the decision, and they ignored the system and launched the rocket. Instead of going into orbit, it went to the Bay of Bengal. APJ Abdul Kalam said, “A great man and a great leader Satish Dhawan (chairman of ISRO 1972 to 1984) comes to me, he makes me up and takes me to the press conference and said we have failed today and took the whole blame himself”. On 18 July 1980, Satellite Launch Vehicle (SLV-III) successfully deployed the Rohini satellite in near-earth orbit. Satish Dhawan told APJ Abdul Kalam to go and took the press conference encouraging him for his success.
APJ Abdul Kalam, “The Missile Man of India”
Between the 1970s and 1990s, APJ Abdul Kalam attempted to develop the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) and SLV-III projects, which proved successful. Raja Ramana invited APJ Abdul Kalam to witness the country’s first nuclear test, Smiling Buddha, as the representative of TBRL, even though he had not participated in its development. In the 1970s, APJ Abdul Kalam also directed two projects, Project Valiant and Project Devil, which pursued to develop airborne missiles from the technology of the successful SLV program. Although APJ Abdul Kalam didn’t get the sanction of the union cabinet, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi prearranged secret funds for these aerospace projects through her unrestricted powers under Apj Abdul APJ Abdul Kalam's directorship. APJ Abdul Kalam played a significant part in developing many missiles under the mission, including Agni, a transitional range ballistic missile, and Prithvi, the tactical surface-to-surface missile. The Pokhran-II nuclear tests were directed during this period in which he played an exhaustive political and technical role. APJ Abdul Kalam served as the Chief Project Director during the testing segment. APJ Abdul Kalam is known as the Missile man of India due to his contributions to developing ballistic missiles and launch vehicle technology.
APJ Abdul Kalam achievements
“APJ Abdul Kalam was the person with no haters” this statement is proved by the proportion of votes by which he became president. APJ Abdul Kalam obliged as the 11th president of India, succeeding K. R. Narayanan. He won the 2002 presidential election with an election vote of 922,884, exceptionally surpassing the 107,366 votes gained by Lakshmi Sahgal. APJ Abdul Kalam received seven honorary doctorates from 40 universities. The Government of India honoured him with the Padma Vibhushan in 1990 and the Padma Bhushan in 1981 for his work with DRDO and ISRO. In 1997, APJ Abdul Kalam received India’s highest civilian honour, the Bharat Ratan, for his contribution to scientific research and the modernization of defence technology in India. In 2013, he received the Von Braun Award from the National Space Society “to recognize excellence in the management and leadership of a space-related project.”
The Loss of a milestone
On 27 July 2015, APJ Abdul Kalam travelled to Shillong to deliver a lecture on “Creating a Lovable Planet Earth” at the Indian Institute of Management Shillong. At around 6:35 p.m. IST, five minutes into his speech, he collapsed from cardiac arrest.
APJ Abdul Kalam was an inspiration for youngsters. His journey is inspiring, and his life path teaches us many things. Yes, he failed many times in his life; yes, he was not a born genius but the main reason behind his achievement was his dedication to his dream. He spent his day on studies when he was a student; he spent his month on projects when he was an engineer and had spent years as a scientist; his hard work made him know as Missile man of India. APJ abdul Kalam said you need to do four things in life to succeed :- Aim extensively, always acquire knowledge, do hard work and never stop when you face failure. We were always proud of him.