Born on 15th October 1931 to Jainulabdeen, a boat owner and his wife Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu, A.P.J Abdul Kalam did not follow a religious routine inspite of being raised in a multi-religious environment. To aid his father in family income, he distributed newspapers after completing his schooling from Rameshwaram Elementary School. The hardworking boy went to Saint Joseph’s College and graduated in physics in 1954. Dissatisfied with the subject, he went on to study aerospace engineering in 1955.

Abdul KalamAfter graduating from Madras Institute of Technology in 1960, Kalam joined Aeronautical Development Establishment of Defense Research and Development Organization as a chief scientist. He started his career by designing a small helicopter and transferred to Indian Space Research Organization as the project director of India’s first indigenous Satellite Launch Vehicle (SLV-III).

The ambitious engineer started work on an expandable rocket project independently at DRDO in 1965 and after earning an approval from the government in 1969; he expanded his project and included more engineers. Between 1970s and 1990s, Kalam Polar SLV and SLV-III projects successfully. His research and educational leadership brought him lots of praises and his commendable work was accepted and acclaimed everywhere.

He was offered to initiate an advanced missile program by the government. He worked together with S. Arunachalam, metallurgist and scientific advisor over the suggestion of the then Defense minister on a proposal for simultaneous development of a quiver of missiles instead of taking planned missiles one by one. Our reliable man played an important role in developing many missiles, including ‘Agni’ and ‘Prithvi’ under the mission which was sanctioned 388 crore rupees by the government.

He became the Chief Scientific Advisor to the Prime Minister and the Secretary of Defence Research and development Organization during the period 1992 to 1999. His partnership with cardiologist Dr. Soma Raju seems to b a long one with their first project together in 1998 developing Coronary Stent and again in 2012 developing a rugged tablet PC for health care in rural areas.

Inspite of obstructions, Kalam’s fate took him to the Rashtrapati Bhawan after declaring him India’s 11th President for the period 2002 to 2007. But he was the third Indian President to be honored with a Bharat Ratna. Uncertain about his win in the 2007 election, Kalam decided not to contest the Presidential elections again stating that’ he wanted to avoid rashtrpati Bhawan from any political processes’.

With power, fame and responsibility comes controversies. Kalam, too was a popular targe of such hullabaloo. He took the credit of developing ‘Agni’, ‘Prithvi’ and ‘Akash’ but people claim in 2008 that he was only involved in getting the funds and other logistic taks and the actual work was done by other scientists. But he still had a chance and lots of support for the 2012 elections after the 12th President Pratibha Patil’s tenure overs on 24th July 2012.

But on 18 June 2012, Kalam refused to contest the Presidential poll after lots of speculations. His book ‘India 2020’, he supports an action plan to develop India into a knowledge superpower and a developed nation by the year 2020. In May 2011, he launched his mission for the youth called ‘What Can I Give Movement’ with a theme to defeat corruption. Inspite of refusing to be a part of the Indian government, he still wants to and is bettering the condition of our nation.