Biography of Dr. A P J Abdul Kalam: Life Story of Indian Aerospace Scientist and Statesman

Dr A P J Abdul Kalam

Dr. A P J Abdul Kalam was a true inspiration to millions of people around the world, known for his remarkable contributions in both science and politics. This Indian aerospace scientist and statesman left behind an impressive legacy through his tireless efforts towards the development of technology in India.

From humble beginnings to reaching great heights, Dr. Kalam’s journey is nothing short of fascinating. In this biography & life story, we will delve into the life and achievements of one of India’s greatest minds – Dr. A P J Abdul Kalam!

Early life and education

Dr. A P J Abdul Kalam was born on October 15, 1931, in Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu to a Tamil Muslim family. His father Jainulabdeen was a boat owner and his mother Ashiamma was a housewife.

Kalam was the youngest of four brothers and one sister. He came from a modest family and had to work hard to make his way up the ladder of success. 

Kalam’s childhood was humble and he grew up in a small village. Despite financial difficulties, young Kalam had an insatiable thirst for knowledge and excelled in academics. 

 He completed his early education from Schwartz Higher Secondary School, Ramanathapuram, and went on to study Physics at St. Joseph’s College, Tiruchirappalli. He then went on to study Aerospace Engineering at the Madras Institute of Technology.

Kalam’s education played a significant role in shaping his future career as a scientist and engineer. His upbringing taught him the value of hard work and determination which would later prove essential when he pursued groundbreaking research projects throughout his life.

Work in the Indian Space Research Organisation

After completing his studies, Kalam joined the Aeronautical Development Establishment of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) as a scientist.

In 1969, he was transferred to the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) where he played a key role in the development of the satellite launch vehicle (SLV-III), which successfully deployed the Rohini satellite in orbit.

Dr. A P J Abdul Kalam’s work in the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is one of his most significant contributions to India’s space program. He joined the organization in 1962 and served as a scientist/engineer for nearly two decades.

During his time at ISRO, Dr. Kalam played a pivotal role in developing India’s first satellite launch vehicle, SLV-III, which successfully launched Rohini into orbit in 1983. The success of this mission paved the way for further developments in India’s space program.

Dr. Kalam also led the development of various other missiles such as Agni and Prithvi that have bolstered India’s defense capabilities significantly over the years.

Apart from being instrumental in many landmark missions, Dr. Kalam was known for his leadership skills and ability to inspire young scientists towards innovation and research excellence.

Dr. Kalam’s work at ISRO laid a strong foundation for India’s progress towards becoming a major player on the global stage when it comes to advancements in technology and science.

In 1982, Kalam returned to DRDO and served as the Director of the Defence Research and Development Laboratory (DRDL).

During his tenure, he was responsible for the development of India’s first indigenous guided missile, the Prithvi missile. He also played a key role in the development of other missiles like the Agni and Akash missiles.

Appointed as the Chief Scientific Adviser to the Prime Minister of India

In 1992, Kalam was appointed as the Chief Scientific Adviser to the Prime Minister of India and also served as the Secretary of the Defence Research and Development Organisation. In this capacity, he was responsible for coordinating the country’s nuclear weapons program and missile development efforts.


In 2002, Kalam was elected as the President of India, becoming the first scientist and first Muslim to hold the post.

During his presidency, he was known for his efforts to promote education, particularly among India’s rural youth. He was also a strong advocate for sustainable development and clean energy.

Dr. A P J Abdul Kalam served as the 11th President of India from 2002 to 2007, becoming one of the most popular and respected Presidents in Indian history.

His presidency was marked by his dedication to education, particularly in rural areas, and his efforts to promote technology and innovation.

During his tenure as President, Dr. Kalam continued to advocate for scientific advancement and worked closely with government officials on a variety of issues related to national security and economic development.

He also traveled extensively throughout India, speaking at schools and universities about the importance of education and encouraging young people to pursue careers in science and technology.

In addition to his work within India, Dr. Kalam played an active role on the international stage during his presidency.

He visited several countries around the world, building relationships with leaders from other nations while promoting India’s interests abroad.

Dr. Kalam’s Presidency was characterized by his emphasis on knowledge-based development as a means of achieving social progress for all Indians regardless of their background or circumstances.

His legacy continues today through numerous initiatives aimed at advancing education, innovation, and technological progress across India.

Later work

After serving as the President of India, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam remained an active advocate for science and education until his death in 2015. He continued to travel across India to share his vision for a developed and technologically advanced nation.

Kalam was a firm believer that technology could be used to solve many of the problems faced by India, including poverty and unemployment.

He worked tirelessly towards creating opportunities for young entrepreneurs and innovators through various initiatives like the PURA (Providing Urban Amenities in Rural Areas) scheme.

In addition to this, he also inspired millions of students across the country with his motivational speeches on topics ranging from leadership to patriotism.

His book Ignited Minds: Unleashing the Power Within India remains a bestseller till date due to its inspiring message about unlocking one’s potential.

Dr. Kalam was also involved in several social causes such as promoting rural development, providing healthcare facilities in remote areas and empowering women through education. His contributions towards society even earned him the title “People’s President”.

Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam’s post-presidential work demonstrated his unwavering commitment towards improving lives through technological advancements while also inspiring future generations to dream big and achieve their goals.

Death and legacy

The sudden death of Dr. A P J Abdul Kalam on July 27, 2015, at the age of 83 was a tremendous loss for India and the world. He passed away while delivering a lecture at the Indian Institute of Management Shillong.

His death was widely mourned in India and around the world, with many people remembering him as a true visionary, a humble man, and a great scientist and statesman.

Kalam’s legacy lives on as an inspiration to millions worldwide. His humble beginnings and incredible achievements have made him one of India’s most beloved figures, transcending any political or religious affiliations.

Dr. Kalam will forever be remembered as “The People’s President,” who brought dignity and pride to the highest office in India with his down-to-earth personality, warmth, and simplicity.

His contributions to science, technology, education, agriculture and national security are unparalleled. Through his numerous books, speeches and lectures he inspired countless young people to pursue their dreams and make positive changes in society.

Today Dr. Kalam continues to be an inspiration not only for Indians but also for people all over the world who strive towards peace-building initiatives through science and technology advancements that promote sustainable development goals.

Books authored by Kalam

Kalam was a prolific writer and author of several books, including Wings of Fire, India 2020, and My Journey: Transforming Dreams into Actions.

Dr. A P J Abdul Kalam was not just a renowned scientist and statesman, but also a prolific writer. He authored many books throughout his life that inspired millions of people across the world.

One of his most famous books is “Wings of Fire”, which chronicles his life from childhood to becoming one of India’s top aerospace scientists. In this book, Kalam shares details about how he overcame obstacles and achieved success through hard work and determination.

Another popular book written by him is “Ignited Minds”, in which he discusses the importance of education and innovation for India’s growth. This book encourages readers to pursue their dreams and take responsibility for shaping their own future.

Apart from these two bestsellers, Dr. Kalam has written several other books on topics ranging from spirituality to governance. His other notable works include “My Journey: Transforming Dreams into Actions” and “India 2020: A Vision for the New Millennium”.

Through his writing, Dr. A P J Abdul Kalam left behind a legacy that will continue to inspire generations to come.

Awards received by Kalam

He was awarded several prestigious awards during his lifetime, including the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian award, and the Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan.

Dr. A P J Abdul Kalam’s contributions to India’s scientific and political fields have left an indelible mark on the country. His remarkable life story continues to inspire millions of young people in India and around the world.

In recognition of his achievements, Dr. Kalam was awarded numerous honors and awards throughout his career. In 1981 he received Padma Bhushan, followed by Padma Vibhushan in 1990, and Bharat Ratna in 1997 for his services to India as a scientist and President.

He also received several international accolades like Honorary Doctorates from over 40 universities worldwide, including Carnegie Mellon University, UK’s University of Wolverhampton, Nanyang Technological University Singapore among others.

Kalam’s passing away is still felt deeply across the nation even though it has been years since he passed away. His legacy lives on through countless avenues such as books authored by him or bearing his name which continue to be popular today more than ever before.

The “Missile Man” will always be remembered for inspiring generations with his tireless efforts towards making India a self-reliant nation in science & technology while never losing sight of its cultural heritage.

He remains an icon for many who aspire to follow their dreams just as he did all those years ago when he was just another boy looking up at the stars dreaming of what could be possible one day!

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