A tribute in memory of the APJ Abdul Kalam, the people’s President, also known as India’s missile man
Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen (APJ) Abdul Kalam (15 October 1931 – 27 July 2015) passed away while delivering a speech at IIM Shillong on July 27, 2015. His death came as a shock to the entire nation.
By Shivangani Dhawan
For many he was an inspiration, a source of knowledge and a hero. Dr Kalam was the 11th President of India from 2002 to 2007. He was active even after retirement, involving himself with educational projects, writing and public service. He was a recipient of several prestigious awards including the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian honour.
Dr Kalam had authored many books and given inspirational and motivational speeches at renowned educational institutions. He was a hero for many young Indians, who looked up to him.
Born in a Tamil Muslim family in the pilgrimage centre of Rameswaram on Pamban island in Tamil Nadu, he was a bright and hardworking student. He graduated in physics and moved to Madras (now Chennai) in 1955 to study aerospace engineering from the Madras Institute of Technology.
He then joined the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) as a scientist, spending the next
four decades there and at the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). He was closely involved with India’s civilian space programme and military missile development efforts, thus coming to be known as the Missile Man of India. Dr Kalam also played a major role in the Pokhran-II nuclear tests in 1998.
1) If a country is to be corruption free and become a nation of beautiful minds, I strongly feel there are three key societal members who can make a difference. They are the father, the mother and the teacher.
2) English is necessary as at present original works of science are in English. I believe that in two decades times original works of science will start coming out in our languages. Then we can move over like the Japanese.
3) You have to dream before your dreams can come true.
4) Great dreams of great dreamers are always transcended.
5) To succeed in your mission, you must have single-minded devotion to your goal.
6) A man needs his difficulties because they are necessary to enjoy success.
7) We should not give up and we should not allow the problem to defeat us.
8) Those who cannot work with their hearts achieve but a hollow, half-hearted success that breeds bitterness all around.
9) In India we only read about death, sickness, terrorism, crime.
10) Excellence is a continuous process and not an accident.
11) Life is a difficult game. You can win it only by retaining your birth right to be a person.
12) Man needs his difficulties because they are necessary to enjoy success.
13) We will be remembered only if we give to our younger generation a prosperous and safe India, resulting out of economic prosperity coupled with civilisational heritage.
14) Educationists should build the capacities of the spirit of inquiry, creativity, entrepreneurial and moral leadership among students and become their role model.
15) Look at the sky. We are not alone. The whole universe is friendly to us and conspires only to give the best to those who dream and work.
My message, especially to young people is to have courage to think differently, courage to invent, to travel the unexplored path, courage to discover the impossible and to conquer the problems and succeed. These are great qualities that they must work towards.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar @SriSri Dr APJ Kalam led a remarkable life: a scientist, artist & philosopher. Holding the highest office, he was still approachable by one & all.
The Dalai Lama: “I am very sad to learn of the sudden passing away of our former President, Dr. Kalam. This is an irreparable loss. He was not only a great scientist, educationist and statesman, but also above all a real gentleman.”
Bhutanese Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay: “His Majesty the King offered prayers and lit butter lamps with the Indian community in remembrance of Dr. Abdul Kalam.”
Malaysian Prime Minister Mohd Najib Tun Razak: “Condolences to the friends and family of India’s former President Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam. His passing is a loss to the scientific community.”
Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani: “Saddened by the death of Dr. Kalam. He was an inspirational figure to millions of people including me. We have a lot to learn from his life.”
Sri Lankan Prime Minister Maithripala Sirisena: “Dr. Abdul Kalam – the man who ushered India on a new journey has just finished his own. You will continue to inspire us for centuries.”