A newspaper seller turned president of India, APJ Abdul Kalam, nation hasn’t seen many highbrows like him with a noble character. Even now, he continues to be an inspiration not only because he has elevated India’s pride before the world, but also for his contributions in the field of science and technology to build a new India. People always loved his interactive and easily approachable nature. Kalam’s 79th birthday was recognized as world student day by the United Nations.
APJ Abdul Kalam's struggles and determination in achieving what he has always dreamt of inspire people of all ages. When in his 70s, Dr Kalam was nominated twice for the MTV youth icon, once in the year 2003 and then again in 2006. It goes without saying no matter what, work matters the most for the missile man of India. Here are some of the lesser known facts about APJ Abdul Kalam.
- Kalam’s personal possessions included his books, a veena, and some articles of clothing, a CD player and a laptop. He was an avid reader of books on cosmology and celestial bodies.
- Dr APJ Abdul Kalam dreamt of becoming a fighter pilot, but could not realize it since he secured the ninth position in the Indian Air Force selection when only eight slots were available.
- He was a passionate writer and authored close to 18 books, 22 poems and 4 songs during his lifetime.
- “Wings of fire”: His autobiography is one of the bestselling books in India which inspired millions of people all around the world.
- After graduating from Madras Institute of Technology in aeronautical engineering, he started working with DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organization). He designed helicopters for the Indian Army.
- Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam, also known as the People's President and our Missile Man, won Padma Bhushan, Padma Vibhushan and the highest civilian award — Bharat Ratna. Recipient of honorary doctorates from 40 universities worldwide
- He played an instrumental role in the Pokhran-II nuclear tests and emerged as the leading nuclear scientist of the nation. He was the Chief Scientific Adviser to the Prime Minister from 1992-1999. The Pokhran-II nuclear tests were conducted during this period in which he played an intensive political and technological role.
- Kalam acted on only one mercy plea in his five-year tenure as president.
- After becoming the President of India in 2002, he was supposed to address students at a school function. But when he reached there to start his speech, the electricity suddenly went off. Instead of complaining, he asked the students to gather around to listen to him and addressed 400 students without electricity!
- Wheeler Island, a national missile test site in the state of Odisha, was renamed Abdul Kalam Island in September 2015.
India will continue to remember the spirit APJ Abdul Kalam has imparted in the people. His knowledge, courage and determination to make India better will always stay deep inside every Indian.