A.P.J Abdul Kalam: Political Views
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Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam (Tamil: அவுல் பகீர் ஜைனுலாப்தீன் அப்துல் கலாம்; born 15 October 1931 in Rameshwaram, Madras Presidency, British India), usually referred to as Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam , was the 11th President of India, serving from 2002 to 2007, he was elected during the tenure of the National Democratic Alliance (India) coalition government, under prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. During his term as President, he was popularly known as the People’s President. Before his term as India’s president, he worked as an aeronautical engineer with DRDO and ISRO. He is popularly known as the Missile Man of India for his work on development of ballistic missile and space rocket technology. In India he is highly respected as a scientist and as an engineer. Kalam played a pivotal organisational, technical and political role in India’s Pokhran-II nuclear test in 1998, the first since the original nuclear test by India in 1974. He is chancellor of Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology (Thiruvanthapuram), a professor at Anna University (Chennai) and adjunct/visiting faculty at many other academic and research institutions across India.
In his book India 2020 APJ Abdul Kalam strongly advocates an action plan to develop India into a knowledge superpower and into a developed nation by the year 2020. He regards his work on India’s nuclear weapons program as a way to assert India’s place as a future superpower. It has been reported that there is considerable demand in South Korea for translated versions of books authored by him . Kalam continues to take an active interest in other developments in the field of science and technology. He has proposed a research programme for developing bio-implants. He is a supporter of Open source software over proprietary solutions and believes that the use of open source software on a large scale will bring the benefits of information technology to more people . As an aerospace engineer
After graduating in Physics from St. Joseph’s College in Tiruchirapalli, Abdul Kalam graduated with a diploma in the mid-1950s from Madras Institute of Technology specializing in Aeronautical Engineering . As the Project Director, he was heavily involved in the development of India’s first indigenous Satellite Launch Vehicle (SLV-III). As Chief Executive of Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP), he also played a major part in developing many missiles of India including Agni and Prithvi. Although the entire project has been criticised for being overrun and mismanaged. He was the Chief Scientific Adviser to Prime Minister and Secretary, Defence Research and Development Organisation from July 1992 to December 1999. Pokhran-II nuclear tests were conducted during this period, and have been associated with Kalam although he was not directly involved with the nuclear programme at the time. Honours
On April 29, 2009, he became the first Asian to be bestowed the Hoover Medal, America’s top engineering prize, for his outstanding contribution to public service. The citation said that he is being recognised for making state-of-the-art healthcare available to the common man at affordable prices, bringing quality medical care to rural areas by establishing a link between doctors and technocrats, using spin-offs of defence technology to create state-of-the-art medical equipment and launching tele-medicine projects connecting remote rural-based hospitals to the super-specialty hospital. A pre-eminent scientist, a gifted engineer, and a true visionary, he is also a humble humanitarian in every sense of the word, it added. On 13 September 2009, he was a recipient of the International von Kármán Wings Award.
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 for his work with ISRO and DRDO and his role as a scientific advisor to the Indian government. Kalam is the third President of India to have been honoured with a Bharat Ratna before being elected to the highest office, the other two being Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan and Zakir Hussain. He is also the first scientist and first bachelor to occupy Rashtrapati Bhavan. After his tenure as the president he is now a visiting guest professor at JSS University, Mysore. He has agreed to deliver a minimum of four lectures every year.