Delhi: Former president APJ Abdul Kalam, died on July 27, 2015 after he collapsed during a lecture in Shillong.
Following is the life and times of the former president.
- Kalam served as the 11th President of India from 2002 to 2007.
- He was born and raised in Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu and studied physics and aerospace engineering.
- He specialized in aeronautical engineering from Madras Institute of Technology.
- A major part of his life was spent mainly at the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
- He was involved in the India's civilian space program and military missile development efforts.
- His contribution as project director to develop India's first indigenous satellite launch vehicle (SLV-III) which successfully injected the Rohini satellite in the near earth orbit in July 1980 was significant.
- He was responsible for the evolution of ISRO's launch vehicle programme, specifically the PSLV configuration.
- He was known as the Missile Man of India for his work on the development of ballistic missile and launch vehicle technology.
- He contributed to the development of Agni and Prithvi missiles.
- He played an pivotal role in India's Pokhran-II nuclear tests in 1998, the first since the original nuclear test by India in 1974.
- Dr Kalam has served as the principal scientific advisor to the Indian government of India from November 1999 to November 2001.
- In 2002, Kalam was elected the President of India in 2002 with the support of the both the ruling BJP and the Opposition Congress.
- He took up the post of professor, technology and societal transformation at Anna University, Chennai from November 2001.
- Kalam received several prestigious awards including, Padma Bhushan (1981), Padma Vibhushan (1990) and the highest civilian award Bharat Ratna (1997).
- A bachelor, the former president was a veena player and was deeply interested in Carnatic music. He was vegetarian all his life.
- The books that he wrote are: 'Wings of Fire', 'India 2020 - A Vision for the New Millennium', 'My journey' and 'Ignited Minds - Unleashing the power within India'. They have been translated in many Indian languages.