Death Anniversary of Shri APJ Abdul Kalam (President of India)
• Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam better known as A. P. J. Abdul Kalam. • Kalam was born on October 15, 1931, to Jainulabudeen, a boat owner, and Ashiamma, a housewife, at Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu. • In order to support his family, he used to distribute newspapers after his school hours. • He was elected as the 11th President of India from 2002 to 2007, succeeding KR Narayanan. For his simple and humble nature, he is widely referred to as the ‘People’s President’. • Kalam missed an opportunity to become a fighter pilot for the Indian Air force. His dreams were shattered when he was ranked 9th when there were only 8 openings. • For his contribution on the launch of vehicle technology and ballistic missile he came to be known as the ‘Missile Man of India’. • In 2017, a newly discovered organism found on the International Space Station was named after APJ Abdul Kalam by NASA. Name of the bacteria was Solibacillus kalamii. • Kalam also made significant contributions to the nuclear capabilities of India. The Pokhran -2 nuclear tests (in 1998) were successful thanks to his organizational and technical support. • He supported the abolition of the death penalty saying that as President of India he felt pain in deciding mercy petitions of death row convicts. • He received honorary doctorates from more than 40 national and international universities during his lifetime. • Kalam was the recipient of Padma Bhushan (1981), Padma Vibhushan (1990) and Bharat Ratna (1997) for his contribution to the scientific research and modernisation of defence technology in India. • His autobiography ‘Wings of Fire: An Autobiography’ was first published in English and now has been translated into 13 languages. • Kalam used to love the Veena and often played the instrument at his residence. • He would write poetry in Tamil and also published several books such as Wings of Fire, Ignited Minds, Inspiring Thoughts, and Turning Points among others.