Facts about APJ Abdul Kalam, the People's President

Remembering Kalam on his second death anniversary

The sudden death of Former President of India Dr APJ Abdul Kalam on July 27, 2015, witnessed a massive out pouring of grief in the entire nation. Today being the second death anniversary of Dr Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam, a renowned scientist, a beloved President and above all, a great teacher, following are some of the facts around the life of The People's President

1. Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam was seen by millions of Indians as the 'People's President', the 'Missile Man' who started life as a paperboy.

2. Born in Rameswaram on 15 October 1931, he was brought up by his boatman father Jainulabdeen in a multi-religious environment.

3. He grew up with seven siblings; his mother Ashimma often made chappatis for him, while the others were given rice, since his day would start at 4 am and end at 11 pm.

4. He was a bright student; his mother would save up some kerosene oil so he could study at night. He spent his growing years dreaming of conquering the space frontiers on the Arabian Sea. His dreams of the next two decades were mostly conjured up on the shores of the Bay of Bengal, where he test-fired a variety of short-, medium- and long-range conventional and nuclear-capable missiles for India.

5. His interest in flying led to a degree in aeronautical engineering, and eventually to his supervising the development of India's guided missile program. He went abroad to study only once, in 1963-'64, to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in the United States.

6. He discovered his love for Tamil poetry and learned to play the veena. He could recite both the Holy Quran and the Bhagavad Gita.

7. Dr Kalam played a pivotal role in India's Pokhran-II nuclear test in 1998, the first since the original nuclear test by India in 1974.

8. Kalam received 7 honorary doctorates from 40. He was awarded the Padma Bhushan and Bharat Ratna, and then he became the 11th President of India in 2002; one of the few presidents to have touched the hearts of the poor children in the country. Because he also came from a poor background, he knew the power of education in changing one's future.

9. A.P.J. Kalam wrote 84 books. Abdul Kalam's most popular book is Wings of Fire: An Autobiography.

10. He became the first president to visit the Line of Control (LoC) and address the troops at Uri, close to the border with Pakistan.

Abdul Kalam inspirational thoughts will keep on serving as a guiding light in the dark tunnel, even after his saddening departure. Dr APJ Abdul Kalam continues to live on in our memories with his words.

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