No other president has inspired the people of India as APJ Abdul Kalam, the ‘Missile man of India.’ Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam, the 11th president of India passed away on 27th July about 9 pm. Kalam, a multi-faceted genius who was a scientist, a poet and a statesman at the same time, was a great inspiration and motivational force to Indian youth.
Born on 15th October 1931 in a Muslim family in Rameshwaram, Tamil Nadu, in South India, Abdul Kalam moved to Madras in 1955 to study aerospace engineering. In 1960, he joined DRDO as a scientist. He started his career by designing a small helicopter for the Indian Army. Kalam joined ISRO as the project director of India’s first Satellite Launch Vehicle (SLV –III). From 1992 to 1999 he served as the Chief Scientific Advisor to the Prime Minister, during which Pokhran – II nuclear tests were conducted.
In 2002, Abdul Kalam succeeded K.R. Narayanan as the 11th President of India. During his term, presidency in India attained a new dimension and APJ Abdul Kalam was lauded as an inspirational president. His words and exemplary life inspired Indian youth as never before. His dreams about the future of India were luminous and optimistic. That was the time when the title of Indian President, which had been hitherto considered ‘a mere title’ assumed a powerful identity and impact.
Kalam had a massive cardiac arrest on the evening of 27 July, 2015, while delivering a lecture at the Indian Institute of Management, Shillong. He was rushed to hospital, but eventually succumbed to death after two hours in Intensive Care Unit. The Indian government has declared a seven-day national mourning as a mark of respect for the former President.
Abdul Kalam was an outstanding personality, revered both in India and abroad. He was equally good as a scientist, a poet and a sublime statesman, apart from being a great inspirational force. His autobiography, ‘Wings of Fire’, which many consider a source of motivation for humanity, is a best seller. The nation of India is heavily indebted to this great man and visionary for his invaluable contributions and priceless words that keep inspiring and igniting minds.