Abdul Kalam was an Indian scientist who 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 spent the next four decades as a scientist and science administrator, mainly at the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). He was intimately involved in India’s civilian space program and military missile development efforts.
He thus came to be known as the Missile Man of India for his work on the development of ballistic missiles and launch vehicle technology. He also played a pivotal organizational, technical, and political role in India’s Pokhran-II nuclear tests in 1998, the first since the original nuclear test by India in 1974.
Kalam was elected as the 11th President of India in 2002 with the support of both the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and the then-opposition Indian National Congress.
Widely referred to as the “People’s President,” he returned to his civilian life of teaching and writing after a single five-year term. He was a recipient of several prestigious awards, including the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian honor.
Kalam was born on 15 October 1931 in a Tamil Muslim family in the pilgrimage town of Rameswaram on Pamban Island, then in the Madras Presidency, and now in the State of Tamil Nadu.
His father Jainulabdeen was a boat owner and imam of a local mosque; his mother Ashiamma was a housewife. As a boy, Kalam was deeply inspired by the work of scientists like Isaac Newton and Thomas Edison, and he dreamed of becoming a scientist himself.
During his lifetime, Kalam made it his mission to spread the message of the importance of education, especially science and technology, to young people. In one of his famous quotes, he said:
“If we are not able to harness the youth power, it will be difficult for us to win the battle against poverty, disease, and corruption.”
Kalam was always a strong advocate for the empowering role that education and knowledge can play in an individual’s life. In another famous quote, he said:
“Knowledge is power. Information is liberating. Education is the premise of progress, in every society, in every family.”
What did Abdul Kalam say about acquiring knowledge?
Abdul Kalam once said, “Acquiring knowledge is the first step to wisdom, and to be wise is to know how to use knowledge.” He believes that knowledge is the key to success and that one must never stop learning in order to be successful. He also believes that wisdom is knowing how to use knowledge and that it is more important than knowledge itself.
What did Abdul Kalam say about the power of knowledge?
“The goal of education is to prepare students for life and work in a global economy. But education must also instill values that sustain a democratic society.”
“We must give our young people a sense of purpose and instill in them a desire to serve. We must prepare them to be good citizens and good leaders.”
“Our challenge is to provide an education that cultivates critical thinking and creativity, and that prepares our students to be ethical and responsible citizens.”
“We must also prepare our students to be good stewards of the natural environment, and to be responsible global citizens.”
“Education is not a preparation for life; it is life itself.”