Dr. A. P. J Abdul Kalam - a scientist and a gentleman – an example that despite poor or uncomfortable conditions one can struggle and rise to the highest peaks through sheer hard work, determination and sincerity. Even the fame and power could not get the better of him and he lived quite a down-to-earth life. He continued to work and was active till his last breath. Not often do we come across such a person, with so much of honor and dignity achieved in one lifetime. It is worth spending some time and looking into his life is events:
Education : Kalam scored average Egrades in school but was described as a bright and hardworking student who had a strong desire to learn. He spent hours on his studies, especially mathematics. He did his graduation in physics from Saint Joseph's College, Tiruchirappalli. He moved to Madras in 1955 to study aerospace engineering in Madras Institute of Technology. Even the Dean of his college recalls. 'I used to set the toughest deadlines for Kalam to deliver a project and put him under stress. But Kalam delivered his best performance and impressed me with his work.''
The Missile Man of India
He studied physics and aerospace engineering and joined the Aeronautical Development Establishment of the Defense Research and Development Organization
(DRDO) as scientist. His achievements include designing a small helicopter for the Indian
Army, developing missiles including Agni, an intermediate range ballistic missile and
Prithvi, the tactical surface-to-surface missile. He also played a pivotal role in
organizing during India's Pokhran-II nuclear tests in 1998 and was in the thick of actions in
India's civilian space program and military missile development projects.
1. Dreams are not one's what you see in sleep but actual dreams are those that don't let you sleep!
2. Those who remain idle only get that much that is left over by those who work hard.
3. A good book is equal to 1000 friends; whereas one good friend is equal to a library!
4. Don't take rest after your first victory, because if you fail in second, more lips are waiting to say that your first victory was just luck.
5. Try to read stories related to un-successful people/work so that you may get the keys to success.
6. Let us sacrifice our today so that our children can have a better tomorrow.
7. Only when you have the courage to lose sight of the shore, can you discover the ocean.
Nobility unparallel : After his death the wealth leftover by him contained 2500 books. There were no traces of any luxurious items. This shows the simplicity he maintained throughout his life. He never misused his office or powers for personal use or for the family. It is learnt that he paid the expenses from his account for the use of any amenities that may have been used by his family members or relatives while he was in power as President.
Inspirational Figures :
Most important lesson he Freceived from his father 'not to accept gifts' from anyone because it brings with itself an obligation. It weighs you down and weakens you to perform unwarranted acts which may not be legitimate.
Prof Vikram Sarabhai :
He was the Pvisionary figure who mooted the one page agenda “Let the development of
space technology, remote sensing and related researches find its base in Indian
soil,that will bring prosperity to our country”. The most important virtue he possessed was
that - 'If a project fails take the blame on your shoulders as a leader, but if the same
succeeds then pass the honor to all team members'. This is hallmark of a great leader.
Prof Satish Dhawan :
Former Head of PISRO and teacher in Banglore Inst. Of Science made a lasting impression on his work styles as he learnt leadership skills from him which cannot be found in any book. The most important lesson is that do not be bogged down by some failures or setbacks. In any new mission there can always be setbacks. It's a part of development. Our mission is to overcome it and take our team on the path of success.
Prof Brahma Prakash :
He was prompt in decision making and expert in conducting meetings. His presence
used to drive out fear and anger while countering problems.
Prof MGK Menon :
The man responsible for routing his career in space domain. He was heading Tata Inst. Of Fundamental Research and tested Kalam with innumerable questions in rapid- fire time, that enabled him to recommend his name for working in space science.
Dr. Raja Raman :
Great scientist of Atomic Research landed his full confidence in support of Kalam to head the Defense Research & Design Laboratory (DRDL) for ongoing projects in testing missile technology.
Dr. S Subramanium Iyer :
His school teacher when he was in class V. He showed a bird and asked – “Where is the engine”? Then he clarified that inspiration to fly comes from the inner core, from where the strength is derived for action. This incident influenced him to become a rocket engineer.
INTERACTIONS with the youth
Student: Many students draw ambitious plans but they get bogged down by financial crisis.
How do they overcome these hurdles? Dr. Kalam : If they secure high grades in school exams then it is possible they get to avail the facility of educational loans from Banks. If you aim high then obstacles will always be there in life in some area or the other. The moot point is that it should not become a permanent block to our progress and we must apply persistent hard work and strong determination and finally win over the hurdle.
Student: Sir, why don't we explore oceans rather than Space for research? Dr. Kalam : Ocean has boundaries in the Earth whereas the outer space is boundless. The whole Cosmos is our friend and willing to give its very best to people who dream big.
Student: We students tend to forget our own cultural values, in light of attractions to the
western world. What's your suggestion to overcome this problem? Dr. Kalam : We should take a class per week, for an hour at least, for debate or discussion in our schools, on any of the famous personalities like Buddha, Saint Augustine, Einstein, Abraham Lincoln, Gandhiji etc. Such an exercise will help our youth to be more familiar with the knowledge and wisdom of great people and will gradually shape them to become more civilized human beings.
Dr. Kalam's message :
Today's youth is our prize possession. We should treat both genders equally and provide
composite infrastructure. The work of teachers is far more important. They are like spinal cord in a human body which supports the whole system. He used to say “Today, if you commit a sin, though a very small one, and take it lightly, then tomorrow it will assume higher proportions. It would mean you have given a free ticket to sin in your consciousness and you will lose sensitivity. Always think of achieving higher realms of evolution” He was a legend in the true sense and an inspiration for our future generation. We all feel proud to salute such a distinguished personality who happened to be one amongst us!