One of India’s most beloved public figures, Dr. A.P.J Abdul Kalam was a great scientist, President, and a Phenomenal teacher. he was the driving force behind the development of India’s missile and nuclear weapons programs and many scientific technology developments in India. His achievements have inspired millions of people across the country and due to the love and admiration towards him, he was given the title ‘people’s president’. We have scoured through the internet, and made a list of some unknown and interesting facts you might have not this great visionary.
Unknown Facts About A.P.J Abdul Kalam
Unknown Facts About A.P.J Abdul Kalam
- He was born at Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu. And though his ancestors were wealthy, due to business failures, he spent most of his childhood in poverty. To contribute to their dwindling finances, he started selling newspapers at a very young age.
- Kalam missed an opportunity to become a fighter pilot for the Indian Air force. His dreams were shattered when he was ranked 9th when there were only 8 openings.
- On the occasion of his birthday, the United Nations (UN) in 2015 had declared to observe it as World Student’s Day.
- Throughout his life, he supported the abolition of the death penalty saying that as President of India he felt pain in deciding mercy petitions of death row convicts.
- Kalam was honored with doctorates from 40 Universities.
- His autobiography ‘Wings of Fire’ was translated into 13 languages including French and Chinese.
- Kalam was honored with many awards, including the highest civilian award in the country, the Bharat Ratna (1997). His other awards include Padma Bhushan in 1981) and Padma Vibhushan (1990).
- Kalam was frisked twice at JFK Airport in New York. He was checked for explosives by the airport staff. This incident was protested by India on the international level.
- Kalam completed his graduation from Saint Joseph’s College, Trichurapally in 1954. In 1955, he enrolled at the Madras Institute of Technology.
- Kalam was known as the ‘Missile Man’ of India due to his continued, successful work with ballistic missiles and launch vehicle technology.
- Kalam also made significant contributions to the nuclear capabilities of India. The Pokhran -2 nuclear tests in 1998 were successful thanks to his organizational and technical support.
- When once asked by a journalist how would he like to be remembered: as a scientist, a president or a teacher. And he replied smilingly – “I want to be remembered as a teacher first and then as any other person.”
- Kalam wrote a great deal of poetry in Tamil and was very fond of playing a musical instrument known as the Veena.
- During the II nd World War, Kalam was ten years old, and he described in an interview that he felt the travesty of war as the war had almost reached the doors of Rameswaram. Those were the difficult times, he explained further.
- He used to see things with the glass of kindness. When he was in DRDO, he ordered not to put broken glass on the wall for its protection as it will harm birds.
- His Twitter account had more than 1.4 Million followers, and people always loved his interactive and easily approachable nature.
- After becoming the President of India in 2002, he was supposed to address students at a school function. But when he reached there to start his speech, the electricity suddenly went off. Instead of complaining, he asked the students to gather around to listen to him.
- Kalam was a vegetarian and was very fond of his mother’s cooked food, such as rice and sambar with coconut chutney, Vendhya Kozhambu, and Puliyodare.
- He has written many inspirational books, such as- Wings of Fire, India 2020: A Vision for the New Millennium, The Luminous Sparks, Guiding Souls: Dialogues on the Purpose of Life, Ignited Minds: Unleashing the Power Within India, Inspiring Thoughts, A Manifesto for Change, etc.
- When he was the president of India, he used to donate all his savings for the social cause to ‘PURA’ (Providing Urban Amenities in Rural Areas)- a strategy for rural development in India.
- There were two incidents when he declined to sit on a special chair as he didn’t want to make himself superior to others.
- In 2001, when he had boarded the helicopter from Ranchi, on the way to Bokaro, he was informed about some issues with the helicopter’s rotor. Though it was a death alarm for the cockpit crew, he composed everyone with his signature smile and advised the two pilots not to worry.
- He is the only unmarried President of India so far.
- Following his death, the Tamil Nadu state government announced that his birthday, 15 October, would be observed across the State as “Youth Renaissance Day” and also the state government further instituted “Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam Award.”
- He is considered the symbol of simplicity in India. He came to the Rashtrapati Bhavan with a suitcase and left with the same.
- He installed a Manipuri style hut at the Rashtrapati Bhavan during his tenure as the President of India from 2002 to 2007. He used to sit there in the mornings and evenings and fondly referred to it as- “Thinking Hut.” The hut was demolished after he left the President House to restore the original character of Edwin Lutyens.
- He dedicated every single minute of his life serving the country which is justified by the fact that even few minutes before his demise on 27 July 2015, he was delivering a lecture at the Indian Institute of Management Shillong.
Also Read: 7 Inventions Of Dr. Apj Abdul Kalam