Unarguably the most loved President of India, APJ Abdul Kalam was a scientist who made India proud with his missile defence programme. But his favourite job was teaching and that’s how he wanted the world to remember him. Due to his love for students and focus on promoting education, the United Nations declared his birthday (October 15) as ‘World Student’s Day’ in 2010.
Such was his aura that students across the nation looked up to him. His quotes are still shared on social networking sites. His sudden demise on July 27, 2015 shocked the nation but Kalam died doing what he loved best: teaching. Delivering a lecture to the students of IIM Shillong, Kalam fell down the stage suffering a stroke and passed away almost instantly. The entire nation grieved his demise irrespective of caste, creed, location or religion.
A scientist of global repute, Kalam was respected the world over. In 2005, Kalam visited Switzerland, after which the country declared May 26 to be observed as ‘Science Day’ as a mark of respect and in honour of his visit.
The list of awards bestowed on Kalam is endless. In 1981, he was awarded the Padma Bhushan and in 1990, the Padma Vibhushan. He was later awarded the Bharat Ratna for his contributions to research, the field of science as well as his work with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and the Defence Research and development Organisation (DRDO).
Among the many feathers in his cap is the successful testing of nuclear bombs at Pokhran. He was an author as well. Among his books are: ‘Wings of Fire’, ‘My journey’, ‘Ignited Minds – Unleashing the power within India’ and ‘India 2020 – A Vision for the New Millennium’.
Kalam was a gem the nation will treasure forever. It is only fitting that the world remembers October 15 has World Student’s Day as a mark of respect to the man.
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