Indialogue Foundation expresses deepest condolence over the sad demise of fondly known as the missile man of India, the former president APJ Abdul Kalam, who has left a huge legacy, but an even richer legacy of a ceaseless enduring humility. As an ardent supporter of the philosophy of peaceful coexistence of all faiths, he had considered coexistence to be the only way to prevent violent conflict.
After graduating from the Madras Institute of Technology (MIT – Chennai) in 1960, Dr. A P J Abdul Kalam had tirelessly contributed to Indian Space Research Programmes with the evolution of country’s first Indigenous Satellite Launch Vehicle (SLV-III)
Kalam had profoundly contributed in the country’s civilian space programme and military missile development efforts, making him identical with the sobriquet ’India’s Missile Man’. He worked as a scientist and science administrator, mainly at the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) before he became president.
From 1992 to 1997 Kalam was scientific adviser to the defense minister, and he later served as principal scientific adviser (1999–2001) to the government with the rank of cabinet minister. His prominent role in the country’s 1998 nuclear weapons tests established Kalam as a national hero.
In 1998 Kalam put forward a countrywide plan called Technology Vision 2020, which he described as a road map for transforming India from a less-developed to a developed society in 20 years. The plan called for, among other measures, increasing agricultural productivity, emphasizing technology as a vehicle for economic growth, and widening access to health care and education.
Kalam wrote several books, including an autobiography, Wings of Fire(1999). Among numerous awards, he was conferred with, were two of the country’s highest apotheosis, the Padma Vibhushan (1990) and the Bharat Ratna (1997).
An iconic leader for students and young people Kalam was always happy to be among them and educational institutions. He breathed his last in the premises of an educational institution, as he suffered a massive cardiac arrest and collapsed during a lecture at the IIM in Shillong.