My Tribute to the proud son of India - Dr. APJ Abdul Kalaam

By: Iftikhar Islam

It was sad to hear the news of the demise of one of the best presidents of India, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalaam, a man who believed in struggle with simplicity. He worked hard and smart in his life. By his early childhood, his family had become poor. At an early age, he sold newspapers to supplement his family's income. He has seen poverty very closely.

He worked hard to accomplish his dream of becoming a ‘fighter pilot’ but missed narrowly as his place was ninth in qualifiers and only eight positions were available in the IAF. When he was working on a senior class project, the Dean was dissatisfied with his lack of progress and threatened to revoke his scholarship unless the project was finished within next three days. Abdul Kalam completed the task within the given time, satisfied his dean and later received appreciation from him. 

He started his career by designing a small helicopter for the Indian Army, but remained unconvinced by his choice of a job at DRDO. In 1969, Abdul Kalam was transferred to the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) where he was the project director of India's first Satellite Launch Vehicle (SLV-III). His research and educational leadership brought him great laurels and prestige in the 1980s, which prompted the government to initiate an advanced missile programme under his directorship. 

My Tribute to the proud son of India - Dr. APJ Abdul Kalaam  - Iftikhar Islam

In 1998, along with cardiologist Soma Raju, Abdul Kalam developed a low cost coronary stent, named the "Kalam-Raju Stent". In 2012, the duo designed a rugged tablet computer for health care in rural areas, which was named the "Kalam-Raju Tablet". 

“It was Kalam who had formulated the country's Integrated Missile Programme and propelled India towards emerging as a missile power.” G Satheesh Reddy, Scientific Adviser to Defence Minister said. "His dreams are never-ending. The greatest tribute we can pay him is to fulfill his dreams and realise his vision for the country," he added. 

Saraswat, a former DRDO chief, said “the former President brought in such values among youth that today, every youth gets motivated by the sheer mention of the name ‘Dr Kalam’” 

For his work on the development of ballistic missile and launch vehicle technology, he came to be known as the ‘Missile Man of India’. He never owned a television, and was in the habit of rising at 6:30 or 7 a.m and sleeping by 2 a.m. 

I haven’t found anyone speaking ill about Dr Abdul Kalam. His simplicity and dedication for his work helped him to achieve extra ordinary goals in life. Even his critics were silent on his death and spoke only positive and acknowledged his achievements for the development of this country. This shows how his personality has even convinced the critics. 

Abdul Kalam said “For great men, religion is a way of making friends; small people make religion a fighting tool." This is the principle we follow in our organization, GPRF, too. We meet people of other faiths to establish communal harmony in the society. People use religion to divide but we use religion to unite. 

We know he has influenced millions of people, but as a human being he too has committed errors. I pray Allah to forgive his short comings and reward him for all the good he has done and grant him the highest paradise. Aameen.

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