The Inspiring Journey of The Missile Man of India
“The best brains of the nation may be found on the last benches of the classroom.”- Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam
Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam is a name that needs no introduction. If you’re a learner or even an educator, you must be an admirer of him. And, the upcoming generations who will admire him are not just limited to India itself, but across the globe. The contributions he made in the field of science and technology will never be forgotten.
Dr. Kalam, the beloved teacher, served as the 11th president of India from 2002-2007, the highest constitutional post of our nation. Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam was born on 15 October 1931 in Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu. In his childhood, Dr. Kalam faced a financial crisis, and in order to manage that, he started selling newspapers to support his family. After completing high school, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam studied Physics at Tiruchirappalli’s Saint Joseph’s College as an undergraduate.
Journey as a Scientist
Following graduation from Madras Institute of Technology in 1960, Kalam worked as a scientist at the Aeronautical Development Establishment of the Defence Research and Development Organisation. His career began with the design of a small hovercraft, but he remained unconvinced by his choice of a job at DRDO, as he wanted to do something out of the league. He joined the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) in 1969 after spending a few years with the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). He was appointed project director of India’s first satellite launch vehicle.
Here are some of the remarkable contributions in the field of Science and Technology by Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam:
India’s first Satellite Launch Vehicle
As a project director Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam joined ISRO. With his leadership qualities and motivation, our country was able to build the SLV (Satellite Launch Vehicle) from scratch. With the launch of SLV III, Dr. Kalam helped India become a member of the Space Club.
Developing ballistic missiles
With Devila and Valiant, Dr. Kalam once again held the operation director position. He gained experience developing ballistic missiles through his previous experience as ISRO’s project director. His guidance led to the development of missiles such as AGNI, PRITHVI, and many other projects. With the success of these missile programme, Dr. Kalam earned the title of “The Missile Man of India.”
Pokhran-II Nuclear Test
Pokhran-II test were a series of five nuclear bomb test explosion conducted at the Indian Army’s Pokhran Test Range in May 1998. With this test India has emerged as a nuclear power country. Dr. Kalam was the brain behind these multiple tests that helped India to earn this new title. While the tests were in progress, Dr. Kalam served as the Chief Scientific Adviser to the then Prime Minister.
Healthcare and Medical Contribution
The contributions of Dr. Kalam extend far beyond science and technology. He has commendable contributions in the medical and healthcare field as well. In order to develop a cost effective coronary stent Dr. Kalam and cardiologist Dr. B. Soma Raju worked together. It was named “Kalam Raju Stent”. The duo also came up with the concept of an indigenous tablet PC for healthcare workers at primary health centres in rural areas. This was named the “Kalam-Raju tablet” project.
Lightweight callipers for patients with motor disabilities
In his efforts to develop orthotic calipers for patients with motor disabilities, APJ Abdul Kalam worked tirelessly. A primary objective of his was to reduce the overall weight of the calipers to a 10th of the weight of standard calipers on the market.
Dr. Abdul Kalam’s contribution to India’s space and technology history is extraordinary. He has doubled the country’s efforts in these fields.
Journey as a President
Upon succeeding K. R. Narayanan as India’s 11th president, Dr. Kalam served as the country’s 11th president. During the 2002 presidential election, he received 92,2884 electoral votes. While he served as President of India, he was affectionately referred to as People’s President by the people of that nation.
After his presidency tenure, he got back to his education and scientific background. He joined three of the most prestigious Management Institutes of India, i.e IIM Shilong, IIM Ahmedabad, and IIM Indore as a visiting professor. Apart from that, he was an honorary fellow of Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, Chancellor of the Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology Thiruvananthapuram, professor of Aerospace Engineering at Anna University. He was also associated with renowned educational institutions like IIIT Hydarabad and Banaras Hindu University.
The finest gem of this country was lost on 27 July, 2015, when Dr. Kalam travelled to Shillong to deliver a lecture on “Creating a Livable Planet Earth” at the Indian Institute of Management Shillong. Dr. Kalam always told students to follow their heart. His extraordinary life is a lesson for every student of India. And, his lifelong journey is immensely inspiring.