By Arun Tiwari, Sangam Books, January 1999
APJ Abdul Kalam, a distinguished professor and technocrat at the Indian Space Research Organization, oversaw the design and development of India’s first indigenous Satellite Launch Vehicles in the 80s. As a very successful CEO of India’s Guided Missile Development Program, he earned the nickname “Missile Man of India”. His leadership in Space research was instrumental in elevating India to the exclusive “Space Club” of the world. As Scientific Advisor to the Defense Minister and Secretary, Department of Defense, Dr. Kalam’s efforts also led to the Indian nuclear tests in Pokhran that elevated India to a Nuclear Weapons State. A scientist par excellence and a passionate visionary, Dr. Kalam Chaired the Technology Information Forecasting and Assessment Council (TIFAC) that developed the “Technology Vision 2020”, a policy road map for transforming India to a developed nation by 2020. Author of 4 books (Wings of Fire, India 2020, My Journey and Ignited Minds) and the recipient of 30 honorary doctorates from Universities around the world, Dr. Kalam was awarded the highest civilian award in India, the Bharat Ratna.
Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam was elected the 11th President of India in 2002.
The formative years
This is a great story of how a simple boy, from a very humble background in a remote corner of India, became a top engineer, a rocket scientist, a great leader and eventually the President of a billion plus people. Right from his childhood, his story is one of sacrifice and struggle. Sacrifice not only by him, but also his family to help him succeed and go beyond his small fishing village. His autobiography is littered with anecdotes of the roles various mentors played in his life. With their constant motivation and guidance, leaders like Dr.Vikram Sarabhai and Dr.Brahm Prakash (both stalwarts in the Indian Defense/Space Research arena at the time)...