Success Story of Newspaper Boy to Missile Man of India – Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam

APJ Abdul Kalam Early Life & Education

Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam or APJ Abdul Kalam was born in a Tamil Muslim family on 15th October 1931 at the pilgrimage centre of Rameswaram in Madras Presidency, now in Tamil Nadu. His father Jainulabdeen was the owner of a boat and the Imam of a local mosque nearby and mother Ashiamma was a housewife.

Kalam’s father took Hindu Pilgrims back and forth between Rameswaram into his ferry. Infact, Kalam’s ancestors were rich traders and landowners with enormous properties which includes large tracts of land. Since childhood, despite ancestors being rich, Kalam’s family became poor, at a very early age.

To maintain bread and butter for the family, Kalam sold newspapers in order to add some supplement in his family’s income. During the school time, he was an average grade student, but was always praised as bright and hardworking student. He had the strong desire to learn new things and he generally spent his hours in studies, especially his love for “Mathematics”.

After his education at Schwartz Higher Secondary School at Ramanathapuram, Abdul Kalam went to attend Saint Joseph’s College at Tiruchirappalli. He completed his Graduation in Physics at the University of Madras in 1954. In 1954 itself, he moved to Madras to study Aerospace Engineering in MIT known as Madras Institute of Technology.

Brief Description of APJ Abdul Kalam Failure as a Fighter Pilot

Once, Kalam was working on a senior class project where his Dean was not satisfied with the lack of progress of his work. He threatened to take away his scholarship if the project was not completed in the next three days. To overcome the challenge, Kalam gives his days and nights to the project and met the deadline and impressed the Dean.

The Dean later told him “I had put you under stress and asked you to meet the difficult deadline”. Kalam’s dream was to become a fighter pilot, but he narrowly missed his dream. He was placed in the ninth position and there were only eight positions available in Indian Air Force. This created a big change in Kalam’s life and his life as a scientist begins.

In the year 1958, Kalam got a degree in Aeronautical Engineering from MIT and joined Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). Later, he moved to Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), where he was appointed as the Project Director of SLV-III, India’s first indigenously designed satellite launch vehicle.

Dr. Kalam rejoined DRDO in 1982, where he planned a number of successful missiles and this gives him the name “Missile Man”. He served as a Scientific Advisor to defence ministry from 1992-1997 and later he served as the Principal Scientific Advisor from 1999-2001 with the rank of a Cabinet Minister.

APJ Abdul Kalam Prominent Role as a Scientist

Dr. Kalam’s prominent role was in the country’s 1998 nuclear weapon test, which granted him the award of a National Hero. Although, the nuclear test caused great concerns in the international community and Kalam put a countrywide plan called the Technology Vision 2020, in the year 1998. In the plan he described a road map of transforming India from a developing country to developed country in 20 years.

The Technology Vision was emphasizing on the agricultural productivity, the technology growth, the economic growth, and the wide access to health & education. In the year 2002, Kalam was put forward by National Democratic Alliance (NDA) to succeed the outgoing President Kocheril Raman Narayanan. Dr. Kalam was also nominated by the Hindu Nationalist even knowing the fact that he was a Muslim. Since his popular appeal was so amazing that the opposition party, Indian National Congress (INC), also proposed his candidacy.

Kalam won the election and was sworn in as the eleventh (11th) President in July 2002. Being the president, he committed to use Science & Technology in order to transform India to a developed country. In 2007, Kalam was succeeded by Pratibha Patil, the country’s first Lady President

APJ Abdul Kalam Books and Publishing Year

  • India 2020: A Vision for the New Millennium (1998)
  • An Autobiography: Wings of Fire (1999)
  • Ignited Minds: Unleashing the Power within India (2002)
  • The Luminous Sparks (2004)
  • Guiding Souls: Dialogues on the Purpose of Life (2005)
    Co-Author: Arun Tiwari
  • Mission of India: A Vision of Indian Youth (2005)
  • Inspiring Thoughts (2007)
  • You are Born to Blossom: Take My Journey Beyond (2011)
    Co-Author: Arun Tiwari
  • The Scientific India (2011)
    Co-Author: Y.S. Rajan
  • Failure to Success: Legendry Lives (2011)
    Co-Author: Arun Tiwari
  • Target 3 Billion (2011)
    Co-Author: Srijan Pal Singh
  • You are Unique: Scale New Heights by Thoughts and Actions (2012)
    Co-Author: S. Poonam Kohli
  • Turning Points: A Journey through Challenges (2012)
  • Indomitable Spirit (2013)
  • Spirit of India (2013)
  • Thoughts for Change: We can do it (2013)
    Co-Author: A. Sivathanu Pillai
  • My Journey: Transforming Dreams into Actions (2013)
  • Governance for Growth in India (2014)
  • Manifesto for Change (2014)
    Co-Author: V. Ponraj
  • Forge Your Child: Candid, Forthright, Inspiring (2014)
  • Beyond 2020: A Vision for Tomorrow’s India (2014)
  • The Guiding Light (2015)
  • Reignited Life: Scientific Pathways to a Brighter Future (2015)
    Co-Author: Srijan Pal Singh
  • The Family and the Nation (2015)
    Co-Author: Acharya Mahapragya
  • Transcendence My Spiritual Experiences (2015)
    Co-Author: Arun Tiwari

APJ Abdul Kalam Most Inspiring Quotes

You have to dream before your dream comes true

– Abdul Kalam

Dream is not what you see in sleep, it something that does not let you sleep

 Abdul Kalam

You should not give up and should not allow the problem to defeat

– Abdul Kalam

If you want to shine like a sun, first burn like a sun

– Abdul Kalam

I was willing to accept what I couldn’t change

– Abdul Kalam

All of us don’t have equal talents, but all of us have equal opportunity to develop our talents

– Abdul Kalam

One needs difficulties in life because they are necessary to enjoy the success

– Abdul Kalam

Don’t rest after your first victory, because if you fail in second one, more lips will wait to say that first victory was just a luck

– Abdul Kalam

Lets sacrifice today so that our children can have a better tomorrow

– Abdul Kalam

I am not handsome, but I can give my hand to somebody who needs help

– Abdul Kalam

The best brains are found in the last benches of classroom

– Abdul Kalam

Excellence happens not by accident, it happens by a process

– Abdul Kalam

Winners are not those who never fail, but those who never quit

– Abdul Kalam

Lies and luxury demands huge maintenance, but and simplicity are self maintained

– Abdul Kalam

To succeed in your mission, you have to be single-minded devotion to your goal

– Abdul Kalam

Creativity is seeing the same thing but thinking differently

– Abdul Kalam

Never become a prisoner of your past as it was just a lesson, not a life sentence

– Abdul Kalam

Empty pockets teach you in million ways, but full pocket spoils you in million ways

– Abdul Kalam

When your signature changes to autograph, this marks your success

– Abdul Kalam

APJ Abdul Kalam Honorary Degrees and Awards

The Missile Man of India has the following Honorary Degrees and the National Awards in his name. Here is some of the lists available.

Honorary Degree

  1. Distinguished Fellow – Institute of Directors (1994)
  2. Honorary Fellow – National Academy of Medical Sciences (1995)
  3. Doctorate of Science – University of Wolverhampton, UK (2007)
  4. King Charles II Medal, UK (2007)
  5. Doctorate of Engineering – Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (2008)
  6. International Von Karman Wings Award – California Institute of Technology, USA (2009)
  7. Hoover Medal – ASME, USA (2009)
  8. Doctor of Engineering – University of Waterloo, Canada (2010)
  9. IEEE Honorary Membership, USA (2011)
  10. Doctor of Laws – Simson Fraser University, Canada (2012)
  11. Doctor of Science – University of Edinburgh, Scotland (2014)

Honorary Awards

  1. Padma Bhushan – Government of India (1981)
  2. Padma Vibhushan – Government of India (1990)
  3. Bharat Ratna – Government of India (1997)
  4. Indira Gandhi Award of National Integration – GOI (1997)
  5. Veer Sawarkar Award – Government of India (1998)
  6. SASTRA Ramanujan Prize – Shanmugha Arts, Science, Technology & Research Academy, India (2000)
  7. Von Braun Award – National Space Society (2013)

These were the most interesting facts about our former President of India Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam. It was a brief story of a Newspaper Boy and his journey to DRDO and ISRO with the most prestigious awards and degrees in his name.

Whenever the word missile testing or the word missile will come, the Missile Man of India will never be skipped from the minds of people.

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