Journey Of Former President Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam


He went from distributing newspapers after school during childhood to become the President of our country. He was awarded Padma Bhushan, Padma Vibhushan and Bharat Ratna – the highest civilian honour. Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam made every day of his life count for all it’s worth, till very last breath he took yesterday.

Former President of India and reputed scientist Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam passed away on Monday evening at a hospital in Meghalaya. Reports say he collapsed while delivering a lecture at Indian Institute of Management in Shillong and was admitted in the hospital in a very critical condition.

The 11th president of our country was 83 when he passed away. The doctors reportedly said that he suffered from a cardiac arrest.

We all pays tribute to Late Dr. Kalam with a heavy heart. Though he was known by many tags –‘People’s president’, ‘Missile Man’, ‘The man behind Vision 2020’; He will not only be remembered for the immeasurably remarkable achievements and marks he left behind, but surely as a Great Human, for his determined character, for his love, for his patriotism, for he could ignite our minds.

Children simply loved him because he became one among them a man with long grey hair but playful, bright eyes and words that set their imagination on fire.

In his autobiography ‘Wings of Fire’ Dr Kalam wrote “We are all born with a divine fire in us. Our efforts should be to give wings to this fire and fill the world with the glow of its goodness.”

He was born in Rameshwaram in Tamil Nadu on October 15, 1931. A determined soul since childhood, he started working at an early age to contribute to the family income.  He was brought up in a multi-religious, tolerant society; one with a progressive outlook. He overcame all odds and carried on to pursue graduation in physics and later study aerospace engineering on a scholarship.


He joined the Defence Research and Development Organization as a scientist after completing engineering. At DRDO he got the opportunity design a small helicopter and work with legendary space scientist Vikram Sarabhai.

In 1969, after his transfer to Indian Space Research Organization. Kalam became project director of India’s first indigenous Satellite Launch Vehicle, SLV-III. It successfully injected the Rohini satellite in the near earth orbit in July 1980 and made India an exclusive member of the Space Club.

In the interim though not involved he got the opportunity to witness India’s first nuclear test Smiling Buddha in May 1974. During the 80s and the 90s Dr Kalam developed and operationalised the AGNI and PRITHVI missiles as chief of the Integrated Guided Missile Development Program.

From 1992 to 1999 Dr Kalam worked as the Scientific Advisor to the Defence Minister and Secretary of the DRDO. And then came perhaps the biggest turning point of his life as a man of science which made him the country’s best known nuclear scientist.

India carried out its second nuclear test Pokharan II with Dr Kalam as Chief Project Coordination along when former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee was at the helm.

His transition from scientist to statesman took place on the 25th of July, 2002 when he was sworn in as the 11th President of India after winning the election with the backing of the two major rival political parties, the BJP and the Congress.

All of us can draw inspiration from his words.

“Dream is not that which you see while sleeping it is something that does not let you sleep”

Dr Kalam may have gone into internal sleep now but his dreams need to live on in each of us, inspiring us to make them come true and take India to heights even beyond the imagination of the visionary Dr A P J Abdul Kalam.

List of awards:

Year of Award

Name of award

Awarding Organization
2014 Doctor of Science Edinburgh University, UK
2012 Doctor of Laws (Honoris Causa) Simon Fraser University
2011 IEEE Honorary Membership IEEE
2010 Doctor of Engineering University of Waterloo
2009 Honorary Doctorate Oakland University
2009 Hoover Medal ASME Foundation, USA
2009 International von Kármán Wings Award California Institute of Technology, USA
2008 Doctor of Engineering (Honoris Causa) Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
2007 Honorary Doctorate of Science and Technology Carnegie Mellon University
2007 King Charles II Medal Royal Society, UK
2007 Honorary Doctorate of Science University of Wolverhampton, UK
2000 Ramanujan Award Alwars Research Centre, Chennai
1998 Veer Savarkar Award Government of India
1997 Indira Gandhi Award for National Integration Indian National Congress
1997 Bharat Ratna Government of India
1994 Distinguished Fellow Institute of Directors
1990 Padma Vibhushan Government of India
1981 Padma Bhushan Government of India

Information Courtesy:







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