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A visionary who walked on this earth
Worked relentlessly, until laid to rest.
Challenging life’s every test,
He pursued knowledge with tremendous zest.
A simple ‘Missile Man’ on a difficult quest,
Here’s a glimpse of a life that was lived best.
“All of us do not have equal talent. But, all of us have an equal opportunity to develop our talents.”
- APJ Abdul Kalam
On 15 October 1931, a pious man who never forgot to say his morning prayers, was born to a humble Tamil Muslim family in the pilgrimage town of Rameshwaram. He was the youngest of five children of a boat owner, Jainulabudeen, and his wife, Ashiamma. As their ancestors had been involved in trading groceries by boat, as well as ferrying tourists, the family acquired the title of ‘Mara Kalamiyakkivar’ or ‘wooden boat steerers’.
He came from a humble background. Often after school, he would sell newspapers and help his father to ferry tourists, to support the family income.
At school, Kalam had average grades but was a bright and hardworking student with a strong desire to learn. He completed his schooling from Ramanathapuram Schwartz Matriculation School. In 1954,he graduated in Physics from Saint Joseph’s College, Tiruchirappalli. In the year that followed, he moved to Madras Institute of Technology.