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Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam B’day: How Dr. Kalam became a scientist after his life’s dream was broken

Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam B'day

The life of every great scientist is full of lessons. The life of Dr. APAJ Abdul Kalam is also not an exception to this. Like common people, he also lost a lot in his life, but with his hard work and dedication, he achieved much more than his expectations. But he remained stuck to his principles and his preferred lifestyle throughout his life. His birth anniversary on 15th October reminds us of his inspirational life which gives direction to the country’s youth. His life is the biggest example that breaking life’s biggest dream does not mean the end of everything.

Life goals and changes

Many people in the world walk with a big goal in their life. Dr. Kalam also wanted to become a fighter pilot since childhood. For this, despite all the adversities in his early life, he worked very hard in his studies and kept moving towards his goal. But like many people, his ambitions could not be fulfilled, after which his life changed.

Adverse circumstances since childhood

Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam was born on 15 October 1931 in a Muslim family in Dhanushkodi village of Rameshwaram, Tamil Nadu. His father used to rent boats to fishermen and sometimes he used to conduct pilgrimages of Hindus by boat. In his childhood, due to the poverty of Kalam’s family, Kalam had to work as a newspaper seller.

Positive attitude towards studies

There was neither a study environment at home nor any expectation of any kind of financial facility. But Kalam always remained very positive about his studies. Despite getting average marks in studies, he had a keen interest in mathematics and physics. He completed his schooling in Ramanathapuram.

Dream of becoming a fighter pilot

When Kalam was in the fifth class, his teacher was giving him information about the way birds fly, but when the students did not understand anything, he took the children to the beach and showed them flying birds and explained them well. Seeing these birds, Kalam decided to study aeronautics, and this idea blossomed into an ambition to become a fighter pilot.

When the dream broke

Kalam completed his college studies in 1954 by obtaining a bachelor’s degree in Physics from St. Stephen’s College, Trichirapalli. To become a fighter pilot, he took the examination for recruitment to 8 posts in the Indian Air Force, but unfortunately, he came ninth. Kalam himself told how big a shock this was for him.

Changed direction of life

The good thing was that instead of disintegrating, he moved ahead and studied Aerospace Engineering at Madras Institute of Technology. From there he got membership in the Defense Research and Development Service and worked as a scientist in the Aeronautical Development Establishment of the Indian Space Research Institute. Giving a new direction to his career, he started his life by designing a small hovercraft.

Scientist to Missile Man

After this Dr Kalam did not look back. He became the Project Director of the first Satellite Launch Vehicle in ISRO which successfully placed the Rohini satellite in orbit. Then also contributed to the successful testing of the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle. After this, he also got the responsibility of Project Devil and Project Valiant to develop ballistic missiles. Later, Kalam was made the head of an ambitious and big campaign like the Integrated Guided Missile Development Program (IGMDP), on the success of which he became famous as Missile Man.

Kalam continued, under his supervision India conducted successful nuclear tests of Pokhran-2. At that time he was also the Chief Scientific Advisor to the Prime Minister and Secretary of the Indian Defense Research and Development Organisation. In 2002, he was made the presidential candidate and became the 11th President of the country. On July 27, 2015, he said goodbye to this world. But even after reaching many heights, he always remained a teacher and scientist.

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Motivational Quotes by APJ Abdul Kalam

  1. “Look at the sky. We are not alone. The whole universe is friendly to us and conspires only to give the best to those who dream and work.”  – APJ Abdul Kalam
  2. “If you want to shine like a sun, first burn like a sun.”  – APJ Abdul Kalam
  3. “To succeed in your mission, you must have single-minded devotion to your goal.”  – APJ Abdul Kalam
  4. “If four things are followed – having a great aim, acquiring knowledge, hard work, and perseverance – then anything can be achieved.”  – APJ Abdul Kalam
  5. “Climbing to the top demands strength, whether it is to the top of Mount Everest or to the top of your career.”  – APJ Abdul Kalam
  6. “Don’t take rest after your first victory because if you fail in the second, more lips are waiting to say that your first victory was just luck.”  – APJ Abdul Kalam
  7. “To become ‘unique,’ the challenge is to fight the hardest battle which anyone can imagine until you reach your destination.”  – APJ Abdul Kalam
  8. “Never stop fighting until you arrive at your destined place – the unique you. Have an aim in life, continuously acquire knowledge, work hard, and have the perseverance to realize the great life.”  – APJ Abdul Kalam
  9. “Determination is the power that sees us through all our frustrations and obstacles. It helps us in building our willpower which is the very basis of success.” – APJ Abdul Kalam
  10. “Dream is not that which you see while sleeping it is something that does not let you sleep.” ― A.P.J. Abdul Kalam
  11. “A big shot is a little shot who keeps on shooting, so keep trying.”― A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, Wings of Fire
  12. “The country doesn’t deserve anything less than success from us. Let us aim for success”.” ― A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, Wings of Fire
  13. “Great dreams of great dreamers are always transcended.” ― Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam
  14. “Be more dedicated to making solid achievements than in running after swift but synthetic happiness,” ― A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, Wings of Fire
  15. “To succeed in life and achieve results, you must understand and master three mighty forces— desire, belief, and expectation.” Iyadurai” ― A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, Wings of Fire
  16. “I reminded myself that the best way to win was to not need to win. The best performances are accomplished when you are relaxed and free of doubt. I” ― A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, Wings of Fire
  17. “it does not matter how large or small your sphere of activity is, what counts finally is the commitment that you bring to the job that has been ordained for you in this life.” ― A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, My Journey: Transforming Dreams into Actions
  18. “You see, God helps only people who work hard. That principle is very clear.” – APJ Abdul Kalam
  19. “You have to dream before your dreams can come true.”  – APJ Abdul Kalam
  20. “Excellence is a continuous process and not an accident.”  – APJ Abdul Kalam
  21. “All of us do not have equal talent. But, all of us have an equal opportunity to develop our talents.”  – APJ Abdul Kalam
  22. “Small aim is a crime; have great aim.”  – APJ Abdul Kalam
  23. “The bird is powered by its own life and by its motivation.” – APJ Abdul Kalam
  24. “Those who cannot work with their hearts achieve but a hollow, half-hearted success that breeds bitterness all around.” – APJ Abdul Kalam
  25. “Suffering is the essence of success.” – APJ Abdul Kalam
  26. “Let me define a leader. He must have vision and passion and not be afraid of any problem. Instead, he should know how to defeat it. Most importantly, he must work with integrity.”  – APJ Abdul Kalam
  27. “What you are destined to become is not revealed now but it is predetermined.” ― A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, Wings of Fire
  28. “Total commitment is a crucial quality for those who want to reach the very top of their profession.” ― A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, Wings of Fire
  29. “With faith, you can change your destiny,” ― A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, Wings of Fire: An Autobiography
  30. “Creativity Learning gives creativity, Creativity leads to thinking, Thinking provides knowledge, Knowledge makes you great.” ― A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, Learning How to Fly: Life Lessons for the Youth
  31. “When we tackle obstacles, we find hidden reserves of courage and resilience we did not know we had. And it is only when we are faced with failure do we realize that these resources were always there within us. We only need to find them and move on with our lives.” – APJ Abdul Kalam
  32. “Man needs his difficulties because they are necessary to enjoy success.”  – APJ Abdul Kalam
  33. “For me, there is no such thing as a negative experience.” – APJ Abdul Kalam
  34. “We should not give up and we should not allow the problem to defeat us.”  – APJ Abdul Kalam
  35. “I firmly believe that unless one has tasted the bitter pill of failure, one cannot aspire enough for success.”  – APJ Abdul Kalam
  36. “Failure will never overtake me if my determination to succeed is strong enough.”  – APJ Abdul Kalam
  37. “- If you fail, never give up because F.A.I.L. means “first Attempt In Learning”
  38. – End is not the end, in fact, E.N.D. means “Effort Never Dies”
  39. – If you get No as an answer, remember N.O. means “Next Opportunity”.
  40. So Let’s be positive. ”  – APJ Abdul Kalam
  41. “Adversity always presents opportunities for introspection.”― A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, Wings of Fire
  42. “You cannot change your FUTURE, you can change your HABITS. And surely your HABITS will change your FUTURE” ― Dr. Abdul Kalam
  43. “Confidence and Hard-work is the only medicine to kill a disease called failure!” ― Abdul Kalam
  44. “There are more reviews than views available.” ― A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, Ignited Minds: Unleashing the Power Within India
  45. “You should always remember that we don’t just build on successes, we also build on failures.” ― A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, My Journey: Transforming Dreams into Actions
  46. “God, our Creator, has stored within our minds and personalities, great potential strength and ability. Prayer helps us tap and develop these powers.”  – APJ Abdul Kalam
  47. “Let us sacrifice our today so that our children can have a better tomorrow.”  – APJ Abdul Kalam
  48. “Life is a difficult game. You can win it only by retaining your birthright to be a person.”  – APJ Abdul Kalam
  49. “All birds find shelter during a rain. But eagle avoids rain by flying above the clouds.”  – APJ Abdul Kalam
  50. “It is very easy to defeat someone, but it is very hard to win someone.”  – APJ Abdul Kalam
  51. “For great men, religion is a way of making friends; small people make religion a fighting tool.”  – APJ Abdul Kalam
  52. “The youth need to be enabled to become job generators from job seekers.” – APJ Abdul Kalam
  53. “Do we not realize that self-respect comes with self-reliance?” – APJ Abdul Kalam
  54. “Where do the evils like corruption arise from? It comes from the never-ending greed. The fight for corruption-free ethical society will have to be fought against this greed and replace it with ‘what can I give’ spirit.” – APJ Abdul Kalam
  55. “All wars signify the failure of conflict resolution mechanisms, and they need post-war rebuilding of faith, trust, and confidence.” – APJ Abdul Kalam
  56. “No sanction can stand against ignited minds.” – APJ Abdul Kalam
  57. “Where there is righteousness in the heart, there is harmony in the house; when there is harmony in the house, there is order in the nation; when there is order in the nation, there is peace in the world.” – APJ Abdul Kalam
  58. “It Is Very Easy To Defeat Someone, But It Is Very Hard To Win Someone” – APJ Abdul Kalam
  59. “Thinking should become your capital asset, no matter whatever ups and downs you come across in your life.” ― Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam
  60. “I had only one formula for my team to follow—goal-setting, positive thinking, visualizing and believing.” ― A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, My Life: An Illustrated Biography: An Illustrated Autobiography
  61. “Knowledge = Creativity + Righteousness + Courage” ― A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, Learning How to Fly: Life Lessons for the Youth
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APJ Abdul Kalam – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Who was APJ Abdul Kalam?
APJ Abdul Kalam was a renowned Indian scientist, educator, and statesman. He served as the 11th President of India and is often referred to as the “Missile Man of India” for his significant contributions to space and defense technology.
What were his major contributions?
Dr. Kalam played a pivotal role in India’s space and nuclear programs. He was involved in the development of India’s first satellite launch vehicle, SLV, and led the successful Pokhran-II nuclear tests. He also made substantial contributions to education.
How did he inspire the youth?
APJ Abdul Kalam had a unique ability to connect with young minds. He regularly interacted with students, delivering motivational speeches and encouraging them to pursue their dreams with determination and integrity.
What is the Kalam Effect?
The “Kalam Effect” refers to his extraordinary ability to inspire and motivate young individuals. His words and actions left a lasting impact on the students he interacted with, encouraging them to strive for excellence.
What awards did Dr. Kalam receive?
Dr. Kalam was honored with the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian award. He also received numerous honorary doctorates from universities worldwide for his contributions to science, education, and national development.
How can we continue his legacy?
We can honor APJ Abdul Kalam’s legacy by embracing his values of dedication, education, and service. By nurturing the spirit of innovation and encouraging young minds, we can carry forward his vision for a brighter India.


APJ Abdul Kalam’s life and achievements continue to inspire people across the globe. His dedication to science, education, and national development has left an indelible mark on India’s history. As we celebrate his legacy, let us remember his words, “Dream, dream, dream. Dreams transform into thoughts, and thoughts result in action.”
This article has explored the incredible journey of APJ Abdul Kalam, showcasing his expertise, dedication, and the lasting impact he has had on India and the world. As we continue to draw inspiration from his life, may we all strive to reach for the stars and make our dreams a reality.
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