Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
|Date of Birth:||October 15, 1931|
|Place of Birth:|| Dhanushkodi in Rameswaram, |
Tamil Nadu, India
|President of India|
|Tenure Order:||11th President|
|Took office:||July 25, 2002|
|Predecessor:||K. R. Narayanan|
Dr. Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam (born October 15, 1931, Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu, India), usually referred to as Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, is the President of India. He is a notable Indian scientist and an engineer.
Born in Dhanushkodi, in what is now Tamil Nadu, to a working class Muslim family, Kalam received his degree in aeronautical engineering from the Madras Institute of Technology in 1958. He joined India's Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) upon graduation to work on a failed hovercraft project. In 1962, he moved to the Indian Space Research Organisation, where his team successfully launched several satellites. He made significant contribution as Project Director to develop India's first indigenous satellite launch vehicle (SLV-III ) which successfully injected the Rohini satellite in the near earth orbit in July 1980.
In 1982, he returned to the DRDO as director, focusing on guided missiles. He was responsible for development and operationalisation of AGNI and PRITHVI missiles. This led to his nickname as India's "Missile-man".
Dr. Kalam has the unique dinstinction of receiving honorary doctorates from at least thirty universities, and India's three highest civilian honours - Padma Bhushan, in 1981; Padma Vibhushan, in 1990, and Bharat Ratna, in 1997.
On July 18, 2002, Kalam was elected by an overwhelming majority (upwards of 90%) as President of India and took office on July 25. He was nominated for the position by the then ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA), and the Congress Party, the primary opposition, concurred. His only opposition in the race was a leftist nominee, 87-year-old Lakshmi Sahgal, best known for having served under Subhash Chandra Bose in the Indian National Army in its campaign against the British during World War II.
Kalam observes strict personal discipline, practicing vegetarianism, teetotalism, and celibacy. It is believed that he reads both the Qur'an (the main holy text of his family's faith, Islam) and the Bhagavad Gita (the main holy text of India's majority religion, Hinduism), and many hope that he will be able to heal recent religious factionalism in India (especially in Gujarat). Kalam acknowledged in many places that he is following Tirukkural; in most of his speeches, he quotes at least one kural.
Politically, Kalam wants India to take a more assertive stance in international relations and sees his work on India's nuclear weapons program as a way to assert India's place as a future superpower.
He has written many inspirational books like his autobiography Wings of Fire aimed at encouraging the Indian youth. He strongly advocates an action plan to develop India into a knowledge superpower and into a developed nation by the year 2020. He takes active interest in the field of science and technology. He has proposed a research programme to increase intelligence using bio-implants . He is also a supporter of open source software over proprietary solutions and believes that the use of open source software on a large scale will let more people enjoy the benefits of information technology.
- India 2020 by A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, Y.S. Rajan (Penguin Books India, 2003) ISBN 0140278338
- Ignited Minds: Unleashing the Power Within India by A.P.J. Abdul Kalam (Penguin Books, 2003) ISBN 0143029827
- India-my-dream by Abdul A.P.J. Kalam (Excel Books, 2004) ISBN 817446350X
- Envisioning an Empowered Nation: Technology for Societal Transformation by A.P.J.Abdul Kalam (TATA McGraw-Hill Publishing Company Ltd, 2004) ISBN 0070531544
- Wings of Fire: An Autobiography of APJ Abdul Kalam by A.P.J Abdul Kalam, Arun Tiwari (Orient Longman, 1999) ISBN 8173711461
- Scientist to President by Abdul A.P.J. Kalam (Gyan Publishing House, 2003) ISBN 8121208076
- Eternal Quest: Life and Times of Dr. Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam by S. Chandra (Pentagon Publishers, 2002) ISBN 8186830553
- President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam by R. K. Pruthi (Anmol Publications, 2002) ISBN 8126113448
- A. P. J. Abdul Kalam: The Visionary of India' by K. Bhushan, G. Katyal (A.P.H. Pub. Corp, 2002) ISBN 817648380X
- Profile on website of President of India
- Abdul Kalam - One Hundred Tamils of 20th Century
- BBC News article on his election
- President of India Online
- I have three visions for India - Kalam's famous speech that is still passed by chain emails
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