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World Student Day: A Tribute to Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam

The Missile Man of India!

The Missile Man, Padma Bhushan, Padma Vibhushan, Bharat Ratna, Ex President of India are the very few recognitions, awards and posts that this great man received. But he hardly enjoyed them. The only possession he flaunted was his 'Simplicity!'

Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, was indeed so simple that he used to spend time listening to his favorite music on an out-dated 2 in 1 tape recorder after his work hours, during his tenure as the President of India.

Dr. Kalam, in spite of being the President of India and one of the most successful scientists of the country, always preferred to be a lecturer and spent time with the students of the Nation. His life was largely spent learning and teaching. And Kalam grabbed every opportunity to teach students, especially the children wherever he went.

Considering his service and love for teaching, in 2010, UN declared October 15th (Dr Kalam's 79th birthday) as World Students' Day. Since then, October 15 is observed as Student's day all around the world.

Kalam was revered not only by the students, but also by the teachers across the country, as he set an example of an ideal student.

Kalam did his schooling in Schwartz Matriculation at Ramanathapuram. He then moved to Tiruchirapalli and joined Saint Joseph's College. After graduating from St' Joseph's, he moved to Chennai to study Aero Space Engineering at Madras Institute of Technology.

Kalam, as he used to mention in all his lectures, was very fond of teaching and in order to guard his passion he was constantly associated with several educational institutes such as:

  • Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi
  • Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad
  • Indian Institute of Management, Indore
  • Indian Institute of Information Technology, Hyderabad
  • Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru
  • Anna University, Chennai
  • Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology, Thiruvananthapuram
  • Indian Institute of Management, Shillong

The Advisory Board Member to Defense Minister & Secretary was also associated with several scientific institutions such as:

  • Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO)
  • Defence Research and Development Organization(DRDO)
  • Technology Information, Forecasting and Assessment Council (TIFAC)
  • Scientific Advisory Committee to the Cabinet (SAC-C)

The President of India:

Dr. Kalam, served the country as the president for a tenure and set bench marks for the office. Even today, he is considered as the role model for people of all walks of life as he proved that power does not lie in the position but in the service - by continuing to be active even after demitting the office (of the president of India) and travelling the length and breadth of the country delivering lectures and meeting people.

During his tenure as President he decided to give away all his wealth and life savings towards a fund for Providing Urban Amenities to Rural Areas (PURA), which was one of his pet projects.

Dr Kalam was a great inspiration for scores and scores of young minds. He always preferred to meet and talk with children. Even as a President he was never bothered about security or protocols. He chose to spend time with school and college students.

As it is believed that great men live their dream till their last breath, Kalam breathed his last breath while giving a lecture to the students at IIM Shillong, India.

Let us all wish that the great man, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam keep inspiring and motivating us if not with his physical presence, but with his eternal values, philosophies and actions as he has been doing from decades.

A very Happy Birthday to The Missile Man of India, Bharat Ratna. Dr. Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam!

Few Excerpts From His Inspiring Speech!

I have three visions for India. In 3000 years of our history, people from all over the world have come and invaded us, captured our lands, conquered our minds. From Alexander onwards, The Greeks, the Turks, the Moguls, the Portuguese, the British, the French, the Dutch, all of them came and looted us, took over what was ours. Yet we have not done this to any other nation. We have not conquered anyone. We have not grabbed their land, their culture, their history and Tried to enforce our way of life on them. Why? Because we respect the freedom of others.

That is why my FIRST vision is that of FREEDOM. I believe that India got its first vision of this in 1857, when we started the war of Independence. It is this freedom that we must protect and nurture and build on. If we are not free, no one will respect us.

My SECOND vision for India’s DEVELOPMENT, for fifty years we have been a developing nation. It is time we see ourselves as a developed nation. We are among top 5 nations of the world in terms of GDP. We have 10 percent growth rate in most areas. Our poverty levels are falling. Our achievements are being globally recognized today. Yet we lack the self-confidence to see ourselves as a developed nation, self-reliant and self-assured. Isn’t this incorrect?

I have a THIRD vision. India must stand up to the world. Because I believe that, unless India stands up to the world, no one will respect us. Only strength respects strength. We must be strong not only as a military power but also as an economic power. Both must go hand-in-hand. My good fortune was to have worked with three great minds. Dr. Vikram Sarabhai of the Dept. of Space, Professor Satish Dhawan, who succeeded him and Dr. Brahm Prakash, father of nuclear material. I was lucky to have worked with all three of them closely and consider this the great opportunity of my life.

I was in Tel Aviv once and I was reading the Israeli newspaper. It was the day after a lot of attacks and bombardments and deaths had taken place. The Hamas had struck. But the front page of the newspaper had the picture of a Jewish gentleman who in five years had transformed his desert land into an orchid and a granary.

It was this inspiring picture that everyone woke up to. The gory details of killings, bombardments, deaths, were inside in the newspaper, buried among other news. In India we mostly read about death, sickness, terrorism, crime. Why are we so NEGATIVE!

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