Abdul Kalam passes away Oct 15, 1931 - July 27, 2015

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Re: Abdul Kalam passes away Oct 15, 1931 - July 27, 2015

Postby Rahul M » 31 Jul 2015 22:48

thanks for the pics arshyam.

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Re: Abdul Kalam passes away Oct 15, 1931 - July 27, 2015

Postby arshyam » 01 Aug 2015 01:27

No problem saar, I was actually looking for reports on The Hindu (Today's Paper), which didn't even mention Kalam in the front page, but had this article at the top: Yakub Memon hanged on birthday, had to dig up news about the funeral in some inside section and no pics. Seriously pissed. And randomly checked a Tamil paper and stumbled upon this collection.

Gus saar, agreed.

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Re: Abdul Kalam passes away Oct 15, 1931 - July 27, 2015

Postby Karan M » 01 Aug 2015 01:30

Many in ELM are scum of the earth, no doubt.

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Re: Abdul Kalam passes away Oct 15, 1931 - July 27, 2015

Postby Gus » 01 Aug 2015 23:05

this is beautiful..


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Re: Abdul Kalam passes away Oct 15, 1931 - July 27, 2015

Postby Kakarat » 02 Aug 2015 09:32

If anyone is interested in planting trees in honor of Dr APJ Abdul Kalam please visit

https://www.grow-trees.com/grove/dr-apj ... m-memorial

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Re: Abdul Kalam passes away Oct 15, 1931 - July 27, 2015

Postby Yayavar » 02 Aug 2015 11:09

Gus wrote:this is beautiful..



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Re: Abdul Kalam passes away Oct 15, 1931 - July 27, 2015

Postby RonyKJ » 02 Aug 2015 20:46

Kakarat wrote:If anyone is interested in planting trees in honor of Dr APJ Abdul Kalam please visit

https://www.grow-trees.com/grove/dr-apj ... m-memorial

Thank you Kakarat for posting this link. It is a great idea. I have started a corporate account on behalf
of my company Zojila to plant trees as carbon offsets. The first planting of 25 trees is in memory
of Dr Abdul Kalam, whom I had the honor of meeting when I worked for ISRO, long time back.

History will look back on the life of Abdul Kalam and reveal what a visionary he was. He was that rare gem
of a person who not only dreamed but also managed to make those dreams come true. India is truly lucky
that this man's dreams were about making India a developed nation and protecting the planet for our shared future.


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Re: Abdul Kalam passes away Oct 15, 1931 - July 27, 2015

Postby chetak » 03 Aug 2015 07:06

arshyam wrote:No problem saar, I was actually looking for reports on The Hindu (Today's Paper), which didn't even mention Kalam in the front page, but had this article at the top: Yakub Memon hanged on birthday, had to dig up news about the funeral in some inside section and no pics. Seriously pissed. And randomly checked a Tamil paper and stumbled upon this collection.

Gus saar, agreed.

There seems to be a disquiet among the minorities about the adulation that has been showered on Kalam, with many even going so far as to claim that he was not a true muslim.

many muslim organisations have not publicly condoled his passing. This seems a bit strange.

Islamists Pour Scorn on the Death of Dr APJ Abdul Kalam

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Re: Abdul Kalam passes away Oct 15, 1931 - July 27, 2015

Postby tsarkar » 03 Aug 2015 23:37

I was in Israel in 2008 when an Israeli told me that India is truly blessed as a nation and as a people by God, that in every age & era, we've had ordinary people among us who've done extraordinary things & touched the hearts & minds of millions.

I had the opportunity of meeting Dr. Kalam in 2000 at Indian Science Congress in Pune and thereafter in 2011 when he visited my wife's school.

While many have remarked on his numerous qualities, What I will remember most is his sense of higher purpose. A certain part of his mind was always elevated, even though he was very alert to the present.

The nuclear bomb or missiles are mere milestones, his achievement lies in his inspiration to millions.

He made us believe in national salvation through science and individual salvation through education.

The very least we can do as our tribute is to inculcate a spirit of scientific temper and further the spread of education, so that every mind ignited starts a self sustaining fission chain reaction to enable our nation attain the critical mass to greatness.
Last edited by tsarkar on 04 Aug 2015 00:01, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Abdul Kalam passes away Oct 15, 1931 - July 27, 2015

Postby tsarkar » 03 Aug 2015 23:58

When I first learnt about his personal circumstances, I was reminded of the following quote of Swami Vivekananda in New York on India arising
Let her arise - out of the peasants' cottage, grasping the plough; out of the huts of the fisherman, the cobbler, and the sweeper. Let her spring from the grocer's shop, from beside the oven of the fritter-seller. Let her emanate from the factory, from marts, and from markets. Let her emerge from groves and forests, from hills and mountains

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Re: Abdul Kalam passes away Oct 15, 1931 - July 27, 2015

Postby Prem » 04 Aug 2015 06:02

Let's hope and pray he comes back soon to inspire the nation again!

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Re: Abdul Kalam passes away Oct 15, 1931 - July 27, 2015

Postby Multatuli » 05 Aug 2015 14:01

APJ Abdul Kalam didn't even own fridge or air conditioner

APJ Abdul Kalam has left an indelible mark on the hearts and minds of Indians in a manner few other public figures have in recent memory. In death he achieved the kind of acclaim in people's hearts that politicians covet but may never come close to attaining.

In material terms, the "People's President", it now transpires, owned precious little, save his 2,500 books, a wrist watch, six shirts, four trousers, three suits and a pair of shoes. Kalam did not own any property nor a fridge, TV, car or an air conditioner. This for a man who spent over five decades in public service, including his stint as President of the Republic.

He did not die in penury, but neither did he live a life of luxury. He survived on the royalty from his books - he authored four of them - and his pension. The exact amount of his life savings is not known. "It wasn't much to write home about," said Sheridan, his secretary for over two decades.

After he demitted office, the government allotted him a bungalow at 10 Rajaji Marg. The two-storey house lies desolate today but tales of his integrity are still alive. He was firm about not receiving any personal gifts and ensured that all personal gifts were duly tabulated and sent to the government's toshakhana.

"He would never accept a gift, save a book, and whenever somebody brought him a packed gift and tried to pass it off as a book, he insisted on examining what was inside. Anything other than the book was politely returned," says his former media advisor SM Khan.

Kalam's love for technology is well known and he kept himself abreast of the latest developments mainly through radio. "He did not have a television set in his living quarters. He got his news either from radio or newspapers. The only TV set at his Rajaji Marg residence was used by his staff," Khan said.

Khan recalled how the former President revered his elder brother, who is 99 years old. Kalam held his elder brother APJ Marakia in great esteem and was full of plans to celebrate his brother's 100th birthday next year. "One of the things that gave him (Kalam) immense joy was when he helped his brother get access to 24-hour power supply by installing a solar panel at their ancestral home," says Sheridan, adding, "President Kalam would always call him (his brother) before leaving or returning from an important lecture assignment. He had called him the day before leaving for Shillong."

"The lives of great men remind us, we can make our lives sublime, and, departing, leave behind us, footprints on the sands of time." Former president APJ Abdul Kalam wasn't around when Wordsworth wrote these lines. Had both the men belonged to the same age then these lines would have surely been written for Kalam.

http://m.indiatoday.in/story/apj-abdul- ... 56293.html

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Re: Abdul Kalam passes away Oct 15, 1931 - July 27, 2015

Postby Austin » 09 Aug 2015 21:34


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Re: Abdul Kalam passes away Oct 15, 1931 - July 27, 2015

Postby member_23694 » 11 Aug 2015 13:46

When many eminent scientists join together to pay tribute

http://idrw.org/apj-abdul-kalams-statue ... more-71121

[as usual not able to paste pic]

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Re: Abdul Kalam passes away Oct 15, 1931 - July 27, 2015

Postby Austin » 13 Aug 2015 22:56

Technologist to the core

Former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam (1931-2015), missile and rocket technologist, institution-builder and motivator of men, was relentless in his quest to build an India strong and self-reliant in science and technology. By T.S. SUBRAMANIAN

IT was an achievement A.P.J. Abdul Kalam was always proud of—the successful launch of the Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) three-stage Satellite Launch Vehicle (SLV)-3 on July 18, 1980, from Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh. In fact, that event brought him recognition and became the launching pad of his spectacular career as a rocket engineer and missile technologist who put India on the world map as a space-faring nation and a missile power. Kalam received the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian award, in November 1997, played a key role in India’s nuclear tests at Pokhran, Rajasthan, in May 1998, and became the President of India in 2002. He had a natural affinity for aeroplanes, rockets and missiles. “It was a joy to study the structure of an aircraft,” he once told the alumni of the Madras Institute of Technology (MIT), Chromepet, Chennai, from where he graduated after a three-year diploma in aeronautical engineering.

Kalam’s life was a journey from a simple house on the island of Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu to the Rashtrapati Bhavan, the presidential palace, in New Delhi. He was the most popular President, establishing an extraordinary connect with the common people, youth and children. He ceaselessly exhorted them to dream and build a developed India and thus came to symbolise their aspirations.

He said: “Dream is not something that you see in your sleep, it is something that does not let you sleep.” When he asked a child in Hyderabad what her dream was, she replied, “Sir, I want to live in a developed country.” The child’s reply haunted him for several days. He always held that technology was the key to India becoming a developed country (Frontline, December 26, 1997).

When news of his death in Shillong, Meghalaya, on July 27 while addressing the students of the Indian Institute of Management came, there were instant wall posters, hoardings, WhatsApp images and Facebook posts with his exhortations to the youth and his thoughts on life, and this continued until his funeral, which took place in Rameswaram on July 30. Kalam was a restless man who wore on his sleeve his relentless quest to build an India strong and self-reliant in science and technology. He was a nationalist, a patriot and a secularist.

Missile and rocket technologists who worked under Kalam call him a visionary, an institution-builder and a motivator of men.

Kalam attracted a fair share of criticism, too. His critics called him a mere manager of men and suggested that he played favourites. He was considered hawkish in military matters such as India’s development of strategic missiles with nuclear warheads and its nuclear tests in 1998. His biggest faux paus, however, was to advocate a two-party democracy. Barring the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), every other party, including the Left parties, lampooned him for the suggestion. He knew how to manufacture his image—he would often state that he wore a white dhoti (and not a checked lungi as is the custom among Tamil Muslims) on casual occasions, that he loved playing the veena, that he read the Bhagavad Gita and that he was a vegetarian. He was perceived as being close to the BJP, and it was no surprise that the Congress did not back him for a second term as President when it came to power.

SLV-3, which put the 38.5-kilogram Rohini satellite into a low-earth orbit, was an indigenous mission: both the launch vehicle and the satellite were developed in India. The event marked India’s entry into the exclusive space club. Until then only the United States, the former Soviet Union, France, Japan and China had the capability to build their own rockets and use them to put satellites into orbit. As its project director, Kalam was the architect of the mission’s success. It was actually the SLV-3’s second flight. Professor Satish Dhawan, then Chairman of the ISRO, said ground stations had successfully tracked the satellite. Vasant Gowariker, who was the Director of the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) in Thiruvananthapuram, called the mission “a fantastic success”. But Kalam kept a low profile, and merely told reporters that the satellite would remain active in orbit for 50 to 100 days and that it would be a month before a complete analysis of the data from the satellite was available. Kalam had reasons for striking a low profile on that day.

The first flight of the SLV-3 on August 10, 1979, had ended in failure when nitric acid rained from the solenoid valve in the rocket and the launch vehicle plunged into the sea along with its Rohini technology payload. Kalam was the project director of that flight as well. Before that mission’s launch, Kalam faced three personal tragedies—his parents and his brother-in-law had passed away. But he was able to put aside the grief “with the spiritual strength that my family gave me in the joint family system” and focus on corrective action for the relaunch of the vehicle in 1980 with the help of the “precision diagnosis of the failure” by M.R. Kurup, Chairman of the Failure Analysis Board, and G. Madhavan Nair.

There was no looking back for him after that. Kalam became the Director of the Defence Research and Development Laboratory (DRDL), a missile-making facility of the Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) in Hyderabad, in 1982 and became the Scientific Adviser to the Defence Minister and the Director-General of the DRDO in 1992. He was a technocrat-President of India. He laid a strong, indigenous foundation for both the civilian rocket and military missile programmes of India. He took on embargoes and sanctions regimes such as the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) and the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group, specifically aimed at India in the aftermath of the country’s nuclear tests in May 1974 and May 1998. He formed consortiums of space and defence laboratories with academic institutions, public sector undertakings and private industry to develop products that were denied to India. These indigenously developed products included phase shifters, magnesium alloys, ram-rocket motors and servo-valves for missiles. He drove DRDL scientists to develop the critical re-entry technology and the composites required for India’s Agni missiles. DRDL scientists had anticipated the MTCR in 1983 itself. They identified some high-technology products such as carbon-carbon performs, focal plane array, millimetre-wave radar systems and C-band phase shifters, which were essential to India’s missile programme, and began working on them.

Integrated missile technology

When the Government of India asked Kalam to take over as the Director of the DRDL, the laboratory had only one missile programme under way at that time. It was Devil, a surface-to-surface missile. But the Devil programme was floundering and the Centre even thought of closing down the DRDL. The morale in the DRDL was low. The government wanted Kalam to galvanise the DRDL and put the country’s missile programme back on track. He was asked to prepare a blueprint to make India a missile nation. V.S. Arunachalam, then Scientific Adviser to the Defence Minister and DRDO Director-General, and Kalam met Defence Minister R. Venkataraman with a proposal to develop five missiles in a staggered manner and wanted a certain amount of money for the project.

In an article titled “In the service of the country”, published in Frontline dated December 26, 1997, Anand Parthasarathy, a former scientist who worked with Kalam at the DRDL, narrated what happened when Arunachalam and Kalam met Venkataraman: “‘Take it back!’ said Venkataraman who, though unfamiliar with the technical nitty-gritty, had an instinctive larger feel for the strategic issues. The Minister suggested that Kalam and Arunachalam recast the plan in such a way as to develop all five missile types under one programme.” In other words, Venkataraman wanted them to ask for a much bigger sum for developing the five missiles. Since Arunachalam and Kalam had no time to work out the budget, they asked for a bigger sum by “adding zeroes all over the place”.

Kalam was too happy to tell his colleagues, who were feeling dejected over the foreclosure of the Devil project, that they would now have to develop five missiles. Thus was born the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP) at the DRDL in 1983. As Anand Parthasarathy says in his article, “He [Kalam] brought a whiff of informality to a laboratory that was used to an Army atmosphere. He refused to move into the bungalow allotted to the Director, preferring to stay in one of the eight suites in the Defence Labs Mess. The suite, with a small study and a tiny bedroom, was his home for the next decade.”

In fact, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, Venkataraman, Arunachalam and Kalam formed a formidable team that wanted to build a self-reliant India in defence and several areas of science and technology.

The IGMDP first included four projects to develop the surface-to-surface missile Prithvi, the surface-to-air Akash, the surface-to-air Trishul and the anti-tank missile Nag. The Agni missile was not there in the original IGMDP. The short-range Prithvi was developed successfully. Kalam felt that Prithvi could not be converted into a long-range missile and that the DRDL should come up with a re-entry technology. As V.K. Saraswat, a missile technologist, who went on to become Scientific Adviser to Defence Minister and DRDO Director-General, said, “On Kalam’s insistence, a development project on re-entry technology was included in the IGMDP and he called it Agni.” Thus, the 1980s saw the indigenisation of technologies needed for Nag, the inertial navigation system of Prithvi, phased array radars, capability to handle multiple targets, Agni’s re-entry technology, including carbon composites for its nose-cone, the ram-rocket motor of Akash, and so on (Frontline, February 13, 2009).

The missiles were developed and launched on schedule: Trishul in 1985, Prithvi in 1988, Agni in 1989 and the others in 1990. The first flight of Trishul was from Sriharikota in 1985.


What caught the attention of the world was the successful launch of the Agni-technology demonstrator (TD) missile on May 22, 1989. It was an intermediate range ballistic missile with a range of about 1,500 kilometres. It could carry a nuclear warhead. What stood out in the mission was that the re-entry technology of Agni-TD worked perfectly well. The nose-cone withstood a temperature of more than 3,000° Celsius when the missile seared through the atmosphere. Kalam, basking in the Agni success, truculently declared, “Strength respects strength; technology honours technology.” Later, in Hyderabad, when he was asked whether Agni would carry nuclear warheads, he sarcastically replied, “You can send a bouquet of flowers on Agni; it can also carry a packet of samosas.”

Kalam was also an institution-builder. He set up the Interim Test Range at Chandipur-on-sea, Odisha, for flight-testing missiles such as Prithvi, Trishul and Akash. For flight-testing Agni missiles, the Wheeler Island, about 40 km offshore from Chandipur-on-sea, was chosen. When there were doubts about setting up the station on the small island and the logistics of ferrying the missile stages to the island, Kalam insisted it could be done. Thus, a missile launching station was set up on Wheeler Island, with sophisticated instrumentation. The launch stations at Chandipur-on-sea and Wheeler Island were together called the Integrated Test Range.

Kalam then turned his attention to building the Research Centre, Imarat (RCI) in Hyderabad, about 10 km from the DRDL campus. The centre was inaugurated in 1988. Missile technologists call the RCI “a personal achievement of Kalam”. It is today a world-class laboratory in developing the avionics, navigation and guidance systems and seekers for missiles, ships, submarines, battle tanks, helicopters, unmanned aerial vehicles and torpedoes. Kalam ensured that the barren land on which the RCI was built became fully wooded with hundreds of trees. Since the nearby village is called Imarat, he wanted people to remember it and named the centre Research Centre, Imarat.

Asked about the criticism that Kalam was a mere manager of men, Anand Parthasarathy said: “Out and out, Kalam was a technology man. I don’t agree with the view of some people that he was only a manager. He was first and foremost a brilliant engineer. He knew several areas of rocket/missile technology such as design, propulsion, navigation, guidance, solid propellants. He knew enough of every engineering discipline in missile technology that he could exercise absolute control over every project that he headed. People like me learnt project management from him. In the institutes of management, they do not teach you how to get the work done by your colleagues. We learnt project management with a human face from him. He created a new generation of technology leaders.”

Kalam faced criticism for brushing aside proposals for developing an Agni missile with a range of 700 km. It is not known why he did so.

He was the architect of the Indo-Russian collaboration in developing the world’s first supersonic cruise missile BrahMos, which is another success story. A. Sivathanu Pillai, who cut his teeth as a member of Kalam’s SLV-3 project and followed Kalam to the DRDO, was the driving force behind the development of BrahMos.

Kalam’s other “disciples” such as V.K. Saraswat and Avinash Chander, who went on to become Scientific Advisers to Defence Minister and DRDO Directors-General, have made India a missile nation with the Agni variants, Pirthvi-II, Dhanush, Akash, interceptors, K-15 and Nirbhay, all of which are success stories. The missile complex in Hyderabad, comprising the DRDL, the RCI and the Advanced Systems Laboratory (ASL) and a cluster of DRDO laboratories, is something that any country can be proud of.

The synergy that Kalam forged with Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee and Atomic Energy Commission Chairman R. Chidambaram propelled the Vajpayee government at the Centre to conduct five nuclear tests in May 1998. Kalam was DRDO Director-General then and the DRDO provided the logistics for conducting the nuclear tests.

Kalam was reportedly keen, along with Chidambaram, that India “should exercise its option” of conducting nuclear tests. In 1996, Congress Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao abandoned plans to conduct nuclear tests after the United States came to know about them. Kalam’s critics say that he was interested only in rockets, missiles and nuclear weapons and that he was not interested in projects that had society’s welfare at heart. People, who have known him for several decades, reject such criticism. They argue that he had taken up several societal missions such as the Provision of Urban Amenities in Rural Areas (PURA), solar power, bio-toilets, cochlear implants, and the development of cheaper stents and callipers, which were spin-offs from DRDO-developed technologies. He showed a sharp interest in the development of medical technology. In a tribute, Saraswat said, “Kalam was a team leader, motivator of men, a visionary and an institution-builder. Just the other day, he was talking to me about a project to build two million homes, which would derive their electricity from solar power.”

Early life

The former President was born on October 15, 1931, at Rameswaram and had his school education, first at the Panchayat Elementary School on the island and then at Schwartz High School in Ramanathapuram town. He obtained a BSc (Physics) degree from St. Joseph’s College, Tiruchi, in 1954 and completed a three-year diploma course in Aeronautical Engineering from the MIT, Chromepet, Chennai, in 1960. He joined the Bangalore-based Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE) of the DRDO as a scientist the same year. In 1969, he joined the ISRO.

Sivasubramania Iyer, Iyadurai Solomon, Reverend Father Ladislaus Chinnadurai, Isaac Vedamuthu and K.V.R. Pandalai, who were Kalam’s school and college teachers, were his heroes. In an interview to this reporter on the 25th anniversary of the successful launch of the SLV-3 and published in The Hindu on July 28, 2005, he said about his interest in aeronautics:

“It all started when I was a 10-year-old boy. I was studying in the fifth class at the Rameswaram Panchayat Elementary School. We had a teacher. His name was Sivasubramania Iyer. He used to teach geography, science and hygiene. One day, he was teaching us how birds flew. He drew a diagram on the board, depicting wings, the tail and the body structure along with the head. He explained how birds created the lift and flew. He also explained to us how birds changed direction while flying. Many of us did not understand it. I said I did not.

“Our teacher said he would take all of us to the seashore. That evening, the whole class was at the shore at Rameswaram. He showed how the seabirds flew, how the seagulls flew. He indicated to us what the birds did to flap their wings and what their tails did. He explained to us all those things. The way Sivasubramania Iyer explained, I understood it. But the important thing was that from that day he injected into me the dream of something to do with flight. I did not know flight science. But he definitely injected me how to dream, to have a dream, to fly high and secondly, to do something later with the science of flight…the seeding. That is how it started.”

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Re: Abdul Kalam passes away Oct 15, 1931 - July 27, 2015

Postby pattnayak » 14 Aug 2015 05:27

As a kid, whenever someone asked me what I wanted to become when I grow up, I always used to answer "Defence Scientist". I didn't even know what that meant. But I wanted to be one. Probably because papa was in army and my mind always revolved around defence issues.

Dr. Kalam was a true inspiration for me. I am not a very intelligent guy like him or like most of the awesome posters here, but I promise that I will do everything in my power to achieve my Guru's dream for our Motherland. I know we, the modern youth (especially us dilli-billis) have dropped the ball on multiple occasions. But I promise everyone here, that there are still some 25 years old kids out there who are just itching to be part of our Motherland's journey of emancipation from all vices that plague her and taking her rightful place amongst the comity of nations.

I wanted to share this tribute video. It's in Tamil. I don't understand a word of Tamil. But this is the MOST BEAUTIFUL tribute I have seen yet to our Guruji.

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Re: Abdul Kalam passes away Oct 15, 1931 - July 27, 2015

Postby shiv » 14 Aug 2015 08:50

pattnayak wrote:.

I wanted to share this tribute video. It's in Tamil. I don't understand a word of Tamil. But this is the MOST BEAUTIFUL tribute I have seen yet to our Guruji.

Thanks for posting.

You're right. You don't need to understand a word of Tamil to feel the video.

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Re: Abdul Kalam passes away Oct 15, 1931 - July 27, 2015

Postby Bade » 18 Aug 2015 00:15

Not sure if this was posted before here...


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Re: Abdul Kalam passes away Oct 15, 1931 - July 27, 2015

Postby Austin » 22 Aug 2015 21:44

Did Kalam sense his end was near?
Did former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam have a premonition of his death? His close associate for 33 years and co-author of five books, Arun Tiwari, suspects he did.

Talking to The Hindu from Delhi on Tuesday, he said Mr. Kalam made a prophetic statement in the latest book “Transcendence: My Spiritual Experiences with Pramukh Swamiji”, which he co-authored with the former President. The book was officially launched on June 29.

The second paragraph on page 50 reads: “Now, finally, Pramukh Swamiji has put me in a God synchronous orbit. No manoeuvres are required any more, as I am placed in my final position in eternity.”

Mr. Tiwari said the words were haunting him now. “Reading them now, I feel he had some sort of a premonition.”

He also referred to a conversation he had with Mr. Kalam as they were returning in a car from Sarangpur, Gujarat, after handing over the book to Pramukh Swamiji on June 20. He asked the former President what writing project he would be tasked with next. “He surprised me by saying ‘whatever has to be written has been written.’ May be he knew in his sub-conscious mind,” Mr. Tiwari said.

Mr. Tiwari co-authored four other books with Mr. Kalam: ‘Wings of Fire’ (1999), ‘Guiding Souls: Dialogues on the Purpose of Life’ (2005), ‘You Are Born To Blossom’ (2006) and ‘Squaring The Circle: Seven Steps To Indian Renaissance’ (2011). While three of them — ‘Wings of Fire’, ‘Ýou Are Born To Blossom’ and ‘Transcendence’ — are autobiographical, the other two are in the form of conversations between Mr. Kalam and Mr. Tiwari.

Mr. Tiwari said his association with Mr. Kalam gave him a fairly good understanding of the latter’s “inner world” and how he felt and thought.

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Re: Abdul Kalam passes away Oct 15, 1931 - July 27, 2015

Postby arshyam » 24 Aug 2015 22:56

I am glad someone writes like this in Tamil and Malayalam. English readers are missing out, sigh. We need to find out more such authors in other languages who can write so elegantly.

A Question About Dr APJ Abdul Kalam - Jeyamohan, Swarajya Mag

Who was Dr APJ Abdul Kalam – a scientist or a technocrat? Was he involved in the militarization of India? Why didn’t Kalam join the international arms research industry, why did he chose to stay back in India? Here’s an attempt to find answers to many such questions about the ‘Rocket Man’ of India

Dear Jeyamohan,

After his death, the memorial messages and notes about Dr Kalam are certainly growing by the day in all the social media platforms.

We hear some contrarian voices too. One of my friends started by asking “what did he really do for Government-run schools?”. Other people were making fun of Kalam’s praising of poet Vairamuthu and actor Vivek; or his support for the Euro during the Greek crisis. I could answer some of these, but I am a bit confused by the ‘Schools’ question now.

Kalam was certainly a great scientist. He brought us respect in the international arena with his achievements in Space and Defense. Despite his stature, he maintained his exemplary simplicity even after being awarded the Bharat Ratna and becoming the President of this country.

People who knew him say that he never even raised his voice. Even after he got involved in politics and rose to the position of the leader of people, there was not a single complaint against him and yet he achieved more than what any of his predecessors could in his position.

After the imposition of international sanctions, he made us dream of being a superpower and contributed most to the uplifting of people’s flagging patriotism (particularly among students) – we must bow to him for that.

His simplicity, knowledge and vision made him a folk hero, and so the media started holding him aloft. He became a role model. After all, parents would rather prefer their kids be a technocrat like Kalam than be a Gandhi or a Kamaraj, wouldn’t they?

All the universities, colleges and schools in the education business understood this quickly. They exploited his love for students and fondness to reach out to them. They made him the star of their convocations and annual days. Surely they had their payoffs in the form of publicity and fees from parents in the next year.

As a result, today we see advertisements for engineering colleges during TV serials, most of them have his picture on their posters.

Did Kalam get exploited by the greed of the commercialized education industry and parents without himself realizing it? He was the face of Modernism in India – so maybe the Post-Modernists hate him for that?

If you look at it, even Rajnikanth maintains a simple image. Vivek and Vairamuthu praise him profusely for that. He too is a role model for many. Yet Rajnikanth’s name is big business today, and it’s almost impossible for him to act in small budget movie productions. Similarly I suspect whether Kalam too got into a helpless state where he could not do anything for the State run schools?

I have always been an admirer of Kalam – so this question has been disturbing me for the past two days. At least I have been able to express it out, that much is a relief.


Kaliprasadh R


Dear Kaliprasadh

What you have sent is an essay. And your ‘questions’ are not really questions. They are just a series of confusions. If expressed in one line, you are asking why Kalam does not reflect your thoughts.

This is how I generally group such questions about Kalam. It’s not my job to answer these, yet I do so now because I understand your intentions.

1. “Kalam was never a scientist, he was only an engineer. He never invented anything of significance and he never had much of a standing among the international science community”

2. “Kalam never joined the debate on socio-political issues. He was always a pro-Establishment man”

3. “Kalam never opposed the privatization of education. He was always an invited guest at events of the Education Industry”

4. “Kalam did not possess any sensibility in art or literature. Whatever understanding he had about them was rather flat”

5. “Kalam was involved in the militarization of India. His chosen areas of missile and rocket technologies were inherently hawkish. He could have used his brain in peaceful initiatives. The money spent on missile and rocket technology could have been better used for improving the roads”.

6. “Kalam did not carry his Muslim identity and he did not use it spread Islam and its values. He participated in Hindu religious functions, he paid respects to Hindu religious saints. So he was just a Muslim in name”

Isn’t this all?

1. Kalam never projected himself as a scientific genius. He was not one of the foremost inventors nor did he put forward scientific theories. No one ever called him so.

But he learnt science, did his research in science and emerged out with quite a few scientific achievements. If Kalam is not a ‘Scientist’, then who else is? What is the credibility of those who seek to deny him that place?

A ‘Technocrat’ is just one who is good at deploying scientific technology in business and management. But Kalam conducted scientific research for half a century, made inventions, and demonstrated the results and their impact. All of his research and their documentation are available on record. The only reason someone refuses to accept Kalam as a scientist or calls him a technocrat would be to just slander him.

The domain and the research methods that Kalam adopted were completely unconventional. Who knows, he might even have won the Nobel if he had gone out of India and joined the rich research establishments of the international arms industry, and took part in their secret weapons programs. And maybe then, we would have praised him eloquently.

Instead Kalam chose to put his efforts towards nourishing the scrawny baby of Indian rocket science and technology. Taking its specific needs into account and working within whatever funding was available, he put in years of toil. He achieved what he worked for through constant and continuous effort.

India’s science-technology requirements were not predicated on inventing new things all the time. It was more about inventing what was refused to us and was hidden from us. And it was definitely not ‘reverse-engineering’ as some idiots implicate. There was nothing available for us to look at and engineer back. It is instead the process of imagining it, guessing its possibilities and literally ‘reinventing’ it.

And it is Science anyway you look at it. But it lacks the aura that comes with original scientific inventions. It does not fetch the inventors any glory.

That way, people like Kalam are martyrs and saints. Whatever they do is great scientific research, but they are not celebrated as great scientists. And on top of it, they will be denigrated by Western media. Kalam is disrespected simply because he did it out of his dedication to his country.

Many of Kalam’s predecessors, pioneers in this field, have been killed. We all know the unexplained cases of Dr Homi Bhabha, Homi Chetna and Vikram Sarabhai. Kalam worked in the shadow of death. He remained unmarried for this very reason. He remained a Karma Yogi and eschewed the foreign trips, seminars and media fame. What else does one need to do to attract attention of slanderers?

So many of his inventions could never even be discussed openly. But he still managed to write a lot about how we were able to reinvent many of those things successfully. Our so-called intellectuals lack the capability to even read and understand them.

2. Kalam knew his place and he only put forward what he was. He was a scientist, and technology was his domain. He wasn’t one who wasted time involving himself in things outside his scope. He kept repeating that one should not look outside one’s objectives. He did not enter politics, and was not involved in any sort of political activities. So he did not express political opinion.

His area of work required massive funding and infrastructure. If his work was to succeed, he could do nothing except be aligned with the government. This rule applied to Einstein too. So Kalam was cordial to all governments and achieved his objectives through their support. He never proffered socio-political comments.

But even to that, he brought his own individual approach. We can see that he avoided all negativity. He only identified the positive affirmative elements in any idea and nourished their roots. That was the approach chosen by a man of action, the personality of a Karma Veer. In an article written by ‘Sujatha’ Rangarajan, we can see that Kalam took care never to reprimand his subordinates even when they failed their duties. Instead he only focused on positive reinforcement.

In my interactions with him, Kalam advised me to never write anything negative and avoid criticism. It was at a time when my views and opinions were creating heated discussion. I chose to sidestep Kalam’s advice simply because it was not my way, that’s all.

What would have happened if Kalam had chosen to express his socio-political views? We would have made a joker of him on Facebook. We would have restrained him from carrying out his activities that he pursued tirelessly until his last breath. All the ‘keyboard warriors’ of today are exhibiting false righteousness to make us believe that they are a step above Kalam.

3. In his final years, Kalam wanted to meet as many young students as possible. His life ended among them. So he never refused any invitation from an educational institution. He wanted to leave behind a message of hope and belief with the younger generations.

Nothing is more absurd than expecting him to have instead criticized the educational institutions. He was neither an educationist nor did he profess any theories on education.

4. Kalam’s appreciation of art and literature was very limited. He was only a scientist. Our Indian education system only creates such uni-dimensional personalities. But does that undermine his achievements in any way? Even Gandhi’s taste in literature was not all that great. He was praising Bhajan composers as great poets. Let us forget Kalam for a moment. Who among our shining cast of politicians and intellectuals can say that they possess literary sensibilities?

5. The rocket technology that Kalam developed was not just war machinery. It is the very foundation of modern telecommunications.

I first met Kalam in one of the early Indian telecom conferences. He gave a lecture on how to launch satellites using rocket technology and how it would help in communication, emergence of cellphones and a resultant increase in overall employment. As he read out his paper, the Leftists in the audience like me were laughing it all off.

Today, a big part of our wealth comes from communication technologies. Our rocket technologies are the most cost-effective in the world. We earned back our investments many times over through gains in information technology. Now we sell it to African countries.

Technology investments never go waste. Most of the Arabian oil wealth today is sucked out by America and Europe that supply technology. Today, it’s only those countries without technological prowess that get exploited and pushed towards poverty.

Moreover, a nation’s economy is dictated by its military power. Our missiles and nuclear capabilities are our trump cards in any negotiation in the international arena. A simple question – why did America destroy Iraq but sits at the negotiation table with Iran? Isn’t it because of Iran’s missile and nuclear power? And here we are, sitting and passing snide comments on those men who gave us that respectability and power, calling them technicians and weapon manufacturers.

6. Kalam always felt himself a Muslim. One of my relatives who knew him said that Kalam even avoided bank deposits as he considered receiving interest payment as un-Islamic. He lived and died as a Muslim. But his Islam was not one of hatred. He did not disparage or vilify other religions, their books or their leaders. He is hated by Islamic fundamentalists for this equanimity.

I have many criticisms about Kalam. Especially his poetry. He gave me ten of what he called his ‘poems’. It took me so many days to come out of that ‘experience’.

His total faith in science was not acceptable to me. He was a Nehruvian, one who religiously believed in empirical science. He felt with all his heart that technology could save the world. His faith on things like atomic power ran very deep. I may not accept those kinds of things, but he was a pioneer who put forth what he sincerely believed in.

Many of my ideas would contradict his. Because, after all, he belonged to a previous generation. But it would be silly of me to not look beyond such differences and try to evaluate him in the light of his true achievements.

Kalam was not a mere dreamer. His vision and plans may still be able guide our nation in various fields. Some of his ideas, like the ones on reducing petroleum consumption and diverting the resultant surplus to infrastructure building, are still available for us to consider.

All said, one thing is obvious. He did not live for himself. He loved this country and dreamed for the well-being of its people. He dedicated his life towards that mission and never took anything for himself. Such examples of dedication are rare today.

In a country where self-serving politicians are being glorified as great leaders, the younger generation do not have many icons to look up to. This is why Kalam is being celebrated. This is a proof that there is still huge respect in this country for such idealism.

There is a section of media who have always tried to slander the icons of India. Vivekananda, Gandhi, Nehru, Aurobindo, J.Krishnamurti – none have been spared. So we can expect Kalam’s reputation to be attacked more and more by these mercenaries in the coming years.

But Kalam will live beyond all that. I was on an auto-rickshaw in my town of Nagercoil and the driver was losing his way around. He seemed to be new so I asked him what happened to the regular driver. He said that the regular driver had gone to Rameswaram to pay his last respects to Kalam. It seems that, from just that one auto-stand, sixteen such drivers had gone all the way to Rameswaram on their own money – just to be part of Kalam’s last journey.

Today Nagercoil is full of posters and eulogies for Kalam. All put up by common people on their own. None of them were sponsored by big institutions or political parties. Such affection is a repayment of the love that a man named Kalam had for his countrymen.

(Translated by Madhusudhanan Sampath)

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Re: Abdul Kalam passes away Oct 15, 1931 - July 27, 2015

Postby SwamyG » 01 Sep 2015 22:39

^^^ Ada rama.....I came to this thread to post the above beautifully penned article by Jeyamohan. And it was already done, missed an opportunity to spread joy.

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Re: Abdul Kalam passes away Oct 15, 1931 - July 27, 2015

Postby ramana » 08 Nov 2016 00:39

X-posting from the Single Engine Fighter thread....
ldev wrote:
ArmenT wrote:IIRC, APJ Kalam only spent a couple of days visiting NASA facilities and that was it. For the record, he wasn't very good as a rocket scientist either (If I recall correctly, he graduated last in his class at Madras Institute of Tech.). His real talent was as a manager. It is no joke organizing a bunch of scientists and knowing when to stand back and not interfere with their work, this was something he really excelled at.

Not to nitpick but just to set the record straight, he was with NASA for 8-9 months which is long enough to learn quite a bit for somebody who is already trained:

How India’s Late President Learned About Rocket Science With NASA

But the first time I met A.P.J. Abdul Kalam—or Kalam, as I always knew him—was in a foreign country: the U.S. I’d gone there in December, 1962, and he followed in March, 1963. We were part of a seven-member team dispatched by Vikram Sarabhai, the father of India’s space program, to train with NASA and learn the art of assembling and launching small rockets for collecting scientific data.
I’d already spent a few months training at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Centre in Greenbelt, Maryland, when Kalam arrived from India. Soon, we were working side by side at NASA’s launch facility in Wallops Island, Virginia. Our lodgings were called the B.O.Q., or the Bachelor Officer’s Quarters, and we’d lunch together at the cafeteria where, because we were both vegetarians, we survived mainly on mashed potatoes, boiled beans, peas, bread and milk. Weekends in Wallops Island were lonely affairs, as the nearest town of Pocomoke City was an hour’s drive away. Thankfully for us, NASA put on a free flight to Washington D.C. for its recruits, so we would head up the to American capital on Friday nights and return to Wallops on the Monday morning shuttle.

It was a memorable experience. I remember one training session where Kalam had to fire a dummy rocket when the countdown hit zero. It was only after half a dozen attempts when he kept firing the rocket either a few seconds too early or too late that the man who went on to become one of India’s best known rocket scientists managed to get it right.(You are correct about his scientific skills though!!)

Our American sojourn ended in December, 1963, when we returned to India to help set up a domestic rocket launching facility on the outskirts of Trivandrum,
the capital of the southern Indian state of Kerala. It was very different world from NASA. India’s space program was still in its early years and we had to swap our weekend shuttles to Washington for bicycles, our sole mode of transportation in those days.

I really don't like the tone of this man. Its usual taking pot shots pretending to present a balance picture.

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Re: Abdul Kalam passes away Oct 15, 1931 - July 27, 2015

Postby Khalsa » 08 Nov 2016 01:07

Seems the tone of a man who despite being (as he almost proclaims to be) more intelligent than Kalam could not become the statesman and the figure that Kalam became with all the success that Kalam attached to him.

Seems Mr I was so so so smarter than Kalam missed something that was so obvious and so hiding in plain sight that only a Genius Like Kalam could see.

I suggest he try harder, be more humble and have more determination like our Father of the Nation Version 2.0 A.P.J. Abdul Kalam.

I liked how he ended the article trying to sound that he was still in the inner circle by being invited to stay with him.
You were not in his inner circle, he didn't have a inner circle. He was just consistently fair to everyone around him.

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