20 Rarely Known Facts About Dr. A.P.J Abdul Kalam
1. APJ Kalam was born on October 15, 1931, into a poor family. His father had only one boat to support his family.
2. Kalam was a hardworking boy right from the beginning. At the tender age of five, he started selling newspapers to help his father support the family. He did this job in the evenings after school. He also spent a great deal of time on his studies.
3. Kalam was fascinated by physics and mathematics.
4. Kalam completed his graduation from Saint Joseph’s College, Trichurapally in 1954. In 1955, he enrolled at the Madras Institute of Technology.
5. Kalam missed an opportunity to become a fighter pilot for the Indian Air force. He was on the ninth spot on the list, and there were only eight openings. The first eight shortlisted candidates were recruited.
6. In 1960, Kalam became involved with DRDO’s Aeronautical Development Establishment.
7. In 1969, Kalam was made the project director for Satellite Launch Vehicles and was shifted to ISRO. The project became successful, and India, under the directorship of Kalam, was able to launch the Rohini satellite series into Earth’s orbit.
8. Kalam was known as the ‘Missile Man’ of India due to his continued, successful work with ballistic missiles and launch vehicle technology.
9. Kalam also made significant contributions to the nuclear capabilities of India. The Pokhran -2 nuclear tests (in 1998) were successful thanks to his organizational and technical support.
10. Kalam was honored with many awards, including the highest civilian award in the country, the Bharat Ratna (1997). His other awards include Padma Bhushan (1981) and Padma Vibhushan (1990).
11. Interestingly, he was also honored with doctorates from 40 universities.
14. Kalam became the President of the largest democracy of the world –India – on July 25, 2002. He was known as “the People’s President” because of his simple and down-to-earth attitude.
15. Kalam’s visit to Switzerland is commemorated as Science Day in the country. This declaration in his honor was made by the Swiss government after the sad demise of this great personality.
16. A fun fact about APJ Abdul Kalam is that although he was a Muslim, he was also a strict vegetarian.
17. Kalam is the first unmarried president and scientist in India.
18. He donated his presidential salary to charity. He formed a trust named PURA (Providing Urban Amenities to Rural Areas), and donated his salaries to this trust when he became aware that the government takes care of its presidents.
19. He also published his autobiography, Wings of Fire, which was co-authored with Arun Tiwari. It gives a detailed account of his childhood, his personal life and career; it has been translated into 13 languages including French and Chinese.
20. And he was an avid reader and writer. He authored no less than 15 books on various topics, including nuclear physics and spiritual experiences.