Dr.APJ Abdul Kalam , the name itself acquires incredible respect and regard in the minds of the people in India. Is it since, he is the Former President of the country? Since he is an acclaimed researcher? Since he was the brains behind the atomic tests in India? No, there is something a long ways past these commitments. It is primarily because he is a man of simplicity whom general public could easily connect with.
India, a vast land has many leaders who have been conquering the hearts of the people of the country for decades but still Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam holds a special place in the minds of the Indian people. Born in a poor Muslim family in 15 October 1931 in Rameswaram, Aul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam was selling newspapers in his childhood to support his family to gain income. Though, an average student he never lost interest in studies. After schooling in Ramanathapuram, Abdul Kalam toiled hard to become a Physics Graduate from the University of Madras. In Spite of his dreams to become a fighter pilot, which he could not achieve in his youth, he finished aerospace engineering at the famous Madras Institute of Technology.
Kalam began his career as a scientist at the Aeronautical Development Establishment of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). He worked under renowned space scientist Vikram Sarabhai before moving to Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) to become a Project Director of SLV-III, India’s first Satellite Launch Vehicle which gained success by deploying the Rohini satellite at the earth’s orbit. With this success he became the unnamed leader of Indian space research and under his leadership space research reached its zenith in India. Kalam played a major part in developing many missiles under the mission including Agni, an intermediate range ballistic missile and Prithvi. He also served as the Chief Scientific Adviser to the Prime Minister and Secretary of the Defence Research and Development Organisation and during this period were the Pokhran nuclear tests conducted.
Abdul Kalam was honoured with Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian honour. Kalam served as the 11th President of India, succeeding K. R. Narayanan and was affectionately known as the People’s President. He loved students and teaching them and so he continued interacting with students during his Presidency too. After leaving office, Kalam became a visiting professor at various colleges and institutes spreading his knowledge among the youngsters of India. He dreamt of India becoming a super power in 2020 and instilled his thoughts of making India a superpower in the minds of today’s generation.
Then, came his end on 27 July 2015 when he collapsed on the dais while delivering a lecture to students at the Indian Institute of Management Shillong. He could not be revived by the doctors though he was rushed to the hospital. Three days later his mortal remains were laid to rest at Pei Karumbu Grounds in Rameswaram. Whole of India was in a shock and grief as People’s President left the materialistic world. He was beyond the boundaries of religion, caste, status and he is still known for his simplicity.
2020 being his dream year, India along with the whole world is confronting CoronaVirus, which has taken a complete rule over the world. We are still trying to find a way out of this viral infection. But after Five years of his demise, are we still following his principles, his path? Is India still on the way to become a superpower? The question still remains.