APJ Abdul Kalam was born in 1931 in a middle-class family in Rameshwaram, Tamil Nadu, a town well-known for its Hindu shrines. His mother tongue is Tamil. His father, a devout Muslim, owned boats which he rented out to local fishermen and was a good friend of Hindu religious leaders and the school teachers at Rameshwaram. APJ Abdul Kalam mentions in his biography that to support his studies, he started his career as a newspaper vendor. This was also told in the book, A Boy and His Dream: Three Stories from the Childhood of Abdul Kalam by Vinita Krishna. The house Kalam was born in can still be found on the Mosque street at Rameswaram, and his brother's curio shop abuts it. This has become a point-of-call for tourists who seek out the place. Kalam grew up in an intimate relationship with nature, and he says in Wings of Fire that he never could imagine that water could be so powerful a destroying force as that he witnessed when he was six. That was in 1934 when a cyclonic storm swept away the Pamban bridge and a trainload of passengers with it and also Kalam's native village, Dhanushkodi. Honours
He has received honorary doctorates from as many as thirty universities . The Government of India has honoured him with the nation's highest civilian honours: the Padma Bhushan in 1981; Padma Vibhushan in 1990; and the Bharat Ratna in 1997. Kalam is the Fourth President of India to have been honoured with a Bharat Ratna before being elected to the highest office, the other three being Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan ,V. V. Giri and Zakir Hussain. He is also the first scientist and first bachelor to occupy Rashtrapati Bhavan. Referred to as the "People's President", Kalam is often considered amongst India's greatest presidents, going on to win a poll conducted by news channel CNN-IBN for India's Best President. Political views
Kalam's probable views on certain issues have been espoused by him in his book India 2020 where he strongly advocates an action plan to...
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