The Missile Man of India
Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam mostly known as Missile Man of India was born on 15th October 1931 in a district called Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu to Jainulabdeen and Ashiamma. His father Jainulabdeen was an imam at local mosque and he also owned a passenger boat in which he took Hindu pilgrims to and fro between Rameswaram. Therefore, the family got the title of ‘Mara Kalam Iyakkivar'( wooden boat steerer’s). However, after the construction of Pamban bridge(which connects the town named Mandapam with Pamban Island and Rameswaram) in 1914 the family business failed and lost the title and prosperities over the time. The family which was wealthy and prosperous lost its fortune and properties, apart from their ancestral home. So, during Kalam’s early childhood the family was poor and he sold newspapers to support his family.
Kalam was a hard working boy but still got average scores during his school days. He had great interest in mathematics and spent most of the time practicing maths. He later joined Saint Joseph’s College in Tiruchirappalli. He graduated in physics from University of Madras. In 1955 he desired for Madras aerospace engineering from Madras Institute of Technology.
Career as Scientist :
Abdul Kalam was named as ‘Missile Man’ for his contribution with the Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) and Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO). His journey as a scientist started by joining hands with DRDO, where he worked with Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE) of Development Research and also with Development Organization. From scientist he became a member of Defence Research and Development Service (DRDS). Initially he designed small hovercrafts and then in 1965 he started to work independently for expandable rocket projects for institutions. After a few years he got approval from the government for his projects and got to hire more engineers. In DRDO, he designed 2 projects namely Project Devil and Project Valiant which helped in developing huge missiles using the SLV programme. During the chief executive of Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP) he designed missiles named Agni and Prithvi.
During his tenure in ISRO
- Kalam was part of various projects like setting up the Thumba Equatorial Rocket Launching Station (TERLS), which is used to launch the sounding rockets.
- He was also the director for launching the first Satellite Launch Vehicle – SLV – III.
- Also contributed to the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle.
His contribution in ISRO and DRDO has been honoured by Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan award.
During the period of Presidency
Then came His ruling as the 11th president of Indian constitution from 25th July 2002 – 25th July 2007. The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) gave its statement saying that they would nominate Kalam for the post of President. During his campaign he said, ” I am really overwhelmed. Both on the Internet and other media,I was thinking what message could be delivered”. That’s how grounded he was.
The elections were held on 15th July 2002 and the counting was done on 18th July at the Parliament and with the state assemblies. Then the rest is history. Kalam won the elections and entered Rashtrapati Bhawan. Kalam was the 3rd person to be honored with Bharat Ratna and he was also the 1st scientist and bachelor in Rashtrapati Bhawan. However, he was criticized for his incompetence in deciding mercy petitions. And also for Kalam his toughest decision to pass – Office of Profit Bill. But his focus was far behind current politicians, it was on the future of the nation. Kalam decided not to re- contest
From president to professor, truly a definition of humbleness. He became a visiting member in various universities and also was in the Research and development team. Against corruption, Kalam introduced a programme for the youth called What Can I Give Movement.
Awards received by Kalam
- He was honored with 7 doctorates from 40universities.
- Padma Bhusan and Padma Vibhushan during his service at ISRO and DRDO.
- Received Bharat Ratna for his excellence in defense technology of India.
- Von Braun Award by the National Space Society.
- Ramanujan award by Alwars Research Center.
Kalam’s birthday is celebrated as ‘ Youth Renaissance Day’. Many institutions and location’s were named in honor of Kalam.