Biography of Dr. A,P.J.Abudul Kalam- Indian Atomic Scientist-Former President of India

APJ Abdul Kalam
Known As: A. P. J. ABDUL KALAM
Date of Birth: 15th October 1931- Born at  Rameswaram, Ramanathapuram District,Tamilnadu
Kalam House at Rameswaram
Date of Death: 27th July 2015 (At the Age of 83 years) – Expired at Shillong, Meghalaya.
While giving a lecture to the students of the Rajiv Gandhi Indian Institute of Management, Shillong, Dr.Kalam had an acute heart attack and collapsed on the stage and expired in front of his students.
Father: Mr.Jainulabdeen- Fisherman-Boat – Owner (Lived for 103 years)
Mother: Mrs.Ashiamma (Lived for 93 years)
  • Primary Education: Ramanathapuram Schwartz Matriculation School- Abdul Kalam was engaged in supplying daily newspapers to houses for earning some money to support his father and family, as the income of his father had been insufficient.
  • Though, Abdul Kalam was not a very bright student in primary levels, his teachers found that he was capable of becoming a great Indian in the future.
    Sujatha Rangarajan Classmate of APJAPJ Abdul Kalam  SJC B Sc Physics 1954 Group Photo
  • B.Sc.(Physics)-St.Joseph’s Colleger, Tiruchirappalli- in the year 1954– The popular Tamil writer ‘Sujatha’-Rangarajan was his class-mate in B.Sc.(Physics)
  • Aerospace Engineering in Madras Institute of Technology/MIT, Chennai-The popular Tamil writer ‘Sujatha’-Rangarajan was his batch mate and he studied Electronics in MIT, Chennai.
    MIT Chennai
Marital Status: 
Dr.A.P.J.Abdul Kalam remained Unmarried/Bachelor throughout his life and dedicated his life for India and Indians.

The real reason/s for his not getting married was known only to him.

He had been telling that he had no time to get married, as he was busy in his work for the country and its youth and he had told that, had he got married,  he would not have achieved even half of what he could have achieved as a bachelor.

However, he had wished the youth to find suitable spouse/s in their life.

He had been very fond of children and youth of India in his career.

He had a passion to talk to the youth of India and teach them, not only Atomic Science and Information Technology, but also, he used to give ‘inspirational’ speeches and he had been continually advising the youth of India to “Dream” for a bright and fruitful future.

Dr.A.P.J.Abdul Kalam wished and hoped that India would become a “Super Power” by the year 2020.


  • Atomic Scientist,
  • Professor in Atomic Science and Information Technology,
  • Former President of India and
  • Writer.
Atomic Scientist:
Worked as Scientist in Aeronautical Development Establishment of the ‘Defence Research and Development Organization’/DRDO- from the year 1960- Started work on an expandable Rocket Project at DRDO in the year 1965.
Worked as the Project Director of India’s First Satellite Launch Vehicle/SLV-III- at Indian Space Research Organization/ISRO from the year 1969- Successfully deployed the Rohini Satellite in the near earth orbit in July 1980.

Dr.Kalam was called the “Missile Man of India”, as he had been instrumental in launching India’s satellites and missiles, such as  “Agni” and ‘Prithvi’ Missiles and “Pokhran II” Nuclear Tests of India

Worked as the Chief Scientific Adviser to the Prime Minister of India and  as the Secretary of the Defence Research and Development Organisation – from July 1992 to December 1999.
Dr.Abdul Kalam, along with the Cardiologist Soma Raju, developed a low cost Coronary Stent, named ‘Kalam-Raju Stent’ in the year 1998 and they designed a rugged tablet computer, named ‘Kalam-Raju Tablet’, for health care in rural areas.
Cardiologist Soma Raju
President of India:
Former/11th  President of India (From 25th July 2002 To 24th July 2007)

After July 2007- Dr.Abdul Kalam had been a Visiting Professor in :

  • The Indian Institute of Management Shillong,
  • The Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad and
  • The Indian Institute of Management Indore.

And he  had been:
-Honorary fellow of Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore,

-Chancellor of the Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology, Thiruvananthapuram,

-Professor of Aerospace Engineering at Anna University and also

-he had been teaching  ‘information technology’ at
-the International Institute of Information Technology, Hyderabad,
-Banaras Hindu University and
-Anna University, Chennai.
As President of India:APJ Abdul Kalam with AB Vajpayee

  • In the year 2002, when Mr.A.B.Vajpayee had been the Prime Minister of India, the term of office of the President of India Mr.K.R.Narayanan’s (supported by the Indian National Congress) ended and the next Presidential election was due.
The ruling National Democratic Alliance/NDA, including the Janatha Party of the Prime Minsiter Mr.A.B.Vajpayee unanimously selected Dr.A.P.J.Abdul Kalam, a non-political personality to be the official candidate of the National Democratic Alliance/NDA and apporoached Dr.Kalam, who accepted the offer to serve the nation as the first citizen of India.
National Democratic Alliance
Mr.K.R.Narayanan of the Indian National Congress and its allies United Progressive Alliance/UPA opted out of the contest for the Presidential election, knowing that Dr.A.P.J.Abdul Kalam was the NDA candidate for the post of the President of India.
The leader of the Indian National Congress/INC and the UPA, Mrs .Sonia Gandhi and the Samajwadi Party also declared to support the candidature of  Dr.Kalam.
Indian National Congress
However, the left front/CPM did not support Dr.Kalam/NDA’s candidate and Ms.Lakshmi  Sahgal  contested the Presidential election, in which Dr.Kalam was successful with a vast margin of electoral votes of both the major fronts- NDA  and the UPA.
Ms Lakshmi Sahgal
So, practically, the election of Dr.A.P.J.Abdul Kalam had been unanimous and he is considered to be the “President of the People of India”, as he was not of any political party.
Dr.Kalam declined the offers for the candidature for the next President of India elections in the year 2007 and 2012, as he wished to be elected without contest and because of his love towards teaching Atomic Science and Information & Technology.
Dr.Kalam was the third President of India to have been honoured with India’s highest civilian award the  ‘Bharat Ratna’,  before becoming the President.
APJ Receiving Bharat Ratna Award
Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan (1954) and Dr Zakir Hussain (1963) were the earlier recipients of ‘Bharat Ratna’ award  who later became the President of India.
Dr.Kalam  was also the first scientist and the first bachelor to become the President of India.
The following are some of the books and writings of Dr.A.P.J.Abdul Kalam:
Name of the Writing or Book/Publisher/Year:
Developments in Fluid Mechanics and Space Technology  (along with Roddam Narasimha)/ Indian Academy of Sciences/ 1988
India 2020: A Vision for the New Millennium (along with Y S Rajan) New York/ 1998
 Wings of Fire: An Autobiography by A P J Abdul Kalam/ Universities Press/ 1999
 Ignited Minds: Unleashing the Power Within India/Viking, 2002
The Luminous Sparks/Punya Publishing Pvt Ltd/ 2004
Mission India-(with Paintings by Manav Gupta)/Penguin Books/ 2005
Inspiring Thoughts/Rajpal & Sons/2007
Indomitable Spirit/Rajpal and Sons /2007
Envisioning an Empowered(along with  A Sivathanu Pillai)/Tata McGraw-Hill, New Delhi/2007
You Are Born To Blossom: Take My Journey Beyond (along with Arun Tiwari)/ Ocean Books/2011
Target 3 Billion”(along with Srijan Pal Singh)/Penguin Books/ 2011
Turning Points: A journey through challenges/Harper Collins India/ 2012
My Journey: Transforming Dreams into Actions/Rupa Publication/2013
 A Manifesto for Change: A Sequel to India 2020 along with V.Ponraj/Harper Collins/July 2014
Forge your Future: Candid, Forthright, Inspiring/Rajpal and Sons/ October 2014
Reignited: Scientific Pathways to a Brighter Future(along with Srijan Pal Singh)/Penguin India/May  2015
Transcendence My Spiritual Experiences with Pramukh Swamiji /Harper Collins India Publication/June 2015
The following are the  ‘Biographies’ of Dr.A.P.J.Abdul Kalam:    
Name of the Biography/ Author/Publisher/Year:
Eternal Quest: Life and Times of Dr Kalam /S Chandra/Pentagon Publishers/ 2002
President A P J Abdul Kalam /R K Pruthi/Anmol Publications/2002
A P J Abdul Kalam: The Visionary of India/ K Bhushan and G Katyal/ A P H Pub Corpn/2002
The Kalam Effect: My Years with the President/P M Nair/Harper Collins/2008
The following is a Documentary Film on Dr.A.P.J.Abdul Kalam:
Name of the Film/Director/Producer/year: 
A Little Dream/P. Dhanapal/Minveli Media Works Private Limited/2008

A Movie Inspired by the Life of Dr.A.P.J.Abdul Kalam:
A Hindi movie, by name ‘I Am Kalam’,based on his life and works, was directed by Nila Madhab Panda was released  in the year 2011.

  Awards and Honours Given to Dr.A.P.J.Abdul Kalam:


Name of the Award or Honour/Given by/Year:

Padma Bhushan/Union Government of India/1981

Padma Vibhusahan/Union Government of India/1990

Distinguished Fellow/Institute of Directors(India)/1994

Bharat Ratna/Union Government of India/1997

Indira Gandhi Award for National Integration /Indian National Congress/1997

Veer Savarkar Award/Union Government of India/1998

Ramanujan Award/Alwars Research Centre, Chennai/2000

Honorary Doctorate of Science/    University of Wolverhampton, UK/2007

King Charles II Medal/Royal Society, UK/2007

Honorary Doctorate of Science and Technology/    Carnegie Mellon University/2007

Doctor of Engineering (Honoris Causa) /    Nanyang Technological University, Singapore/2008

International von Kármán Wings Award /California Institute of Technology, USA/2009

Hoover Medal/    ASME Foundation, USA/2009

Honorary Doctorate/Oakland University/2009

Doctor of Engineering/    University of Waterloo/2010

IEEE Honorary Membership /IEEE/2011

Doctor of Laws (Honoris Causa)/Simon Fraser University/2012

Doctor of Science/Edinburgh University,UK/2014

The following are some of the Quotes by Dr.A.P.J.Abdul Kalam: 
“You have to dream before your dreams can come true.”  

“Dream, dream, dream.  Dreams transform into thoughts and thoughts result in action.”

“Dreams are not those which comes while we are sleeping, but dreams are those when u don’t sleep before fulfilling them.”

“This is my belief: that through difficulties and problems God gives us the opportunity to grow. So when your hopes and dreams and goals are dashed, search among the wreckage, you may find a golden opportunity hidden in the ruins.”

“Difficulties in your life do not come to destroy you, but to help you realize your hidden potential and power, let difficulties know that you too are difficult.”

“You cannot change your future, but you can change your habits, and surely your habits will change your future.”

“Don’t read success stories, you will only get a message. Read failure stories, you will get some ideas to get success.”

“Excellence is a continuous process and not an accident.”   

“Educationists should build the capacities of the spirit of inquiry, creativity, entrepreneurial and moral leadership among students and become their role model.” 

“ If a country is to be corruption free and become a nation of beautiful minds, I strongly feel there are three key societal members who can make a difference. They are the father, the mother and the teacher.” 

“ My message, especially to young people is to have courage to think differently, courage to invent, to travel the unexplored path, courage to discover the impossible and to conquer the problems and succeed. These are great qualities that they must work towards. This is my message to the young people.”

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