Dr. A.P.J. Kalam was one of the finest leaders this country has had. His charisma, intelligence, passion has inspired India’s youth to dream big, take big steps and achieve those dreams. Dr. Kalam was an illustrious statesman who served as the 11th President of India from 2002 to 2007. Due to his close working style with the people, especially the youth he has been affectionately called as ‘The People’s President’. During his Presidency, he has been estimated to have met a record – breaking 5000 youths inspiring them to ‘continuously acquire knowledge, work hard, and have perseverance to realise the great life’.
As the ‘Missile Man of India’, Dr, Kalam gained massive success with his satellite launch vehicle technology and warhead carrying capable ballistic missiles. He was the project director at ISRO where he helped build India’s first indigenous Satellite Launch Vehicle and the project director to develop ballistic missiles. As the CEO of Integrated Guided Missile Development Program, he took the responsibility of developing Indigenous Guided Missiles. He was also the mastermind behind multiple nuclear tests carried out in Pokhran in 1998 which made India a nuclear State. He has contributed to the healthcare system by developing the cost effective coronary stent known as Kalam-Raju- Stent, which reduced its price of its access by 50% and with the ‘rugged tablet’ in 2012 which was aimed at arming healthcare workers to respond to emergency situations and also by being the driving force behind the development of light weight orthosis callipers for patients with motor disabilities. He was also deeply involved in the country’s Light Combat Aircraft project and was also the first Indian Head of State to fly a fighter plane. Dr. Abdul Kalam career and academic achievements are plenty, but his teachings to the nation are more than just that. Dr. Kalam has actively propagated religious tolerance interfaith dialogue. He often stressed that India’s answers to her multitudinous problems lay in ‘dialogue and cooperation’. He has been famously quoted with, “For great man, religion is a way of making friends, small people make religion a fighting tool”.
His humility and refusal to accept VVIP treatment was also one of the reasons he was respected for. During a conference at IIT, Varanasi Dr. Kalam refused to accept the President’s chair and humbly offered it to a university official instead. Dr. Kalam continued to inspire change even after his term as President. He launched the “What Can I Give Movement” to develop a ‘giving’ attitude in the youth and encourage them by contributing towards the nation’s growth in small but positive steps.
Our nation is indeed one of the lucky ones to have been able to witness such a fine man as our President!