Beloved former president Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, also known as the father of India’s military missile program, died on Monday after collapsing while delivering a lecture in Shillong, plunging the entire nation into a state of utter shock.
Kalam, who served as president from 2002 until 2007, was not only a renowned scientist, thinker, philosopher and teacher, but also a winner of numerous prestigious awards and honours.
It was in the year 2010, when the United Nations decided to honour this ‘great scientist’ on his 79th birth anniversary and declared his birthday on October 15 as the ‘World Students’ Day’.
Since then, October 15 is observed as a day for students all around the world. During his lifetime, Dr Kalam had always expressed his wish to be remembered as a teacher by the people.
He was bestowed with the Padma Bhushan in 1981 and the Padma Vibhushan in 1990 for his work with ISRO and DRDO by the Government of India.
He was also honoured with ‘Bharat Ratna’ for his contribution to the scientific research and modernisation of defence technology in India.
In 2005, Switzerland also declared May 26 as ‘Science Day’ to commemorate Dr Kalam’s visit to the European country
A bachelor, the former president was a ‘Veena’ player and was deeply interested in Carnatic music. He remained a vegetarian all his life.
‘Wings of Fire’, ‘India 2020 – A Vision for the New Millennium’, ‘My journey’ and ‘Ignited Minds – Unleashing the power within India’ are the famous books which Dr Kalam authored.
These highly acclaimed books have been translated in many Indian languages.