10 facts about Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam to know
Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam or more popularly known as APJ Abdul Kalam is one of the most influential personalities of India. This former president of India is a lot more than just a political figure. He is a scientist, thinker and a youth icon. Undoubtedly he is in true sense “the missile man” of India. A.P.J Abdul Kalam was the eleventh President of India, who was in the office from 2002 to 2007. Popularly known as the People’s President, Mr Kalam is famous because he was not only a politician but he is also a scientist, an engineer, a writer, and a scholar. The successes that he achieved started with very humble beginnings; the son of a boatman in a small village in Tamil Nadu who sold newspapers to support his school education.Though his life is an open book, there are few facts about him which every Indian should know.
1. Kalam as a scientist in DRDO
Kalam joined Aeronautical Development Establishment of Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) as a scientist. His first achievement in his career was designing a small helicopter for the Indian Army, though he remained unconvinced and dissatisfied with the choice of his job at DRDO.
2. Kalam was a part of country’s first nuclear test
Kalam without participating in its development, test site preparation and weapon designing was invited by Raja Ramanna to witness the country’s first nuclear test Smiling Buddha as the representative of TBRL.
3. Wings of fire
The biography of Mr Kalam is one of his famous books that was written with Arun Tiwari, the co-author. This book gives a detailed account of his childhood, his personal life and career. The personal and professional hurdles that were faced by him during his childhood and when he was young are laid bare in the biography. There are many hymns and Sanskrit Shlokas that adorn the chapters; an indication of his inclination and interest in all religions.
4. His harassment at New York airport
The most insulting day for every Indians when former President APJ Abdul Kalam was twice subjected to harassment at New York’s JFK Airport by the US security officers. Dr Kalam was forced to take his jacket and shoes off for security checking for explosives. Then the 80-year-old Kalam was in the United States in September to attend a series of events and the incident took place on September 29 at the time of his returning home from New York. After taking his seat in the aircraft, officials of the JFK Airport came inside and asked to check the President once again. Air India authorities along with all the Indians strongly protested the heinous act.
5. Kalam the stalwart
Most of us don’t know that Dr. Kalam is an incredible writer and has written many inspirational books. They are-Wings of fire [His autobiography], 2020- A Vision for the New Millennium, Envisioning an Empowered Nation, Ignited Minds, My Journey, Developments in Fluid Mechanics and Space Technology, The Luminous Sparks, The Life Tree, Mission India, Children Ask Kalam, Guiding Souls, Indomitable Spirit and Inspiring Thoughts. These books are treasure for every Indians.
6. Pokhran-II tests controversy
The controversy that hovered around Kalam’s role as a nuclear scientist is the lack of reliable and factual reporting of the yield of Pokhran-II tests. K. Santhanam, the director of the site test, publicly declared that the thermonuclear bomb was a “fizzle” test, and criticized Kalam for issuing the wrong report. But Kalam dismissed the claims and, a key associate of Pokhran-II, R. Chidambaram also certify these claims as incorrect.
7. Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant issue
Kalam was also disparaged by civil groups over his stand on the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant, where he encouraged setting up of the nuclear power plant without discussing the situation with the local people.
Although he started as a newspaper vendor when he was a kid, Dr Kalam’s career “skyrocketed” as he became a scientist and an engineer. He helped in the management of projects for developing missiles such as Agni and Prithvi. Some other interesting facts about Mr. Kalam are that he is a vegetarian and has never married.
9. Part of an inspirational film
I Am Kalam which was released in 2011 is an inspirational Hindi film. Here Kalam is portrayed as an extremely positive influence to a poor but bright Rajasthani boy Chhotu, who renames himself Kalam in honour of his idol.
10. The awards and honours
The Government of India has honoured him with the Padma Bhushanin 1981 and the Padma Vibhushan in 1990 for his work with ISRO and DRDO and his role as a scientific advisor to the Government. APJ Abdul Kalam has received India’s highest civilian honour, the Bharat Ratna, for his immensely precious contribution to the scientific research and modernization of defense technology in India.
Some quotes by Dr. Kalam
“You have to dream before your dreams can come true.”
“Great dreams of great dreamers are always transcended.”
“To succeed in your mission, you must have single-minded devotion to your goal.”
“Man needs his difficulties because they are necessary to enjoy success.”
“We should not give up and we should not allow the problem to defeat us.”