Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam – An inspiration for all those who believe in simple living and high thinking.
Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen “A. P. J.” Abdul Kalam served the country as 11th President of India from 2002 to 2007. Popularly known as India’s ‘Missile Man’, he was a person with astute scientific knowledge who spent most of his life as a scientist and science administrator, mainly at the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) and Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO). Dr. Kalam was loved by everyone for his simplicity, humility and inspirational words.
On July 27, 2015, he left this world after collapsing while delivering a lecture at IIT (Shillong). Even death could not stop him from doing what he loved the most, sharing his knowledge with the young minds. Here are some amazing facts about him that you probably didn’t know.
- His childhood was not easy and privileged
Dr. Kalam was born on 15 October, 1931 in a Tamil Muslim family, in Ramanathapuram district of Tamil Nadu. His father Jainulabudeen was a boat owner, while mother Ashiamma was a housewife. At the tender age of five, Dr. Kalam use to distribute newspapers after school hours to support his family.
- He missed an opportunity to become Fighter Pilot
Kalam missed an opportunity to become a fighter pilot for the Indian Air force. He was on the ninth spot on the list, and there were only eight openings. The first eight shortlisted candidates were recruited and he was rejected. Failed to become pilot, he became Rocket Scientist.
- He loved Nature and Wildlife
He loved Nature and was a protector of wildlife. Once, while working at the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO), he rejected the proposal to place broken glass on the walls of the institution to prevent break-ins. He told everyone, the broken glass would prove harmful for the birds that perch on the walls.
- He donated his entire Presidential Salary
After becoming the President of India he said, he will be looked after by Government of India till the end of his life, and so all his salary and savings could be used for better things. He founded a trust named PURA (Providing Urban Amenities to Rural Areas) and donated his Presidential salary to the trust for the betterment of rural people. No wonder he was called as ‘People’s President’.
- He wanted to power Rashtrpati Bhawan with Solar Energy
It was Dr. Kalam’s wish to make Rashtrapati Bhawan, the first home in India to be powered completely by solar energy. Unfortunately this could not be implemented during the term of his presidency.
- He refused for any special treatment
In 2015, Dr. Kalam attended Lakshmi Vidya Sangham where he refused to sit on the special chair that had been provided to him and instead sat on the same kind of chair that was used by all the students. Earlier in 2012 also, he attended a function at Defence Food Research Laboratory (DFRL), Mysuru, where he refused to sit on a large ceremonial chair and asked for a regular one.
- He asked a question on Yahoo Answers on Terrorism
Once Dr. Kalam used yahoo answers to ask a question on terrorism for which he received more than 30,000 responses. He asked, “What should we do to free our planet from terrorism?” Here is the entire quote of his question-
“Human society, from origin until now, has always been at war within and between groups which has led to two World Wars. Presently, terrorism and low intensity warfare are affecting many parts if the world.
As the current global population of 6 billion increases to 8 billion by 2025, national and international conflicts will continue to be a source of concern for humanity. When evil minds combine, good minds have to work together and combat. In this context, what are the out-of-the-box solutions to free the planet earth from terrorism? Your answers, when processed and implemented, can lead to a peaceful, happy and safe planet earth. “