A.P.J. Abdul Kalam Indian President, Space Scientist | Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam

Abdul Kalam
A.P.J. Abdul KalamAbdul Kalam Quotations

A.P.J Abdul Kalam’s full name is Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam. He is also known as Missile Man of India. A.P.J Abdul Kalam was born on 15 October 1931 in Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu, India. Abdul kalam served as the 11th president of India from 2002 to 2007. He was elected against Lakshmi Sehgal in 2002 and he had support both from the Indian National Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party, two leading political parties of India. Abdul Kalam was a scientist and an administrator in India.

Kalam worked with the Defense Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO). Kalam was an aerospace engineer before becoming the President of India. He was also hailed as the ‘Missile Man of India’ because of his tremendous efforts on the development of launch vehicle and ballistic missile technology. Before becoming the President of India, Kalam served as the Chief Scientific Adviser to the Prime minister in 1990’s. Abdul Kalam was honored with several awards including the Bharat Ratna, India highest civilian honor, for his contribution to the nation’s space and nuclear program.

Childhood and Education Life of Abdul Kalam:

Abdul Kalam’s parents were Jainulabudeen and Ashiamma. Abdul Kalam had four elder siblings and his father was a boat owner and his mother was a housewife. His family was not financially well. Abdul Kalam was a good student and curious to learn new things. Kalam joined Schwartz Higher secondary school.  After completing his schooling in 1954, he graduated in Physics from St. Joseph's College in Tiruchirappalli, which was then affiliated to the University of Madras. After that in 1955, Kalam moved to Madras to study aerospace engineering in Madras Institute of Technology.

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Abdul Kalam’s Death:

On 27 July 2015, Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam passed away due to a massive cardiac arrest during a lecture at the Indian Institute of management, Shilong.

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Abdul Kalam

Abdul Kalam’s Tenure as President of India:

  • Dr. Kalam served as the president of India from 25 July 2002 to 25 July 2007.

  • Kalam was the third president of India to have received the prestigious Bharat Ratna, the highest civilian honour.

  • Abdul Kalam was the first scientist and bachelor to reside in the Rashtrapathi Bhavan.

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  • Dr. Kalam was affectionately called the People’s President.

  • The National Democratic Alliance government on 10 June 2002 proposed Dr. Kalam’s name for the Presidential post to the Leader of Opposition, congress president Sonia Gandhi.

  • He won the election, getting 922,884 votes, thus defeating Lakshmi Sehgal, who got 107,366 votes.

  • Dr. Kalam served as the 11th president of India, succeeding K.R. Narayanan.

  • He was criticized as a President for his inaction to decide the fate of 20 mercy petitions out of 21, including that of the Kashmiri Terrorist Afzal Guru, who was convicted for the Parliament attacks in December 2001.

Abdul Kalam’s Achievements as a Scientist:

  • After completing his graduation in 1960, Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam joined as a scientist in Defense Research and Development Organisation's Aeronautical Development Establishment.

  • From 1963 to 1964, he visited the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, the Wallops Flight Facility located at the Eastern Shore of Virginia and the Langley Research Center of NASA situated at Hampton, Virginia.

  • At the very start of his career, Kalam designed a small helicopter for the Indian army.

  • Kalam also worked under the renowned scientist Vikram Sarabhai as a part of the committee of INCOSPAR.

  • In 1965, he worked independently in Defence Research and Development Organisation for the first time on an expandable rocket project. The programme was expanded in 1969 and more engineers were included after receiving Government approval.

  • Dr. Kalam and Dr. V.S. Arunachalam, on the proposal of the then Defense Minister R. Venkataraman, worked on developing a quiver of missiles instead of one at a time. Dr. Kalam was made the Chief Executive of the programme, which was named Integrated Guided Missile Development programme.

  • Abdul Kalam developed a low-cost coronary stent along with Dr. Soma Raju, a cardiologist, in 1998. It was named "Kalam-Raju Stent". After that both of them also designed a tablet PC called "Kalam-Raju Tablet" for healthcare in rural areas.

Abdul Kalam’s Awards and Recognitions:

  • The nation honoured Dr Kalam with Bharat Ratna, the highest civilian award, in 1997 for his contribution in the field of scientific research, development and modernization of technology in the defence sector of India.

  • In 1981 he received the Padma Bhushan

  • California Institute of Technology, USA, honored him with the International von Karman Wings Award in 2009.

  • In 1997, the Indian National Congress conferred him with the Indira Gandhi Award for National Integration.

  • In 2008, he received the Doctor of Engineering (Honoris Causa) from Singapore's Nanyang Technological University.

  • In 2011, he became an honorary member of the IEEE.

  • In 2012, the Simon Fraser University conferred on him the Doctor of Laws (Honoris Causa).

  • In 2013, he received the Von Braun Award from National Space Society in recognition of his excellence in the leadership and management of space-related projects.

  • In 2014, he received an honorary degree in Doctor of Science from Edinburgh University, UK.

  • 2015 - The United Nations recognized Dr. Kalam's birthday as "World Student's Day".

  • He received the Hoover Medal from ASME Foundation, U.S.A, in 2009.

Books by Abdul Kalam:

Abdul Kalam wrote many books. There are  

  • Inspiring Thoughts

  • My Journey: Transforming Dreams into Actions

  • Developments in Fluid Mechanics and Space Technology, by Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam and Roddam Narasimha.

  • Mission India, by Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam.

  • Target 3 Billion, by Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam and Srijan Pal Singh

  • Ignited Minds: Unleashing the Power Within India

  • India 2020: A Vision for the New Millennium, by Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam and Y.S. Rajan.

  • Indomitable Spirit

  • The Luminous Sparks

  • Turning Points: A journey through challenges

  • Wings of Fire: An Autobiography, by Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam and Arun Tiwari.

  • Envisioning an Empowered Nation, by Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam and A. Sivathanu Pillai.

  • You Are Born To Blossom: Take My Journey Beyond, by Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam and Arun Tiwari.

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Abdul Kalam

Abdul Kalam’s Biographies:

  • The Kalam Effect: My Years with the President, written by P.M. Nair.

  • Eternal Quest: Life and Times of Dr. Kalam, written by S. Chandra.

  • A.P.J. Abdul Kalam: The Visionary of India, by K. Bhushan and G. Katyal.

  • My Days with Mahatma Abdul Kalam, written by Fr. A.K. George

  • President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, written by R.K. Pruthi.

Top Inspirational Quotes from A.P.J. Abdul Kalam:

  • “You have to dream before your dreams come true"

  • "Man needs his difficulties because they are necessary to enjoy success"

  • "Look at the sky we are not alone. The whole universe is friendly to us and conspires only to give the best to those who dream and work"

  • “When you speak, speak the truth; perform when you promise; discharge your trust. Withhold your hands from striking and from taking that which is unlawful and bad".

  • "Thinking should become your capital asset, no matter whatever ups and downs you come across in your life"

  • “If you want to shine like a sun, first burn like a sun"

  • “Don't take rest after your first victory because if you fail in the second, more lips are waiting to say that your first victory was just luck".

  • “All birds find shelter during a rain. But the eagle avoids rain by flying above the clouds. Problems are common, but attitude makes the difference!”

  • “Success Is When Your “Signature” Changes to “Autograph”

  • “Educationists should build the capacities of the spirit of inquiry, creativity, entrepreneurial and moral leadership among students and become their role model”

Abdul Kalam


  • “Don’t read success stories, you will only get a message. Read failure stories, you will get some ideas to get success”

  • “One of the very important characteristics of a student is to question. Let the students ask questions.”

  • “The best brains of the nation may be found on the last benches of the classroom” “Climbing to the top demands strength, whether it is to the top of Mount Everest or to the top of your career.”

  • Love your job but don’t love your company, because you may not know when your company stops loving you”

  • “Let us sacrifice our today so that our children can have a better tomorrow.”

  • “It Is Very Easy To Defeat Someone, But It Is Very Hard To Win Someone”

  • “Confidence and Hard-work is the best medicine to kill the disease called failure. It will make you a successful person”

  • “No religion has mandated killing others as a requirement for its sustenance or promotion”

  • “We should not give up and we should not allow the problem to defeat us”

  • “My view is that at a younger age your optimism is more and you have more imagination etc. You have less bias.”

  • “You can’t change your future but you can change your habits and surely your habits will change your future”

  • “Dream is not that which you see while sleeping it is something that does not let you sleep”

  • “If a country is to be corruption free and become a nation of beautiful minds, I strongly feel there are three key societal members who can make a difference. They are the father, the mother and the teacher

  • “Unless India stands up to the world, no one will respect us. In this world, fear has no place. Only strength respects strength.”

  • “Life is a difficult game. You can win it only by retaining your birthright to be a person.”


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