Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, fondly remembered as the "People's President", was born on October 15, 1931. His 89th birth anniversary would be observed on Thursday. On this day, scores of Indians who hold reverence for the late "Missile Man of India" would pay homage. The message of Kalam, his motivational quotes and the story of his ascent from Rameswaram to Rashtrapati Bhavan is cherished and recalled. World Students' Day 2020 Date, Theme, History & Significance: Know More About Vishwa Vidyarthi Divas Celebrated on Dr APJ Abdul Kalam's Birth Anniversary.
The unprecedented number of followers of Kalam, across the world, includes a large section of the student populace. His autobiography, Wings of Fire, has inspired at least two generations of Indians. For those intrigued by trivia on Kalam's life, below are seven lesser known facts related to him.
- Few are aware that Kalam was a bachelor throughout his life. His dietary pattern will also surprise many as he was strictly a vegetarian.
- While Kalam's educational qualification as an aerospace engineer is known by most, few are also aware that he had received honorary doctorates from 48 universities and institutions based in India and abroad.
- The tag of "missile man" was bestowed upon Kalam for his key role in development of Agni and Prithvi missiles -- which gave a major edge to the defence arsenal of India.
- Kalam is a recipient of three topmost civilian honours of India. He was conferred upon with the Padma Bhushan in 1981, Padma Vibhushan in 1990 and the Bharat Ratna in 1997.
- Kalam's autobiography Wings of Fire, first published in 1999 in English, was later translated in 13 other languages due to a surge in demand. The languages in which the story of his life was translated includes Mandarin and French.
- Kalam, coming from a humble background, struggled in the early years of life to support his education and contribute to the family's earnings. As a school student, he used to drop newspapers at doors to supplement the income at home.
- Before being elected as the President, Kalam also served as Chief Scientific Adviser to the Prime Minister and Secretary of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). His tenure stretched from 1992 to 1999.
To this date, Kalam remains one of the most remembered statesmen of India. Such was his diligence and unvalued contribution to the nation, that groups cutting across the political spectrum hail him as a proud son of the motherland.