The Noble Life of India’s most Beloved President: Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam


If you want to shine like a sun,

learn first to burn like it!

– Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam

When it comes to counting the most beloved politicians of India, our former president, Dr. APJ Kalam easily becomes the very first name to cross our mind.

The noble man not only was adorable as a person but his life was also an equally inspiring one!

Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam was born on 15 October 1931 to a Tamil Muslim family.

His father was a Boat rower and Imam at a local mosque. Though his ancestors have been wealthy zamindars, Kalam’s family succumbed to poverty via generations of money depletion and land disputes.

So by his early childhood, Kalam had to sell newspapers to support his family and system his own education.

He was generally considered as a bright student but due to lack of money, he could afford any high profile school for his preliminary education.

Kalam had extraordinary skills for mathematics and was always curious to know.

– S.J. Krishanan, his High School Maths Teacher.

Later to his merit, he fetched a scholarship and graduated in Physics in 1954 from Saint Joseph’s College, Tiruchirapalli.

Then, he moved to Madras to do Aerospace Engineering at Madras Institute of Technology.

While Kalam was working on a senior class project, the Dean was dissatisfied with his lack of progress. He also threatened Kalam to revoke his scholarship. He had to complete his project within 3 days.

He proved his ability to work at pressure when he completed the work in just 2 days. Impressed with his performance, the dean remarked:

I was putting you under stress and asking you to meet a difficult deadline. You will be a very-very successful man one day.

Kalam then began his career as a scientist.

This was my first stage, in which I learned leadership from three great teachers—Dr. Vikram Sarabhai, Prof Satish Dhawan, and Dr. Braham Prakash. This was the time of learning and acquisition of knowledge for me.

-Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam

During this phase, the once newspaper hawker now led an entire cabinet in developing many missiles under the Integrated Guided Missile Development Program (IGDPM), including the Agni, an intermediate range ballistic missile and Prithvi, a tactical surface-to-surface missile.

Then, his unconventional path to claim the throne of President, Kalam served as the 11th President of India, succeeding K.R. Narayana. He won the 2002 Presidential Election.

His regime lasted from 25 July 2002 to 25 July 2007.

During his term, he was considered one of the most loved presidents, especially for his affection for children and fair course of the ruling.

What Can I Give movement led by Kalam also gathered immense popularity across the nation.

Ask not what your country has given you,

Ask what you can give to your country.

Kalam was known for his extremely simple lifestyle. He never owned a television and was a late sleeper and an early riser, his few personal possessions included a plethora of books, a veena, a CD player and a laptop.

The most beloved president of India took his last breath just five minutes after his last lecture at IIT, Shillong on 27th July 2015.

He died doing what he loved. Teaching!

-Pranav Mukherjee, Ex-President of India

As of today, Kalam’s legacy exceeds any felicitation though for the sake of mentioning, Kalam received 7 honorary doctorates from 40 universities, Padma Bhushan, Padma Vibhushana and the Bharat Ratna.

As said by Narendra Modi, the present PM of India:

Sir Abdul Kalam’s departure should be as glorious as his life. He must be remembered in our most fond memories. Lets put a smiling goodbye to the beloved Missile Man of India.

Yes, this noble life really does deserve a smiling adieu!

Video Credits: Desi Motivation