As India recently celebrated the birth date of Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan as National Teacher’s Day, it once again reminded us of the fine teachers our country has had who have made evergreen marks in the field of education. One such teacher was A.P.J Abdul Kalam who was the 11th president of India and one of the most respected leaders of all time.
Fondly referred to as the People’s President, he was the brain behind India’s attainment of nuclear status in the global arena, owing to which he was popularly known as the ‘Missile Man of India’. He was not only a genius who made unparalleled feats in science, he was a man of compassion, affection and caring nature – something that is rare to find in leaders of today’s time.
Dr Kalam who went on to serve the nation as its 11th President didn’t hail from the family of affluents, in fact, he was born in a humble family from the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Belonging to a poor family, his journey was rather strenuous and he had to sponsor his own education by selling newspapers as a child.
Never for once did he let poverty refrain him from pursuing his further education and in the year 1960, he graduated from IIT Madras in Aerospace Engineering after which he joined the Aeronautical Development Establishment of the Defense Research and Development as a scientist. In 1974, under the supervision of Dr Kalam, India underwent its first nuclear test and then came Pokhran – II in the year 1988.
His contributions and achievements in science had garnered him numerous prestigious awards including Padma Bhushan, Padma Vibhushan and the Bharat Ratna, three of the most honourable awards in India. In addition to being a great scientist, he was an author of numerous inspirational books such as India 2010, Ignited Minds, Mission India, thus leaving footsteps for the upcoming generations to follow. His life story, career and his beliefs have inspired millions and will continue to do so in the years to come.