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Tribute to Bharat Ratna Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam
August 18, 2015, 11:45 am

The Institution of Engineers (India) _ Kuwait chapter members paid homage to Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam in a recent meeting held in Holiday Inn, Kuwait.

Bharat Ratna Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam, generally known as Dr. A.P.J. AbdulKalam, was the 11th President of Democratic, Republic, Independent India (2002-07). He was one of the Presidents, who had touched the hearts and minds of the people with his unassuming simplicity, honesty and vision to make India a Super Power and that's why during his term as President of India, he was popularly known as the 'People’s President'.

Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam was born to a poor Tamil Muslim family on 15 October 1931 at Rameswaram in the state of Tamil Nadu, India. His father, Jainulabdeen, was a boat owner, and his mother, Ashiamma, was a homemaker. Dr. Kalam was brought up in a multi-religious, tolerant society. He started working at a young age as a newspaper boy to support his father. He completed his schooling from Rameswaram Government Elementary School. The flight of birds had fascinated him since he was a boy, but it was years later he realised that he wanted to fly aircrafts. In 1954 he graduated in Physics from St. Joseph's College in Tiruchirappalli, Tamilnadu. In 1955 he moved to Madras capital city of Tamilnadu and joined the Madras Institute of Technology and studied aerospace engineering.

By profession he was an Engineer, Scientist and an Administrator in India. His unstinted work on the development of launch vehicle and ballistic missile technology had earned him the name of the 'Missile Man of India'.

Dr. Kalam made significant contribution as Project Director to develop India's first indigenous Satellite Launch Vehicle (SLV-III). When Dr. Kalam's first major project SLV 3-failed the first time, he was almost shattered. But he never thought of quitting after SLV-3.  However SLV-3 was launched again with his tireless efforts and it was a great success, which successfully injected the Rohini satellite in the near earth orbit in July 1980 and made India an exclusive member of Space Club. He was responsible for the evolution of ISRO's launch vehicle programme, particularly the PSLV configuration. Dr. Kalam took up the responsibility of developing Indigenous Guided Missiles at Defense Research and Development Organisation. Success followed Dr.Kalam in launch of Prithvi, Agni, Akash, Trishul and Nag missiles which were huge successes and made India self-reliant in Missile technology.

 He was the Scientific Adviser to Defense Minister and Secretary, Department of Defense Research & Development from July 1992 to December 1999. The Pokhran-II nuclear tests conducted in India in 1998 after the age-long original nuclear test of 1974 saw him in a pivotal political, organizational and technical role.  During this period he led to the weaponisation of strategic missile systems and the Pokhran-II nuclear tests in collaboration with Department of Atomic Energy, which made India a nuclear weapon State. He also gave thrust to self-reliance in defense systems by progressing multiple development tasks and mission projects such as Light Combat Aircraft.

He also developed indigenously a low-cost Coronary Stent along with Dr. Soma Raju, a cardiologist, of Hyderabad in 1998. It was named “Kalam- Raju Stent”. Both of them also designed a tablet PC called Kalam- Raju tablet for health care in rural areas. The day marked President Kalam’s birthday and it was also the 15th October 2004 the day when his dream to deliver affordable lightweight calipers to the polio-stricken actually became a reality.

Lightweight calipers were made up of glass filled polypropylene which weighed just 300 grams while in those days the polio patients used to wear calipers that weighed around four kg. “Our lightweight calipers was lighter, sturdier, easier to make and cheaper’ said Dr. Kalam during its launch. The cost of traditional leather and metal polio calipers at that time was between Rs. 3,500 and Rs. 4,000 but ours was just Rs. 500,” recalls Venkatesh and Ramulu, who still manufacture the calipers in a small workshop at NIMS, Hyderabad. The light weight calipers and the Kalam-Raju stent, perhaps country’s first fully indigenized and affordable stent for heart patients, were the two innovations dear to Dr. Kalam.

 Dr. Kalam, after his term as the President of India, took up academic pursuit as Professor, Technology & Society Transformation at Anna University, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, from November 2001 and was involved in teaching and research tasks. Above all he took up a mission to ignite the young minds for national development by meeting high school students across the country. He visited schools and colleges across the country traveling thousands of miles to motivate children and the youth power of India which he strongly believed would make India a Super Power.

In his literary pursuit four of Dr. Kalam's books - "Wings of Fire", "India 2020 - A Vision for the New Millennium", "My journey" and "Ignited Minds - Unleashing the power within India" have become household names in India and among the Indian nationals abroad. These books have been translated into many Indian languages and have inspired millions of people across the globe.

Dr. Kalam is one of the most distinguished Engineer and scientists of India with the unique honour of receiving honorary doctorates from 30 universities and institutions. He has been awarded the coveted civilian awards - Padma Bhushan (1981) and Padma Vibhushan (1990) and the highest civilian award Bharat Ratna (1997) (Jewel of India). He is a recipient of several other awards and Fellow of many professional institutions.

His quotes were often printed on post cards, calendars and greeting cards.

A few to quote: -

·        “All of us do not have equal talent, But, all of us have an equal opportunity to develop our talents.”

·        “If you want to shine like a sun, First burn like a sun”.

·        “Failure will never overtake me, if my definition to succeed is strong enough.”

Dr. Kalam passed away on July 27th, Monday at around 6.30 PM after he collapsed due to a massive cardiac arrest during a lecture titled “Liveable Planet Earth,” to business management graduate students at the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) -Shillong.

Dr. Abdul Kalam was not only the President of the nation, but also a mentor, a guide to the entire country. He had a vision for the country; His demise is a great loss for the nation of 1.2 billion people. He will always livein people’s heart and thoughts. We will miss his presence physically, but spiritually he will always be with us to guide our great nation.

Eng. Joseph Paniker and all Engineers of Institution of Engineers (India) paid homage and respects to the great Human Being.

Salute to the greatest man….

Born in a simple family……..

Selfless, loving and caring….

A great professor..

A great scientist

A great Engineer

A true Indian …

A man of dreams..

 He who lived the dream..

The man who made us dream..

A man of humbleness…

A man of simplicity..

A hero of revolutionary reputation…

A winner of youth hearts…

A writer of great quotes…

A great leader..

A great Orator..


The world will miss you…

India will miss you..

We, will miss you…

Though you leave us now…

You, your thoughts and your quotes will remain in our hearts until the world ends…

Heart Pains to say it, but it is time to…..

Good Bye Dr. APJ Kalam. Salute to the great leader


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