The Missile Man of India, the great Indian scientist, India’s 11th President and unrivaled role model to youth everywhere, the legendary Dr APJ Abdul Kalam has gone to glory. He had mentioned that his passing shouldn’t be mourned but celebrated and his legacy, continued by the youth he always associated himself with. So, this tribute to our friend Abdul Kalam is going to be filled with youthful attributes, respecting his want.
Who is this man named Abdul Kalam?
All of us know superficially who is this disarming man so loved by youth and children, “Yeah, Indian president and scientist.” We are not going to go deep into the impersonal litany of details of what Abdul Kalam did as they can be found on Wikipedia. We rather want to go into his life accounts and how his work inspired the taking of India into 2020. A developed nation, dreamed by Abdul Kalam but left before the time arrived. Also, what we, the Malaysian Indian youth can learn from this swaq guy by the name of Abdul Kalam.
Abdul Kalam was born into adversity and despondency. Born into a poor fisherman family, Abdul Kalam never lost sight of what is important – education. He stubbornly stuck to his studies, doing odd jobs to put himself through school. He made it to Saint Joseph’s College Tiruchirapalli and graduated in 1954. But, Abdul Kalam’s thirst for worldly knowledge wasn’t quenched. So he pushed on and pursued aerospace engineering in Madras Institute of Technology. Abdul Kalam was a home grown boy.
Abdul Kalam never looked back since folks and he never married. Our guess is that he didn’t settle down because he thought it would impede his career and vision. But, he is a father figure to many youth (including yours’ truly) who cared to prioritize what’s important and lasting rather than what’s fun and fleeting.
Dr Abdul Kalam’s achievements
From the days he led DRDO, Defense Research and Development Organization then ISRO, Indian Space Research Organization to the day he breathed his last, giving a lecture on the topic of “Making the World More Liveable,” at the Indian Institute of Management, Shillong, it won’t be wrong to say that Abdul Kalam has dedicated his life and death to the betterment of India and the world. Imagine how proud his poverty ridden parents would have been..
Below are some of his stellar achievements. Please go through them and be gobsmacked then inspired on what this unassuming, poor lad from a sleepy Rameshwaram fishing village has achieved in his lifetime.
- Abdul Kalam was the project director of India’s first indigenous Satellite Launch Vehicle. He led many projects in ISRO but SLV was his landmark project.
- Project Devil and Project Valiant, designed to develop ballistic missiles from the tech of the successful SLV program (ballistic missile was mentioned in the Tamil movie Appuchi Gramam – intercontinental ballistic missile) were directed by Abdul Kalam in the seventies.
- Abdul Kalam made the Indian govt to finally take space science seriously by successfully launching Rohini-1 satellite (named after the Rohini nakshatiram) into space. At the raving success of Rohini-1, the Indian govt agreed to initiate advanced missile programs under the purview of Abdul Kalam. Shifting a poverty and social scrounges stricken nation’s focus to space exploration and tech is no joke ugaiz. GOOSEBUMPS. The missiles Agni and Prithvi were developed under Abdul Kalam’s thumb and stereoscopic vision. Abdul Kalam made science poetic and literally changed India’s track.
- As the Chief Executive of the Integrated Guided Missile Development Program (I.G.M.D.P) Abdul Kalam, made many researches and development, namely, researching and developing a quiver of missiles instead of taking planned missiles one by one – a simultaneous act of missiles.
- Abdul Kalam served as the Chief Scientific Adviser to the Prime Minister and the Secretary of Defense Research and Development Organisation from 1992 to 1999. This was when Abdul Kalam shifted his focus from interstellar science to nuclear science, serving as the Chief Project Coordinator for Pokhran II nuclear tests. This feat of his earned him the sobriquet “Missile Man of India”. This guy’s interests and expertise are diverse. Take note ugaiz.
- Abdul Kalam was the 11th President of India, holding the position from 2002 until 2007. This was when his popularity hit the global scale. Before that Abdul Kalam was a relatively unknown figure outside India. His presidency changed that. He was hailed to be on par with Mahatma Gandhi. He was invited to give speeches around the world. He also came to Malaysia. Abdul Kalam was accorded the Bharat Ratna award, Indian highest civilian award. That award is just one of the many awards he was feted with.
- Are these achievements enough for our friend Dr Abdul Kalam? Apparently not. He was a prolific author who wrote many influential and inspirational books. His books include, ‘Ignited Minds’, ‘Mission India’, Inspiring Thoughts and ‘The Luminous Sparks’ with ‘India 2020’ being his bestseller. In India 2020, Abdul Kalam penned a foresight filled action plan which articulated India turning into a knowledge superpower and as one of the developed nations of the world by the year 2020. Meanwhile our Wawasan 2020 is lost in the rhetoric 1Malaysia.
- Abdul Kalam was as controversial as he was scientific. In a bid to quell corruption in India, he launched his mission for the youth of the nation called the “What Can I Give Movement” in 2011 which not only inspired youth in India but around the world as well.
Abdul Kalam never retired, staying true to his youth rhetoric. After ceasing from being president, he served as Chancellor of the Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology Thiruvananthapuram, Aerospace Engineering at Anna University (Chennai), JSS University (Mysore). He was also a visiting professor in many esteemed Indian universities and institutes. He was still working when his heart stopped. Dr APJ Abdul Kalam suffered a massive cardiac arrest while lecturing at the age of 84.
What Malaysian Indians should reflect on, taking Dr APJ Abdul Kalam’s contributions into consideration
It is Dr Abdul Kalam’s contribution to Indian science field that culminated in India’s Mars Orbiter Mission. Just like how our friend Dr Abdul Kalam is frugal, India sent Mars orbiter Mangalyaan to Martian atmosphere last year, the first country to do so in first attempt at less the budget Hollywood took to make the movie Gravity. India’s MOM is a sci fi fiction in the real world and Dr Abdul Kalam was the vanguard to envision it.
For one, Abdul Kalam never rebuked nor reprimanded youth for their decadent ways, following Swami Vivekananda‘s example. Instead, he put his arms on the shoulders of youth and encouraged them by being a living example. As the testimony, many youthful songs in Tamil movies incorporate Abdul Kalam’s name besides inspiring lyrics. He was even nominated for the MTV Youth Icon of the Year award in 2003 and in 2006.
Malaysian Indians should have a paradigm shift on how they view India. Most of us focus mainly on entertainment from India and are content on being Vijay/Surya/Ajith/Dhanush/Simbu, etc’s die hard fan. Many of us come up with ingenious math equations that go like this:
Vijay Pudikilana 90% he must be Ajith Fan
Ajith Pudkilana 90% he must be Vijay fan
Simbu pudiklena 90% he must be Dhanush fan
Dhanush pidiklena 90% he must be Simbu fan – extend to Surya, Arya, Paaya.
Then extrapolating on the formulas above, we start to fight over these actors online. But, do you know that the Google Chrome you use is invented by Sundar Pichai. The email you use is invented by Shiva Ayyadurai. The Facebook you use to create Malaysian (FILL THIS SPACE WITH A NAME OF A KOLLYWOOD ACTOR) Diehard Fans or Malaysia (FILL THIS SPACE WITH A NAME OF A KOLLYWOOD ACTOR) Haters is co-engineered by Ruchi Sanghvi, the only female engineer in the Facebook creation team and now the adviser of Dropbox. Varun Agarwal failed engineering, ventured into filming then co founded a personalized hoodie/tee company named Alma Mater and wrote the book, “How I braved Anu Aunty and co-founded a Multi Million Dollar Company. Varun is now the CEO of The Enthu Cutlets, a YouTube channel he founded. They are all from India and what I mentioned is just the tip of the iceberg. And, who said Indians don’t have much business inclinations? Satya Nadella is Microsoft’s CEO while Indra Nooyi is Pepsi Co’s CEO and listed by Forbes as one of the 100 most powerful woman in the world. More common India Indian businessmen are Mukesh Ambani and Lakshmi Mittal. The latter held a wedding for his daughter so extravagant, it came in E! channel as one of the most expensive wedding ever made. The Tata logo you see on lorries and your school bus belongs to Tata Motors, a subsidiary of the Tata Group of the Tata family who have been rich for generations. See how much Indian nationals play a part in our daily life than Kollywood actors. It’s not wrong to be a fan of an Indian actor and watch Indian movies, even we indulge in the latter but do learn about the diversity of India and take lessons and inspiration from the people aforementioned and more.
We are no longer angry but sad because when we post a video regarding the passing of the honourable Dr Abdul Kalam, there is no response on Tamil Troll Facebook page but if we post a troll video/pic of a Kollywood actor, some of their die hard fans issue death threats on the admins or ask us whether we have any personal problem with the actors. Most of them though would use the formula above and conclude that we are the rival actors’ fan and then badmouth us and denigrate the actors they seem to have an obligation to hate as though they skimped on the meat in their sandwich. A small percentage would ask us to respect all actors. Ironically, these people accept it if we troll Vijayakanth, T.Rajender, VTV Ganesh, etc.
We at Retamil, believe that we are capable of much, much more. If we put our heart and minds to it, with effort incorporation we can excel in fields like science. Already, Tamil schools are pioneering that. We just need to change our focus a wee bit.
Thank you dear Dr APJ Abdul Kalam for being such an inspiration. You, sir, will be etched in the annals of science and be forever and fondly remembered.
With Love and Due Respect,