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A.P.J Abdul Kalam- Dod 27th July 2015

Don’t take rest after your first victory because if you fail in second, more
lips are waiting to say that your first victory was just luck. ” (Kalam)
Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam popularly known as A P J Abdul Kalam, was bom on 15 October 1931 to a Tamil Muslim family in Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu. In his school years, Kalam had average grades but was described as a bright and hardworking student who had a strong desire to learn. By his early childhood, Kalam’s family had become poor which forced him to sell newspapers to supplement his family’s income. He moved to Madras in 1955 to study aerospace engineering in Madras Institute of Technology After graduating, Kalam joined the Aeronautical Development Establishment of the Defence Research and Development Organisation as a scientist after becoming a member of the Defence Research & Development Service (DRDS) Due to his successful efforts he came to be known as the Missile Man of India for his work on the development of ballistic missile and launch vehicle technology. Abdul Kalam, the only Indian Muslim scientist who played a leading role in the development of India’s missile and nuclear weapons programs, never boasted about it. Religion and spirituality were very important to Kalam throughout his life. In fact, he made his own spiritual journey the subject of his final book, Transcendence: My Spiritual Experiences with Pramukh Swamiji.

In 2002 India’s ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) nominated Kalam to succeed outgoing President Kocheril Raman Narayanan. Kalam stature and popularity amongst the masses was such that he was nominated by a Hindu nationalist party (BJP) and even the main opposition party, the Indian National Congress, also supported his candidacy. Kalam easily won the election and was sworn in as India’s 11th president, in July 2002. Even after becoming president, he remained committed to using science and technology to transform India into a developed country.
As a proud and practising Muslim, daily Namaz and fasting during Ramadan were integral to Kalam’s life. His father, the imam of a mosque in his hometown of Rameswaram, had strictly instilled these Islamic customs in his children. His father had also impressed upon the young Kalam the value of interfaith respect and dialogue As Kalam recalled: tvery evening, my father A.P. Jainulabdeen, an imam, Pakshi a shmana Sastry, the head priest of the Ramanathaswamy Hindu emple, and a church priest used to sit with hot tea and discuss the issues concerning the island. Such early exposure convinced Kalam that e answers to India’s multitudinous issues lay in “dialogue and cooperation’ among the country’s religious, social, and political leaders Moreover, since Kalam believed that “respect for other faiths” was one of the key cornerstones of Islam, he was fond of saying: “For great men, religion is a way of making friends; small people make religion a fighting tool.”

Kalam set a beautiful example of communal harmony and lively relationships with other religions. He always put nations first and remained active until the last day of his life. He was scheduled to deliver a lecture at the Indian Institute of Management Shillong on 27 July 2015. Only five minutes into his lecture, he collapsed and was rushed to the Bethany Hospital where he was confirmed dead of a sudden cardiac arrest. Kalam was one of those Muslims of our country who sowed the seeds for a progressive, developed and new India. His words reflect his efforts – “Failure will never overtake me if my determination to succeed is strong enough This is the message that every Indian should inherit irrespective of religion.

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