‘the Person I Admire the Most Is Mahatma Gandhi
Dr. Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam was born in a very poor fisherman’s family on 15 October, 1931 in Rameshwaram. Though he was a legatee of adversity and poverty yet he was not born to shatter. His father Jainul Abden was a hawker and used to sell newspapers. By dint of his intelligence and diligence he obtained a degree from St. Joseph College of Trichurapalli. Thereafter he obtained a diploma in Aeronautical Engineering from Madras Institute of Technology. After obtaining his diploma in Aeronautical Engineering, in 1958, he joined as an assistant to senior scientists in Defence Research and Development Organization.
His first posting was at Hyderabad. In the beginning of his carrier he was appointed chief the group of the development of hovercraft plane. In 1963, he was transferred to Vikram Sarabhai Space Research Programme (SLVP) till 1980. During this period, India achieved a great milestone in the world of space science. Late Prime Minister of India, Indira Gandhi recognizes the worth of his brilliant mind and appointed Dr. Kalam as the Director of Integrated Guided Missiles Development Programme. This was the beginning of his missile carrier.
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He is instrumental in the developing of missiles such as Prithivi, Agni, Akash, Trishul and Nag. All these missiles are developed under his supervision and within a very short span of six years of his joining the integrated missile programmes. He is also instrumental in developing the cryogenic engine in our country. He is rightly said as the father of the Indian Missile Programme. For his excellence and brilliance, he was awarded the prestigious Bharat Ratna in 1998; Padma Vibhushan in 1990; and Padma Bhushan in 1981.
Many universities have given him the honorary degree of Doctorate. Besides, he has also been given a number of awards by the State governments. Just before taking over as the Eleventh President of India, Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam was in the service of Anna University. There he worked as Professor in Technology of Social transformation and Ramanujan computing Centre. He is the Second President of India after Sarvapalli Radha Krishan who has no connection with any of the political parties.