Born:October 15, 1931 (1931-10-15) (age 77),Rameshwaram, Tamil Nadu, India
Kalam's father was a devout Muslim, who 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 in Rameshwaram, 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 thirty three. That was in 1964 when a cyclonic storm swept away the Pamban bridge and a trainload of passengers with it and also Kalam's native village, Dhanushkodi. Kalam is a scholar of Thirukkural; in most of his speeches, he quotes at least one kural. Kalam has written several inspirational books, most notably his autobiography Wings of Fire, aimed at motivating Indian youth. Another of his books, Guiding Souls: Dialogues on the Purpose of Life reveals his spiritual side. He has written poems in Tamil as well. It has been reported that there is considerable demand in South Korea for translated versions of books authored by him. Kalam has also patronised grassroots innovations. He is closely associated with the Honey Bee Network and The National innovation Foundation. The NIF is a body of Government of India and operates from Ahmadabad, Gujarat.
Kalam as an engineer
Abdul Kalam graduated from Madras Institute of Technology majoring 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 criticized for being overrun and mismanaged.. He was the Chief Scientific Adviser to Defence Minister and Secretary, Department of Defence Research & Development from July 1992 to December 1999. Pokhran-II nuclear tests were conducted during this period, led by him.
Kalam has received honorary doctorates from as many as thirty universities, including the Carnegie Mellon University and the Nanyang Technological University of Singapore. 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.
Books and documentaries Kalam's writings
* Wings of Fire: An Autobiography of APJ Abdul Kalam by A.P.J Abdul Kalam,
* Scientist to President by Abdul A.P.J. Kalam;
* Ignited Minds: Unleashing the Power Within India by A.P.J. Abdul Kalam;
* India 2020: A Vision for the New Millennium by A.P.J. Abdul Kalam.
* India-my-dream by A.P.J. Abdul Kalam;
* Envisioning an Empowered Nation: Technology for Societal Transformation by A.P.J. Abdul Kalam; .
* Guiding Souls: Dialogues on the Purpose of Life by A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, .
* Children Ask Kalam by A.P.J Abdul Kalam;
* Eternal Quest: Life and Times of Dr. Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam
* President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam by R. K. Pruthi;
* A. P. J. Abdul Kalam: The Visionary of India.
* A little Dream' (documentary film)
* The Kalam Effect: My Years with the President .