1. He was the son of a boat owner
Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam was the son of a boat owner named Jainulabudeen. His mother Ashiamma was a housewife. He belonged to a Tamil Muslim family that lived in Tamil Nadu’s Ramanathapuram district.
2. He distributed newspapers
Kalam was a hard working student who studied with utter dedication. He also distributed newspapers after his school in order to support his poor family financially.
3. He was a great writer
Dr. Kalam has written around 15 books on different subjects. His autobiography, Wings of Fire: An Autobiography was originally written in English and later translated into as many as 13 languages.
4. He inspired a film
Kalam’s life was interesting enough to inspire director Nila Madhab Panda to direct a film based on it. The movie, I am Kalam, released in 2011 tells the tale of a poor Rajasthani lad who was inspired by Kalam.
5. He was a part of India’s first nuclear test
Raja Ramanna invited Dr. Kalam to be a part of the country’s first nuclear bomb test, Smiling Buddha, conducted on the 18th of May 1974. The bomb was exploded by the Indian Army on the army base, Pokhran Test Range (PTR) based in Rajasthan.
6. He was named the Missile Man of India
Kalam earned the title of Missile Man of India owing to the efforts he put in for the development of ballistic missile and for his contribution in the launch of vehicle technology.
7. He won several awards
Kalam won accolades for his work with ISRO and DRDO and was honoured with the Padma Bhushan award in the year 1981 and Padma Vibhushan in 1990 for the same. He also received the Bharat Ratna for his contribution towards the scientific research and the upgradation of defense technology of the country.
8. He was harassed at the New York airport
Several Indians protested when the former president was harassed at the JFK Airport, New York by the US security officials. He was asked to remove his shoes and jacket to check for explosives. After Kalam took his seat in the aircraft while returning from New York, the officers came in to do his security check once again.
9. He was criticized for Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant issue
Civil groups came out in open to criticize Kalam’s stand on the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant. It is said that the former president encouraged the establishment of nuclear power plant without having a word about it with the local people there.
10. He was nominated for the Youth Icon award
Kalam inspired the youth of the country and it came as no surprise when he got nominated for the MTV Youth Icon of the Year award in the year 2003 and 2006.