A P J Abdul Kalam

                                     (Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam)
                                     He seems to have come straight out of a comic book. Even
                                     though a devout Muslim, his favourite pastimes include reading
                                     Hindu scriptures like the Bhagvad Gita, plucking the veena and
                                     writing poetry in Tamil, his first language. Unlike other great
                                     Indian scientists, he was neither educated abroad, nor was his
                                     family financially very strong to support his academic pursuits.
                                     Branded as "200 percent Indian" by his colleagues and
                                     acquaintances, 'India's Missile Man', Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen
                                     Abdul Kalam has done the country proud on many fronts.

                                     Born on 15 October 1931 at Dhanushkodi in the Rameswaram district of Tamil
                                     Nadu, Abdul Kalam's father had to rent boats out to fishermen to pay this
                                     genius' school fees. He received secondary education at the Schwartz School, a
                                     missionary institute in Ramanathapuram, and later joined the St Joseph's College
                                     at Tiruchirrapalli, where he graduated with a Bachelor in Science. Abdul Kalam
                                     went on to study Aeronautical Engineering at the Madras Institute of

                                     "Do things yourself. Do not indulge in short-cuts by importing equipment",
                                     thundered the great scientist after the famed Pokhran-2 nuclear blasts in 1998.
                                     A strong advocate of this philosophy, he distributed newspapers at a young age
                                     to help with household expenses.

                                     Thoroughly Indian, the only brief exposure that he got abroad was in 1963-64
                                     when he was invited by NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration)
                                     to spend four months in the United States at the Wallops Island Rocketry Centre
                                     and the Langley Research Centre.

                                     Abdul Kalam joined the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO)
                                     in 1958 and in his forty-year career as a scientist, achieved many milestones.
                                     He later joined the ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation) where he
                                     succeeded in putting the 35-kg Rohini-I satellite on a low-earth orbit with help
                                     of the SLV-III (Satellite Launch Vehicle). After spending 19 fruitful years in
                                     ISRO, he returned to DRDO to head the country's Integrated Missile
                                     Development Programme, which culminated in the successful launch of the Agni
                                     and Prithvi missiles.

                                     A great humanitarian, he extended his knowledge of space technology and
                                     mechanisms to help disabled children, replacing their 3-kg metal supporters with
                                     very light braces made of carbon, which weigh just 300 grams.

                                     A vegetarian and a teetotaller, Abdul Kalam recites the Quran and the Bhagvad
                                     Gita with equal ease. A confirmed bachelor, his modesty is evident from the fact
                                     that he gives all the credit to his colleagues. He burst into the limelight after the
                                     Pokhran nuclear explosions in 1998. Totally dedicated to the development of the
                                     nation, he has been felicitated with many national awards. He was awarded the
                                     Padmabhushan in 1981, the Padma Vibhushan in 1990 and the HK Firodia Award
                                     for Excellence in Science and Technology in 1996. More recently, he was
                                     honoured with the Bharat Ratna in 1998, the highest civilian award in India.

                                     Abdul Kalam is a dreamer. He dreamt of a strong India. "We must think and act
                                     like a nation of a billion people." His next goal is to produce a reusable missile
                                     which no country in the world has been able to produce. And judging by his
                                     earlier achievements, this invention does not seem a distant possibility for this

India can retaliate with multiple effect: Abdul Kalam

                           Coimbtore, January 24, 2002

                           India has the capability to retaliate with 'multiple effect' if someone used nuclear
                           weapons against it, former Principal Scientific Advisor Dr APJ Abdul Kalam said here on
                           Thursday night.

                           When reporters sought his opinion whether India had got the right to use nuclear
                           weapon as a deterrent, Kalam said India adopted 'the no first-use philosophy'.

                           "But, India can and has the capability to retaliate with multiple effect," he said.

                           Earlier, Kalam told reporters at Pollachi, about 35 kms from here, that India, with a
                           billion people, had all "weapons" to face any situation.

                           But Indians did not believe in themselves and "once you start believing in yourselves,
                           you can face any challenge," Kalam said.

                           "The day you don't beleive in yourselves, you are in deep trouble," he said, adding the
                           message about India's strength should be spread.

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