Despite several challenges and unsound financial conditions, APJ Abdul Kalam did odd jobs to continue his education. Famously known as Missile Man, APJ Abdul Kalam recently left the world with his undying memories.
He always said, “You have to dream before your dreams can come true”. The man have died but his golden words will always be there to inspire us all. A peek into the educational journey of this ‘true Bharat Ratna’ reveals how he was a multifaceted personality.
APJ Abdul Kalam did his schooling from Ramanathapuram Schwartz Matriculation School. After completing school, Kalam distributed newspapers to contribute to his father's income.
Graduated from Saint Joseph's College, Tiruchirappalli in 1954 he was satisfied with his degree. He left for Madras to study aerospace engineering and He enrolled at the Madras Institute of Technology (MIT).
After graduating from MIT, Kalam took up the position of chief scientist at the Aeronautical Development Establishment of Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO). However, the profile didn’t appeal Kalam much who shifted to the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) where he was the project director of India's first indigenous Satellite Launch Vehicle.
His years at the ISRO were the most crucial ones, as they left a lasting impact on him. Kalam lead many projects and turned out to be successful each time.
A milestone was achieved when locally built Rohini-1 was launched into space, using the SLV rocket. Upon watching the raving success of Kalam, the government agreed for initiation of an advanced missile program under his directorship. He played a pivotal role in developing missiles under the missions Agni and Prithvi.
From 1992 until 1999, Kalam served as the Chief Project Coordinator for Pokhran II nuclear tests, after which he was fondly called the “Missile Man of India”.
Kalam succeeded K. R. Narayan to serve as the 11th President of India from 2002 until 2007. It was a highly one-sided contest. With his appointment, Kalam became the first scientist and first ever bachelor to occupy the Rastrapati Bhawan.
Dr Kalam authored numerous influential and inspirational books. Amongst all his books, “India 2020” was the widely read and appreciated one. It forecast an action plan which advocated India turning into a knowledge superpower and as one of the developed nations of the world by the year 2020. His other books include, “Ignited Minds”, “Mission India”, “Inspiring Thoughts” and “The Luminous Sparks”.
Dr Kalam served as visiting professor in various esteemed institutes and universities of India, such as Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad and Indore.
And last but not the least, he died doing what he loves to do- while delivering a lecture at IIM Shillong.