Former president (late) APJ Abdul Kalam’s birth anniversary is being marked on Monday. Kalam, who was also known as the Missile Man of India, had served as the 11th President of India. He was born on 15 October 1931 in Rameswaram and breathed his last on 27 July 2015. While being a world-renowned scientist, Kalam had also interests in literature, writing poems, playing musical instruments and even spirituality. He had written some very well-known books like ‘India 2020: A Vision for the New Millennium’, ‘Wings of Fire: An Autobiography’, and ‘Ignited Minds: Unleashing the Power within India’.
Here are some lesser-known things about the people’s president to whose heart children were very dear:
- Kalam was not born with the proverbial silver spoon in his mouth. Coming from a family of average resources, he grew up watching father renting his boat to fishermen to run his house. In fact, Kalam used to deliver newspapers every morning to earn money.
- Kalam was a very simple man. When he died, he left behind nothing but 2,500 books, one watch, six shirts, four pants, three suits and one pair of shoes.
- After retiring, Kalam lived on his pension money and royalty from the sales of his books.
- When his term ended as president, Kalam did not take any gifts home and deposited them into the government treasury.
- According to one his former media advisors, there was a time when Kalam used to live in a government quarter where he did not have television and used to access news on radio / newspaper.
- Kalam had once visited IIT-Mumbai. The students were so much interested in meeting the scientist that a huge queue formed outside the auditorium. In fact, some of the students had queued up at night itself to see the Missile Man. After the event, Kalam did not disappoint any student and met them all.
- Kalam had once revealed that he wanted to become a fighter pilot but could not clear the exam. Later in 2006, as president, Kalam had flown in a Sukhoi jet.