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APJ Abdul Kalam – Achievements, quotes, and books

Published on: July 26, 2018 | Updated on: October 15, 2018

APJ Abdul Kalam: The Peoples President

Whenever we come across the name Abdul Kalam, none other than the image of an academician occupies our mind. A paragon of dedication, patience, resilience, and hard work, APJ Abdul Kalam was a man who saw the sky without any boundaries; who believed in dreaming big, taking steps towards it and achieving it.

APJ Abdul Kalam’s Achievements:

  • Avul Pakir Jainulabin Abdul Kalam, a boy from Rameshwaram who dreamt of touching the sky by becoming a pilot, ended up being one of the most popular Presidents of India. Always an academician, Kalam was well known for his books, contributions to science, and being a motivational speaker.
  • Abdul Kalam was born on 15 October 1931 in Rameshwaram in Tamil Nadu. During his school years, he supported his family by selling newspapers. After completing his schooling from Rameshwaram, Kalam graduated in Aerospace Engineering from Madras Institute of Technology in 1960 and joined the Aeronautical Development Establishment of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) as a scientist. Though Kalam wanted to become a fighter pilot, he missed the chance by one position. However, he became a member of the Defence Research & Development Service (DRDS) and started his career by designing a small hovercraft.
  • In 1969 Kalam was transferred to the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) where he established himself as the “missile man of India”. Kalam became the Project Director of first Satellite Launch Vehicle (SLV-III) of India in 1980.
  • In 1982, Kalam became the Chief Scientific Advisor to the Prime Minister of India and also the Secretary of DRDO. He also served as the Chief Project Coordinator in the Pokhran-II Nuclear Test along with R Chidambaram. It was after media’s intervention that Indian people came to know about Kalam’s achievements and he became the most successful and popular scientist of India.
  • Kalam along, with cardiologist Sonam Raju, invented a low-cost coronary stent which was named as Kalam-Raju stent. They both also designed a rugged tablet PC to ensure health care in rural areas which was named as “Kalam Raju Tablet”.
  • It was due to his pivotal role in developing missiles AGNI ( a ballistic missile) and PRITHVI (surface to surface missile) that he came to be known as the Missile Man of India.
  • In 2002, all the parties unanimously elected Kalam as the 11th President of India.
    APJ Abdul Kalam had received the most prestigious awards including the Bharat Ratna (1997), Padma Vibhushan (1990) and Padma Bhushan (1981). Kalam was also a recipient of the Von Braun Award (2013) from the National Space Society for recognizing his excellence, management, and leadership in a space-related project.
  • Switzerland commemorates May 26 as Science Day in memory of APJ Kalam as it was on this day in 2005 when he visited the country.
  • Kalam has received doctorates from nearly 40 universities, including Edinburg University and Oakland University.

APJ Abdul Kalam’s Quotes-

Kalam has delivered several speeches at various places; his words have been used as quotes to motivate and provide a direction to the youth.
Some of his famous lines from the speeches are-

1. APJ Abdul Kalam’s three-step guide to achieving goals – According to APJ Abdul Kalam there are three steps to achieve goals in life.
Finding an aim before attaining the age of 20
Acquiring knowledge to reach this goal.
Work hard so that you can defeat all problems and succeed.

2. “We are as young as our faith and as old as our doubts”
Here he talks about the faiths and doubts of an individual and motivates people to be confident.

3. Books become permanent companions
Highlighting the importance of books in life, Kalam always motivated people to read books. They were his proud possessions. When Kalam died it was books and a set of few clothes which comprised his legacy.

4. Creativity is seeing the same thing but thinking differently
As per Kalam creativity is in seeing the same thing in a different way; it is what makes you different.

5. “What would you like to be remembered for?”
This is one of this most impressive lines. This question speculates the mind of an individual and his gets determined to find a direction for his life. According to Kalam, one should have a vision and also determination to achieve that vision.

6. If you want to shine like a sun, first burn like a sun.
According to Kalam difficulties are a part of a person’s life. A person who wants success will have to hustle hard as per Kalam.

7. Science is a beautiful gift to humanity; we should not distort it.
Kalam has always praised the wonders caused by science. He considered it as a gift to humanity and wanted that it should not be misused.

Books by APJ Abdul Kalam –

Several books have been penned by this famous scientist. Few of them include-

1. India 2020: A vision for the New Millennium
2. Wings of Fire: An Autobiography
3. Ignited Minds: Unleashing the Power Within India
4. The Luminous Sparks
5. Inspiring thoughts
6. You Are Born To Blossom: Take My Journey Beyond( co-authored by Arun Tiwari)

Kalam was an extraordinary man who never believed in wasting time, and always tried to get the maximum output from every work he did. He died on July 27, 2015, from an apparent cardiac arrest while delivering a lecture at IIM Shillong.

More information on “The People’s President”

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APJ Abdul Kalam – Achievements, quotes, and books
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Kalam was the 11th President of India who is popularly known as the Missile man of India. To know more about his other extraordinary achievements, quotes and books read below.


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I am a hard and smart working individual who is self-motivated and believes in learning something new every day. Being an avid reader and a major in English Literature, I have a small stash of books in my closet which is my prized possession. I love to eat, cook and explore. Reading is my hobby and writing is my passion.

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