Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, from a humble beginning to India’s Missile Man and then the President
The “Missile Man” and “People’s President” is no more with us . Dr Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam was born on October 15, 1931 at Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu and specialised in Aeronautical Engineering from Madras Institute of Technology. Kalam made significant contribution as Project Director to develop India’s first indigenous Satellite Launch Vehicle (SLV-III) which successfully injected the Rohini satellite in the near earth orbit in July 1980 and made India an exclusive member of the space club.
A devout Muslim and son of a boatowner, Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam, who assumed office as the 11th President on July 18, 2002, was seen as a figurehead who could help heal some of the scars of the communal riots which broke out in Gujarat just a few months before.
A vegetarian bachelor, Kalam was quoted as saying that like most of the technology he spearheaded, he himself was “Made in India”, having never been trained abroad.
Kalam succeeded K R Narayanan and served a full five-year term from 2002 until 2007 after he won the Presidential elections which was a highly one-sided contest with Lakshmi Sahgal, a revolutionary of the Indian Independence movement, as his rival. He secured the backing of all political parties.
With his appointment, Kalam became the first scientist and first ever bachelor to occupy the Rastrapati Bhawan.