Success story of Dr. Abdul Kalam

Abul Pakir Zainul Abidin Abdul Kalam was born on 15 October 1931 in Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu to a Muslim family. His father Zainul Abidin was a sailor and his mother Ashiamma was a housewife. His family’s financial situation was not good so he had to work from an early age. Kalam used to distribute newspapers after school to help his father financially. (Success story of Dr. Abdul Kalam) In his school days, Kalam was normal in reading and writing but he was always eager and ready to learn something new.

He had an appetite for learning and he meditated for hours on end. He completed his schooling from Ramanathapuram Schwartz Matriculation School and then enrolled at St. Joseph’s College, Tiruchirappalli, from where he graduated in Physics in 1954. After that in the year 1955 he moved to Madras from where he studied aerospace engineering. Kalam completed his engineering studies from Madras Institute of Technology in 1960


After completing his engineering studies from the Madras Institute of Technology, Kalam joined the Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) as a scientist. Kalam started his career by designing a small helicopter for the Indian Army. Kalam was not getting satisfaction from his work in DRDO. Kalam was also a member of the ‘Indian National Committee for Space Research’ formed by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru.

During this time, he had the opportunity to work with the famous astronomer Vikram Sarabhai.  He was transferred to the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) in 1969. Here he was appointed as the Director of India’s Satellite Launch Vehicle Project. As a result of the success of this project, India’s first satellite ‘Rohini’ was placed in Earth orbit in the year 1980. Joining ISRO was the turning point of Kalam’s career. And when he started working on the Satellite Launch Vehicle project, he felt like he was doing what he wanted to do.

During 1963-64, he also visited the US space agency NASA. Atomic scientist King Ramanna. Under whose supervision India conducted its first nuclear test. Kalam was also called in 1974 to witness a nuclear test at Pokhran. With his works and successes in the 70s and 80s, Dr. Kalam became very famous in India and his name began to be counted among the greatest scientists of the country. (Success story of Dr. Abdul Kalam) His reputation had grown so much that the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi had allowed him to work on some secret projects without the approval of her cabinet.

The Government of India launched the ambitious ‘Integrated Guided Missile Development Program’ under the supervision of Dr. Kalam. He was the chief executive of the project. This project has given the country missiles like fire and earth.

From July 1992 to December 1999, Dr. Kalam was the Prime Minister’s Scientific Adviser and Secretary of the Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO). India conducted its second nuclear test during this time. He had played an important role in this. R. Along with Chidambaram, Dr. Kalam was the coordinator of this project. The media coverage he received during this time made him the greatest nuclear scientist in the country.

In the year 1998, Dr. Kalam teamed up with cardiologist Soma Raju to develop a low cost coronary stent. It was named as ‘Kalam-Raju Stent’.

President of India

In view of his achievements and fame as a defense scientist, the NDA coalition government nominated him for the presidency in the year 2002. He defeated his rival Lakshmi Sehgal by a huge margin and was sworn in as the 11th President of India on July 25, 2002. Dr. Kalam was the third President of the country to have been awarded the Bharat Ratna even before he became the President. Earlier, Dr. Radhakrishnan and Dr. Zakir Hussain had been awarded ‘Bharat Ratna’ before becoming President.

During his tenure, he was called the ‘President of the People’. At the end of his term, he also expressed his desire for a second term, but due to lack of an opinion in the political parties, he abandoned this idea.

At the end of the term of the 12th President Pratibha Patil, his name was once again in the spotlight as the next possible President but due to lack of consensus, he abandoned the idea of his candidature.

Time after retiring from the presidency

After retiring from the post of President, Dr. Kalam has been engaged in teaching, writing, mentoring and research and has been associated with Indian Institute of Management, Shillong, Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, Indian Institute of Management, Indore as Visiting Professor. (Success story of Dr. Abdul Kalam) He was also a Fellow of the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, Chancellor of the Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology, Thiruvananthapuram, and Professor of Aerospace Engineering at Anna University, Chennai.

He also taught Information Technology at IIIT Hyderabad, Banaras Hindu University and Anna University.

Kalam always talked about the youth of the country and improving their future. In this connection, he also launched the “What Can I Give” initiative for the youth of the country, the aim of which is to eradicate corruption. Given his popularity among the youth of the country, he was twice featured on ‘MTV’ (2003 & 2004). He was also nominated for the Youth Icon of the Year Award.

The Hindi film ‘I Am Kalam’ released in the year 2011 is influenced by his life.

Apart from teaching, Dr. Kalam has authored several books, most notably ‘India 2020: A Vision for the New Millennium’, ‘Wings of Fire: An Autobiography’, ‘Ignited Minds: Unleashing the Power Within India’, and ‘Mission India’. , ‘Indomitable Spirit’ etc.

Awards and honors

For his work for the country and society, Dr. Kalam was awarded many prizes. About 40 universities awarded him an honorary doctorate and the Government of India decorated him with Padma Bhushan, Padma Vibhushan and India’s highest civilian honor ‘Bharat Ratna’.


On July 27, 2015, while teaching at the Indian Institute of Management, Shillong, he suffered a heart attack, after which Dr. Abdul Kalam, the beloved of millions, passed away.

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