Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam graduated in aeronautical engineering from the Madras Institute of Technology in 1958 and joined the Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO). In 1962, Kalam joined the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO). In 1982, he rejoined DRDO as the Chief Executive of Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP).
Dr. Kalam is credited with the development and operationalization of India’s Agni and Prithvi missiles. He worked as the Scientific Adviser to the Defence Minister and Secretary, Department of Defence Research & Development from 1992 to 1999. During this period, the Pokhran-II nuclear tests were conducted. Dr. Kalam held the office of the Principal Scientific Advisor to the Government of India from November 1999 to November 2001.
Dr. Kalam took up teaching at Anna University, Chennai from November 2001. He is a prolific author. His books, “Wings of Fire”, “India 2020 – A Vision for the New Millennium”, “My journey” and “Ignited Minds – Unleashing the power within India” have become bestsellers. He is a favourite with children all over the country and has met children all over the country and has encouraged them with his learned talks.
Dr. Abdul Kalam was conferred with the Degree of Doctor of Laws, Honoris Causa by the Simon Fraser University, Canada. He also wrote a book named “Turning Points: A journey through challenges” which was published by Harper Collins India. The book tells us about his story with details from his career and presidency that are not generally known. He speaks on certain points of controversy offering insight into an extraordinary personality and shows a vision of how a country with a great heritage can turn out to be great with perseverance, confidence and effort.
Dr. Kalam has received a host of awards both in India and abroad. He was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 1981, Padma Vibhushan 1990 and the Bharat Ratna in 1997. He is of the view that we should work wholeheartedly to make India a developed nation by 2020. Besides being a bachelor, Kalam is a strict disciplinarian, a complete vegetarian and teetotaler. Among the many firsts
to his credit, he became India’s first President to undertake an undersea journey when he boarded the INS Sindhurakshak, a submarine, from Visakhapatnam. He also became the first president to undertake a sortie in a fighter aircraft, a Sukhoi-30 MKI.