On July 27, 2015, India lost its ‘Missile Man’ Dr APJ Abdul Kalam. He collapsed while giving a lecture at IIM-Shillong and later that evening, he was declared to have died of a cardiac arrest. The death of the former President was a shock to the nation. His exceptional contributions to the country’s nuclear and space programmes will forever be remembered.
Here are some of the interesting facts about Dr APJ Abdul Kalam:
1. Dr APJ Abdul Kalam’s full name was Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam. He 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.
2. Dr Kalam graduated from MIT in 1985. Later, he had applied to become a fighter pilot for the Indian Air force. However, he ranked ninth when there were only 8 openings.
3. In 2002, Dr Kalam became the 11th President of India and famously became the ‘People’s President’ for his friendly nature to one and all.
4. In 2010, the United Nations decided to recognise October 15 as World Student Day to honour Dr Kalam.
5. He received honorary doctorates from more than 40 national and international universities during his lifetime.
6. 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.
7. He used to love the Veena and often played the instrument at his residence. Kalam also used to write poetry in Tamil. His books ‘Wings of Fire’ and ‘Ignited Minds’ are an inspiration to many.