A.P.J Abdul Kalam

                                                                                                               Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam

Real Name Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam
Nickname Missile Man, People’s President
DOB 15 October 1931
Birth place Rameswaram, Ramnad District, Madras Presidency, British India(now in Ramanathapuram District, Tamil Nadu, India
Date of death 27 July 2015
Place of death Shillong, Meghalaya, India
Cause of death Cardiac arrest (Stroke)
Profession Professor, Author, Aerospace Scientist
Height in centimeters- 163 cm

in meters- 1.63 m

in feet inches- 5’ 4”

Weight in kilograms- 60 kg

in pounds- 132 lbs

Hair color Grey
Eye color Black
Hobbies Playing Veena, Delivering Motivational Lectures, Walking, Listening to Indian Classical Music
Net Worth In material terms, the “People’s President” owned 2,500 books, a Veena, a wrist watch, a CD Player, a laptop, 6 shirts, 4 trousers, 3 suits and a pair of shoes, his ancestral house and a small site near the house in Rameswaram.
Website Official Website

Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam, better known as A.P.J Abdul Kalam was Professor, Author and Aerospace Scientist who was born on 15 October 1931 in Rameswaram, Ramnad District, Madras Presidency, British India(now in Ramanathapuram District, Tamil Nadu, India. Kalam was the youngest of five siblings, the eldest of whom was a sister, Asim Zohra (d. 1997), followed by three elder brothers. He was the 11th President of India (2002 to 2007). He worked mainly at the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and was intimately involved in India’s civilian space programme and military missile development efforts for forty years of his life. He was also known as the Missile Man of India for his work on the development of ballistic missile and launch vehicle technology. Kalam was noted for his integrity and his simple lifestyle.

While delivering a lecture at the Indian Institute of Management Shillong, Kalam collapsed and died from an apparent cardiac arrest on 27 July 2015, aged 83. Thousands including national-level dignitaries attended the funeral ceremony held in his hometown of Rameshwaram, where he was buried with full state honors.

Books and documentaries

Kalam’s writings

  • [proposed to be deleted: this “book” is a commemorative collection of papers with Kalam and Narasimha as editors. Given URL clearly mentions this]Developments in Fluid Mechanics and Space Technology by A P J Abdul Kalam and Roddam Narasimha; Indian Academy of Sciences, 1988
  • India 2020: A Vision for the New Millennium by A P J Abdul Kalam, Y. S. Rajan; New York, 1998.
  • Wings of Fire: An Autobiography by A P J Abdul Kalam, Arun Tiwari; Universities Press, 1999.
  • Ignited Minds: Unleashing the Power Within India by A P J Abdul Kalam; Viking, 2002.
  • The Luminous Sparks by A P J Abdul Kalam, by; Punya Publishing Pvt Ltd., 2004.
  • Mission India by A P J Abdul Kalam, Paintings by Manav Gupta; Penguin Books, 2005
  • Inspiring Thoughts by A P J Abdul Kalam; Rajpal & Sons, 2007
  • Indomitable Spirit by A P J Abdul Kalam; Rajpal and Sons Publishing
  • Envisioning an Empowered Nation by A P J Abdul Kalam with A Sivathanu Pillai; Tata McGraw-Hill, New Delhi
  • You Are Born To Blossom: Take My Journey Beyond by A P J Abdul Kalam and Arun Tiwari; Ocean Books, 2011.
  • Turning Points: A journey through challenges by A P J Abdul Kalam; Harper Collins India, 2012.
  • Target 3 Billion by A P J Abdul Kalam and Srijan Pal Singh; December 2011 | Publisher Penguin Books.
  • My Journey: (titled எனது பயணம் – Tamil) Transforming Dreams into Actions by A P J Abdul Kalam; August 2013 by the Rupa Publication.
  • A Manifesto for Change: A Sequel to India 2020 by A P J Abdul Kalam and V Ponraj; July 2014 by Harper Collins.
  • Forge your Future: Candid, Forthright, Inspiring by A P J Abdul Kalam; by Rajpal and Sons, 29 October 2014.
  • Reignited: Scientific Pathways to a Brighter Future by A P J Abdul Kalam and Srijan Pal Singh; by Penguin India, 14 May 2015.
  • Transcendence: My Spiritual Experiences with Pramukh Swamiji by A P J Abdul Kalam with Arun Tiwari; HarperCollins Publishers, June 2015
  • Advantage India: From Challenge to Opportunity by A P J Abdul Kalam and Srijan Pal Singh; HarperCollins Publishers,15 Oct 2015.


  • Eternal Quest: Life and Times of Dr Kalam by S Chandra; Pentagon Publishers, 2002.
  • President A P J Abdul Kalam by R K Pruthi; Anmol Publications, 2002.
  • A P J Abdul Kalam: The Visionary of India by K Bhushan, G Katyal; A P H Pub Corp, 2002.
  • A Little Dream (documentary film) by P. Dhanapal; Minveli Media Works Private Limited, 2008.
  • The Kalam Effect: My Years with the President by P M Nair; Harper Collins, 2008.
  • My Days With Mahatma Abdul Kalam by Fr A K George; Novel Corporation, 2009.
  • P. J. Abdul Kalam/Quotes
  • Man needs his difficulties because they are necessary to enjoy success.
  • Look at the sky. We are not alone. The whole universe is friendly to us and conspires only to give the best to those who dream and work.
  • You have to dream before your dreams can come true.
  • We should not give up and we should not allow the problem to defeat us.
  • Climbing to the top demands strength, whether it is to the top of Mount Everest or to the top of your career.
  • Unless India stands up to the world, no one will respect us. In this world, fear has no place. Only strength respects strength.
  • Great dreams of great dreamers are always transcended.
  • Educationists should build the capacities of the spirit of inquiry, creativity, entrepreneurial and moral leadership among students and become their role model.
  • Those who cannot work with their hearts achieve but a hollow, half-hearted success that breeds bitterness all around.
  • Be more dedicated to making solid achievements than in running after swift but synthetic happiness.

Awards and honor

Kalam received 7 honorary doctorates from 40 universities. The Government of India honoured him with the Padma Bhushan in 1981 and the Padma Vibhushan in 1990 for his work with ISRO and DRDO and his role as a scientific advisor to the Government. In 1997, Kalam received India’s highest civilian honour, the Bharat Ratna, for his contribution to the scientific research and modernisation of defence technology in India. In 2013, he was the recipient of the Von Braun Award from the National Space Society “to recognize excellence in the management and leadership of a space-related project”.

Following his death, Kalam received numerous tributes. The Tamil Nadu state government announced that his birthday, 15 October, would be observed across the state as “Youth Renaissance Day;” the state government further instituted the “Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam Award,” constituting an 8-gram gold medal, a certificate and ₹500,000 (US$7,800). The award will be awarded annually on Independence Day, beginning in 2015, to residents of the state with achievements in promoting scientific growth, the humanities or the welfare of students.

On the anniversary of Kamal’s birth in 2015 the CBSE set topics on his name in the CBSE expression series.

The Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, ceremonially released postage stamps commemorating Kalam at DRDO Bhawan in New Delhi on 15 October 2015, the 84th anniversary of Kamal’s birth.

Researchers at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), had discovered a new bacterium on the filters of the International Space Station (ISS) and named it Solibacillus kalamii to honour the late president Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam.

Other awards and honors

Year of award or honour Name of award or honour Awarding organisation
2014 Doctor of Science Edinburgh University, UK
2013 Von Braun Award National Space Society
2012 Doctor of Laws (Honoris Causa) Simon Fraser University
2011 IEEE Honorary Membership IEEE
2010 Doctor of Engineering University of Waterloo
2009 Honorary Doctorate Oakland University
2009 Hoover Medal ASME Foundation, USA
2009 International von Kármán Wings Award California Institute of Technology, USA
2008 Doctor of Engineering (Honoris Causa) Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
2008 Doctor of Science (Honoris Causa) Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh
2007 Honorary Doctorate of Science and Technology Carnegie Mellon University
2007 King Charles II Medal Royal Society, UK
2007 Honorary Doctorate of Science University of Wolverhampton, UK
2000 Ramanujan Award Alwars Research Centre, Chennai
1998 Veer Savarkar Award Government of India
1997 Indira Gandhi Award for National Integration Indian National Congress
1997 Bharat Ratna Government of India
1995 Honorary Fellow National Academy of Medical Sciences,
1994 Distinguished Fellow Institute of Directors (India)
1990 Padma Vibhushan Government of India
1981 Padma Bhushan Government of India


Some Lesser Known Facts About Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam


  • He was born to a Tamil Muslim family in Rameswaram.


  • Kalam’s father owned a ferry, which took Hindu pilgrims back and forth between Rameswaram and Dhanushkodi (now uninhabited).


  • He was the youngest of 4 brothers and one sister in his family.


  • His ancestors had been affluent traders and landowners. They mainly had grocery trade to and from Sri Lanka.


  • Because of ferrying pilgrims between the mainland and Pamban, the family earned the title of “Mara Kalam iyakkivar” (wooden boat steerers).


  • However, when the Pamban Bridge was opened to the mainland in 1914, the family properties and fortune were lost over time.


  • By Kalam’s early childhood, his family had touched the poverty line, and at an early age, Kalam started distributing newspapers to supplement his family’s income. He used to collect the newspapers thrown out of the Dhanushkodi Mail train as because of the ensued World War; the trains didn’t stop there.


  • Kalam was just 10 years old when the Second World War was going on. In an interview, Kalam had revealed that he had felt the travesty of the war as it had almost reached the doors of Rameswaram.


  • Since his childhood, Kalam had a great interest in books. He used to borrow books from one of his brother’s friends in his locality. Abdul Kalam Book Lender


  • In his school, Kalam was an average-grade student. However, his teachers described him as a bright and hardworking student with a strong desire to learn. APJ Abdul Kalam School


  • After graduating in Physics from Saint Joseph’s College in Tiruchirappalli, he moved to Madras Institute of Technology to study Aerospace Engineering. APJ Abdul Kalam College


  • At the MIT, while working on a senior class project, the Dean wasn’t satisfied with the progress of his project and threatened him to revoke his scholarship unless he finished the project within the next 3 days, and when he met the deadline, the impressed Dean stated, “I was putting you under stress and asking you to meet a difficult deadline.” APJ Abdul Kalam With His Project


  • Kalam had dreamt of becoming a fighter pilot. However, he narrowly missed his dream as he placed 9th in the qualifiers of Indian Air Force (IAF) that has only 8 available positions. Abdul Kalam Fighter Pilot


  • After graduating from MIT in 1960, Kalam joined the Aeronautical Development Establishment of the Defence Research and Development Organisation and started his career by designing a small hovercraft. However, Kalam wasn’t satisfied with his job at the DRDO.


  • Being a member of INCOSPAR committee, Kalam worked under the renowned space scientist Vikram Sarabhai. Abdul Kalam With Vikram Sarabhai


  • In 1963, Kalam visited NASA’s Virginia; Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt (Maryland), Langley Research Center in Hampton; and Wallops Flight Facility.


  • While at the DRDO in 1965, Kalam had started work on an expandable rocket project independently.


  • Kalam was transferred to Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) in 1969 where he became the Project Director of India’s 1st Satellite Launch Vehicle (SLV-III) that successfully deployed the “Rohini” Satellite in near-earth-orbit in July 1980. Abdul Kalam With SLV III Team Members


  • Between the 1970s and 1990s, Kalam had put an immense effort into developing Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) and (SLV-III) projects and both of them proved to be successful. APJ Abdul Kalam (left) With Satish Dhawan


  • Raja Ramanna invited Kalam to witness India’s 1st nuclear test “Smiling Buddha,” even though Kalam had not participated in its development. Abdul Kalam at Smiling Buddha


  • In the 1970s, to develop ballistic missiles using the technology of the successful SLV-III programme, Kalam directed two projects- ‘Project Devil’ and ‘Project Valiant.’ When the then Union Cabinet disapproved the projects, Indira Gandhi (the then Prime Minister of India) allotted secret funds for these projects. Abdul Kalam With Indira Gandhi


  • In 1980, Kalam’s educational leadership and research prompted the Government to start an advanced missile programme under Kalam’s directorship.


  • R Venkatraman (the then Defence Minister of India) appointed Kalam as the Chief Executive of Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP) and allocated 388 crores INR for the mission. Kalam played a significant role in developing several successful missiles under the mission including ‘Agni’ and ‘Prithvi.’


  • From July 1992 to December 1999, Kalam served as Chief Scientific Advisor to the Prime Minister and Secretary of the DRDO. During this period, Pokhran-II Nuclear Tests were conducted in which Kalam played a crucial political and technological role along with Atal Bihari Vajpayee (the then Prime Minister of India).


  • In the late 1990s, the media coverage made him India’s best known nuclear scientist that earned him the sobriquet of “Missile Man.” Abdul Kalam The Missile Man


  • In 1998, Kalam developed a low-cost coronary stent along with cardiologist Soma Raju named the “Kalam-Raju Stent.” The duo also designed a rugged tablet computer named “Kalam-Raju Tablet” for health care in rural areas in 2012.


  • In 2002, he succeeded K. R. Narayanan to become the 11th President of India. APJ Abdul Kalam Taking Oath As The President of India


  • APJ Abdul Kalam became the third President of India to have been honoured with the Bharat Ratna before becoming the President. Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan (1954) and Dr. Zakir Hussain (1963) were the earlier recipients of Bharat Ratna who later became the President of India.


  • Kalam was also the first bachelor and the first scientist to occupy the “Rashtrapati Bhawan.” APJ Abdul Kalam At the Rashtrapati Bhawan


  • During his stay at the Rashtrapati Bhawan, he insisted that he will pay for his food. General KS Dogra (former Military Secretary to President APJ Abdul Kalam) recalled an incident; his relatives were visiting him for the first time when he became the President. He refused to let Rashtrapati Bhavan make any special arrangements. They travelled in ordinary sleeper class, and we hired a small bus to ferry them around Delhi, and he paid for it., even though the Rashtrapati Bhavan has a fleet of vehicles for the use of President and his family. Rashtrapati Bhavan has stables, club, hospitals, a golf course, which Kalam never used. His only recreation was his books, and his thinking walks in the Mughal gardens.


  • During his tenure as the President of India, media affectionately called him the “People’s President.” Abdul Kalam The Peoples President


  • In September 2003, during an interactive session at the PGI Chandigarh, he supported the need of “Uniform Civil Code” in India.


  • In 2011, a Hindi Film “I Am Kalam” was released in which Kalam was portrayed as a positive influence on a poor-bright Rajasthani boy named ‘Chhotu.’


  • On 27 July 2015, while delivering a lecture on “Creating a Livable Planet Earth” at the Indian Institute of Management Shillong, at around 6:35 p.m. IST, only 5 minutes into his lecture, he collapsed. When he was rushed to the nearby Bethany Hospital, he lacked a pulse or any other signs of life. He was declared dead of a cardiac arrest at 7:45 p.m. IST. According to reports, his last words were: “Funny guy! Are you doing well?” to his aide Srijan Pal Singh.


  • India reacted to Kalam’s death with an outbursting grief; numerous tributes were paid across the country and on social media. The Government of India (GOI) declared a 7-day State mourning. Pranab Mukherjee (the then-President of India), Hamid Ansari (the then-Vice President of India) and Rajnath Singh (incumbent Home Minister of India) condoled his demise.


  • On 30 July 2015, was laid to rest at Rameswaram’s Pei Karumbu Ground with full state honours. Over 3.5 lakh people attended the last rites including Narendra Modi (Incumbent Prime Minister of India), Rahul Gandhi, the Governor of Tamil Nadu and the Chief Ministers of Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.


  • On 27 July 2017, Narendra Modi (Incumbent Prime Minister of India) inaugurated Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam National Memorial at Pei Karumbu, in the island town of Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu, India. The Memorial was built by DRDO. Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam National Memorial

A .P. J. Abdul Kalam/Quotes

You have to dream before your dreams can come true.

Look at the sky. We are not alone. The whole universe is friendly to us and conspires only to give the best to those who dream and work.

Man needs his difficulties because they are necessary to enjoy success.

Great dreams of great dreamers are always transcended.

We should not give up and we should not allow the problem to defeat us.

Be more dedicated to making solid achievements than in running after swift but synthetic happiness.

Climbing to the top demands strength, whether it is to the top of Mount Everest or to the top of your career.

Unless India stands up to the world, no one will respect us. In this world, fear has no place. Only strength respects strength.

Do we not realize that self respect comes

with self reliance?

God, our Creator, has stored within our minds and personalities, great potential strength and ability. Prayer helps us tap and develop these powers


Father- Jainulabiddin Marakayar (A boat owner and Imam of a local Mosque)

Mother- Ashiamma Jainulabiddin (Housewife

Brothers- Kasim Mohammed, Mustafa Kamal, Mohammed Muthu Meera Lebbai Maraikayar

Sister- Asim Zohra (eldest)

Social Profile of APJ Abdul Kalam


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