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Missile Man of India: A.P.J. Abdul Kalam’s Death Anniversary

APJ Abdul Kalam

Personal Details:

Full name Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam
Birth date 15 October, 1931
Birth Place Rameswaram, Madras Presidency, British India
Death 27th July 2015
Parents Jainulabdeen Marakayar and Ashiamma
Political Affiliations National Democratic Alliance (NDA)
Profession Aerospace Scientist, Author
Field Aerospace Engineering
Institutions Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO), Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO)
Alma Master St. Joseph College, Tiruchirappalli (BEng), Madras Institute of Technology (MEng)
Office 11th President of India


Early Life

Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam was born on October 15, 1931, to a Tamil Muslim family in the pilgrimage center of Rmaeswara on Pamban Island. His father Jainulabdeen Marakayar was a boat owner and imam of a local mosque while his mother was a housewife.

Dr. Kalam was the youngest of four brothers and one sister in the family.  As a young boy in the family, Kalam has to sell newspapers in order to support his family which was poverty-stricken and was surviving on a meagre income.


Abdul Kalam was an average student in his school years with a strong desire to learn. He has completed his education at Schwartz Higher Secondary School and then went to attend St. Joseph’s College and graduated in physics in 1954. He then moved to Madras to study aerospace engineering in Madras Institute of Technology.

APJ Abdul Kalam as a Scientist

After graduation, Abdul Kalam joined the Aeronautical Development Establishment of the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) as a scientist after becoming a member of the Defence Research and Development Service. He started his career by designing a small hovercraft, however, remained unconvinced by his job at DRDO.

In 1969, he was transferred to the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) as a project director of India’s first Satellite Launch Vehicle.

APJ Abdul Kalam also invited by Raja Ramanna to witness the country’s first nuclear test, Smiling Buddha, as the representative of the TBRL, even though he has not participated in the development.


Kalam served as the 11th President of India by winning the 2002 presidential election with an electoral vote of 922,884. His term lasted from 25th July 2002 to 25th July 2007.


After leaving office of president, Kalam served the following positions:

  • A visiting professor at the Indian Institute of Management Shillong, the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad and the Indian Institute of Management Indore.
  • He served as an honorary fellow of Indian Institute of Science Banglore.
  • Chancellor of the Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology Thiruvananthapuram.
  • Professor of Aerospace Engineering at Anna University.


On 27th July 2015, Kalam travelled to Shillong to deliver a lecture on “Creating a Liveable Planet Earth” at the Indian Institute of Management Shillong. While climbing a flight of stairs, he expereiced some discomfort and at around 6:35 p.m., only five minutes inot his lecture, he collapsed. He was rushed to the nearby Benathy Hospital in a critical condition and was confirmed dead of a sudden cardiac arrest at 7:45 PM.

Awards won by APJ Abdul Kalam

Honorary Degree

Year Degree Institution
1994 Distinguished Fellow Institute of Directors, India
1995 Honorary Fellow National Academy of Medical Sciences
2007 Honorary Doctorate of Science University of Wolverhampton, UK
2007 King Charles II Medal UK
2008 Honorary Doctorate of Engineering Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
2009 International Von Karman Wings Award California Institute of Technology, USA
2009 Hoover Medal American Society of Mechanical Engineers, USA
2010 Doctor of Engineering University of Waterloo, Canada
2011 IEEE Honorary Membership Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, USA
2012 Honorary Doctors of Law Simon Fraser University, Canada
2014 Honorary Doctors of Science University of Edinburgh, Scotland


Awards of APJ Abdul KalamDr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, popularly known as “Missile Man of India,” was a remarkable scientist, visionary leader and former President of India

Year Award Organization
1981 Padma Bhushan Government of India
1990 Padma Vibhushan Government of India
1997 Bharat Ratna Government of India
1997 Indira Gandhi Award for National Integration Government of India
1998 Veer Savarkar Award Government of India
2000 SASTRA Ramanjun Prize Shanmugha Arts, Science, Technology & Research Academy
2013 Von Braun Award National Space Society


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