APJ Abdul Kalam
Avul Fakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam(APJ Abdul Kalam) was born at Dhanushkodi, Tamil Nadu on 15 October, 1931. Abdul Kalam was the first graduate in his family – three of his brothers did not even finish school. After completing his graduation from St. Joseph College, Tiruchirapalli, he received Diploma in Aeronautical Engineering from Madras Institute of Technology. He then went to join Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) and became head of Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO). As the head of the DRDO, he pioneered and brought to shape the integrated guided missile programme of India. Nuclear tests in Cochran on 11th and 13th May, 1998 was also one of his achievements. Under his Stewardship, India’s missile development programme took rapid strides, culminating in the successful launches of the Trishul, Prithvi, Agni, Nag and Akash Missiles. Abdul Kalam was conferred the Nation’s highest civilian honour, the Bharat Ratna in 1997. He had been honored with Padma Vibhushan in 1990 and Padma Bhushan in 1981.
Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam was a man of distinction, a member of minority community and, most important, an icon with the assertive class. Mr. Kalam’s selection as the President of India is a classic example of the magic of democracy where a person hailing from a poor community can expect to rise to the most prestigious position through sheer dint of merit.
On 15th July, 2002 ninety per cent of Members of Parliaments and Members of Legislative Assemblies cast their vote to elect the 12th President APJ Abdul Kalam defeated Lakshmi Sehgal, and was declared elected on 18th July, 2002. Kalam was sworn in on 25th July, 2002 by the Chief Justice of India in the Central hall of Parliament.