The sad demise of Abdul Kalam

27 Jul 2015 | By Siripriya

Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam passed away today at the age of 83.

He collapsed on stage while delivering a lecture at IIM Shillong, after which he was rushed to the Bethany hospital.

The doctors declared that he had a massive cardiac arrest following which he could not be revived.

Necessary arrangements are being made to carry his body from Guwahati to Delhi.

In context: The incredible journey of the Missile Man

1931-1960A man from humble beginnings

Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam was born on 15 October 1931 to a boatman's family in Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu.

After completing school, he distributed newspapers to support his family.

Kalam graduated in Physics from St. Joseph's College affiliated to Madras University in 1954.

In 1955, he moved to Madras to study aerospace engineering and graduated from Madras Institute of Technology in 1960.

1960-1969The beginnings of a great scientist

He joined the Aeronautical Development Establishment of DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organisation) and was also a part of the INCOSPAR committee working under the space scientist, Vikram Sarabhai.

In 1969, he was transferred to ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation) as the project director of India's first Satellite Launch Vehicle (SLV-III)

The project successfully deployed the Rohini satellite in near-earth orbit in July 1980.

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Dr. Kalam becomes 'The Missile Man'

1970-1999Dr. Kalam becomes 'The Missile Man'

During 1970-1990, Kalam developed the Polar Satellite Launching Vehicle (PSLV) and SLV-III projects which later became successful.

In 1970, he directed Project Devil and Project Valiant, which pursued ballistic missiles from the prior success of SLV programme.

He played a pivotal role in developing many missiles including the Agni and Prithvi under the IGMDP.

He played a key role in the POKHRAN-II nuclear tests(1992-1999).

2002-2007From researcher to 'People's President'

Kalam won the 2002 Presidential Elections succeeding K.R Narayanan as the 11th President of India on 25 July 2002.

He was nominated by NDA (National Democratic Alliance) and backed by the both the Samajwadi party and the Nationalist Congress Party.

He was affectionately called the 'People's President'; the signage of the Office of Profit Bill was his toughest decision as President.

What is the Office of Profit Bill?

In August 2006, Kalam passed amendments to the Prevention of Disqualification Act (1959), popularly known as the Office of Profit Bill. The act excluded 56 posts from the bill which discharged MP's who could have faced disqualification otherwise.

2007Denial to run for a second term

Kalam was found guilty of violating the oath of his office by imposing President's rule in Bihar on 23 May 2005.

He was liable to be prosecuted after his term.

Kalam refused to contest for a second term for the President's office, stating that he did not want the office to be involved in further controversy.

He left the office on 25 July 2007.

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His flair for writing

Abdul Kalam has written many books about his scientific developments, his life and political discourses. Among his most notable books are: his autobiography titled "Wings of Fire" and "Ignited Minds: Unleashing the Power within India".

Awards The many honours and accolades

Indian Government had awarded him Padma Bhushan (1981) and Padma Vibhushan (1990) for his work in ISRO and DRDO.

In 1997, he received the Bharat Ratna for his contribution to scientific research and modernisation of defence technology in India,

In 2005, Switzerland declared 26 May as 'Science Day' to commemorate his visit.

His 79th birthday was declared the 'World Student Day' by the UN.

27 Jul 2015The sad demise of Abdul Kalam

The nation offers condolences

Twitter was flooded with condolences from people from all over the world. PM Narendra Modi tweeted, "India mourns the loss of a great scientist, a wonderful President & above all an inspiring individual. RIP Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam."

15 Oct 2015India pays tribute to Kalam on his birthday

People all across the country are paying tribute to APJ Abdul Kalam on his 84th birth anniversary.

PM Modi unveiled a bust of the former President at the DRDO headquarters in Delhi. It had already been announced yesterday that DRDO missile complex in Hyderabad will be renamed after Kalam.

Schools in Mumbai and Pune are celebrating his birthday as no-bag day and book-reading day.