Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam Azad
July 25, 2002 to July 25, 2007
Born on 15th October, 1931 at Rameshwaram in Tamilnadu, Bharat Ratna Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam assumes the office of the President of the Republic of India on July 25, 2002.
From a humble beginning, Dr. Kalam had an unparalleled career as an Aerospace and Defence Scientist, leading the nation with a vision of "Developed India." Dr. Kalam as an eminent Aeronautical Engineer, contributed for the development of India’s first Satellite launch vehicle SLV III, became the architect of Indian Guided Missile development programme, led to the successful Nuclear experiments and envisioned a road map for realising "Developed India" within 20 years.
A graduate from the St. Joseph’s College, Tiruchirapalli, Abdul Kalam later studied aeronautical engineering in the Madras Institute of Technology which was regarded as the crown jewel of technical education in Southern India in the fifties. After passing out as a graduate aeronautical engineer, Abdul Kalam joined the Directorate of Technical Development and Production of the Ministry of Defence.
He later joined the Indian Committee for Space Research (INCOSPAR) as a Rocket Engineer, which during the later half of 1962 had decided to set up the Equatorial Rocket Launching Station at Thumba. He became a member of team led by Prof. Vikram Sarabai which aimed at organising an integrated national space programme for the manufacture of rockets and launch vehicles indigenously.
Dr. Abdul Kalam was chosen to lead a team for the design & development of Satellite Launch Vehicle, SLV III which was successfully launched on 18th July, 1980, injecting Rohini satellite into low earth orbit. He later became Director of ISRO Launch Vehicles/Systems and contributed for the evolution of launch vehicle configurations.
Dr. Abdul Kalam was appointed Director of the Defence Research and Development Laboratory, Hyderabad in 1982. As Director, DRDL, he was the Chief of integrated Guided Missile Development Programme and led to successful completion of Prithvi and Agni missiles. He was appointed as the Scientific Advisor to the Defence Minister, Secretary to Department of Defence Research and Development and Director General of Defence Research and Development Organisation in 1992. Many new technology projects towards building self-reliance in defence and also spin-off to society emerged during this period. Later he became the Principal Scientific Advisior to the Government of India in the rank of Cabinet Minister and served in this capacity from November 1999 till November 2001. He was primarily responsible for evolving policies, strategies and missions for generation of innovations in technology development for multiple applications through Government departments, academic institutions and industries as partners. Dr. Kalam was also the Chairman, Ex-officio of the Scientific Advisory Committee to the Cabinet (SAC-C). Dr. Kalam believes that Technology can be used as a tool for national development. In December 2001 he moved over to Anna University as Professor of Technology & Societal Transformation.
Dr. APJ abdul Kalam has been awarded Padma Bhushan in 1981, Padma Vibhushan in 1990 and Bharat Ratna in 1997.
Dr. Kalam was conferred with the degree of Doctor of Science (D.Sc. Honoris-causa) by twenty eight universities. He is the recipient of several awards including the National Design Award. Dr. Biren Roy Space Award; Prof. Y Nayudamma Memorial Gold Medal (1996) : GM Modi Award for Science (1996) : R K Firodia Award for Excellence in S&T (1996) : Veer Savarkar Award (1998) : and Indira Gandhi Award for National integration (1997).
He is a Fellow of many professional societies including Aeronautical Society of India : Astronautical Society ; Indian National Academy of Engineering ; Indian Academy of Sciences and Institution of Electronics and Telecommunication Engineers.
Dr. Kalamn is a connoisseur of classical Carnatic music. He plays veena in his leisure. He writes poetry in Tamil, his mother tongue. Seventeen of his poems were translated into English and published in 1994 as a book entitled "My Journey". He is also the Author of three books in English – "India 2020 : A vision for the New Millennium", "Wings of Fire : an Autobiography" and "Ignited Minds – unleashing the power within India."