‘The Missile Man’ – Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam


Going through the innumerable number of images on your timelines and the continuous feed on news channels, by now you would have realised the shock that the whole nation is in at the untimely demise of a President like no other that India has seen before – Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam.

There are no words that can justify any obituary. Every eulogy will just fall flat on it’s face and so we decided not to do one. Instead, here are the achievements of the Missile man, the People’s President that throw light on what this greatest of men did for our Nation.

(With Inputs from Wikipedia)


  •  Dr. Abdul Kalam graduated from Madras Institute of Technology in 1960 to join the Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO). He designed helicopters for the Indian Army but was unsatisfied with this career choice.
  • In 1969, Dr. Kalam was transferred to the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) where he was the project director of India’s first Satellite Launch Vehicle (SLV-III) which successfully deployed the Rohini satellite in near-earth orbit in July 1980.
  • In the 1980s he led India’s missile programme. Under his leadership, India became a major military power after the successes of Agni and Prithvi. This is also how he came to be known as ‘The Missile Man’.
  • He was the Chief Scientific Adviser to the Prime Minister and the Secretary of Defence Research and Development Organisation from July 1992 to December 1999.
  • In 1998, along with cardiologist Dr.Soma Raju, Kalam developed a low cost Coronary stent. It was named as “Kalam-Raju Stent” honouring them. In 2012, the duo designed a rugged tablet PC for health care in rural areas, which was named as “Kalam-Raju Tablet”.
  • The Pokhran-II tests cemented India’s nuclear prowess and Dr Kalam played the pivotal role in the project. He firmly told the international community that such arms were only to deter other nations from trying to subjugate India, and were only to be used as “weapons of peace”.
  • All the political parties of India unanimously voted for Dr Kalam in 2002 as the 11th President of India.
  • “Wings of Fire” and “India 2020” are modern classics written by Dr APJ Kalam and have motivated millions of Indians.


Here is a list of the Degrees he earned and those conferred upon him by Prestigious Institutions all over the world.

Year            Name of award or honour                                                Awarding organisation

2014           Doctor of Science Edinburgh                                            University,UK

2012           Doctor of Laws (Honoris Causa)                                      Simon Fraser University

2011           IEEE Honorary Membership                                             IEEE

2010           Doctor of Engineering                                                       University of Waterloo

2009           Honorary Doctorate                                                           Oakland University

2009           Hoover Medal                                                                    ASME Foundation, USA

2009           International von Kármán Wings Award                            California Institute of Technology, USA

2008           Doctor of Engineering (Honoris Causa)                             Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

2007           King Charles II Medal                                                        Royal Society, UK

2007           Honorary Doctorate of Science                                         University of Wolverhampton, UK

2000           Ramanujan Award                                                             Alwars Research Centre, Chennai

1998           Veer Savarkar Award                                                        Government of India

1997           Indira Gandhi Award for National Integration                    Indian National Congress

1997           Bharat Ratna                                                                     Government of India

1994           Distinguished Fellow                                                          Institute of Directors (India)

1990           Padma Vibhushan                                                              Government of India

1981           Padma Bhushan                                                                 Government of India

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