Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, former president of India, was an inspiring leader and motivational speaker. In July 2015 he collapsed while delivering a lecture and passed away on July 27. However, his words remain relevant even to this day and continue to guide and motivate us.
Here are some lesser-known facts about him. In memory of Missile Man of India.
1.Dr APJ Abdul Kalam had missed an opportunity to become a fighter pilot for the Indian Air Force. He was at the ninth place on the list, and there were only eight openings. The first eight shortlisted candidates were recruited.
2. In the year 1969, Abdul Kalam was designated as the project director for the Satellite Launch Vehicles and was shifted to ISRO. This project became successful, and India, under the directorship of Dr Abdul Kalam, could to launch the Rohini Satellite series into Earth’s orbit.
3. Dr Abdul Kalam was regarded as the ‘Missile Man’ of India because of his continued, successful work with ballistic missiles and launch vehicle technology.
4. Interestingly, he was also honoured with doctorates from 40 universities.
5. President Abdul Kalam had a soft corner for students. He had inspired millions of young children, by answering their questions and meeting with them during his tours across the country until the day of his sad demise. He believed that children are the future of any nation.
6. Dr APJ Abdul Kalam was frisked twice at JFK Airport in New York. He was checked for explosives by the airport staff. India protested this incident on the international level.
7. A journalist once asked him how he would like to be remembered: as a scientist, a president or a teacher. And he replied smilingly – “I want to be remembered as a teacher first and then like any other person.”
8. Abdul Kalam’s visit to Switzerland is commemorated as Science Day in the country. The Swiss government made this declaration in his honour after the sad demise of this great personality.
9. Kalam is among only three presidents of India who were conferred the Bharat Ratna before they were elected President.
10. Dr Abdul Kalam would get up at 4:00 am to take his mathematics lessons. He would also take a bath before going to class, which was a condition imposed on all the students by the teacher.
11. He was awarded the MTV Youth Icon award twice, in 2003 and 2006.
12. On his last day, he was delivering a lecture at IIM, Shillong. He was standing at the podium, delivering his speech to hundreds of students when he suffered a cardiac arrest that made him fall to the floor. He always had a passion for teaching and working hard. And at the time when death captured him, he was doing what he loved.
13. He also published his autobiography, Wings of Fire, which was co-authored with Arun Tiwari. It gives a detailed account of his childhood, his personal life and career; it has been translated into 13 languages, including French and Chinese.
World student day, celebrating on Indian’s birthday. It is a proud moment for us, what a glory Dr Abdul Kalam has brought to our nation. He is a true leader, as he took the blame for failures and gave credit to the team when he succeeded. A fortune living, and a perfect motivation for all the students. His contributions to our country will never be forgotten.
Which of his contributoins have inspired you the most? You can share your views with us by commentening in the comment box.