Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam was a well-known scientist and also the 11th President of India. He was born in a middle class family. He grew up to study physics and aerospace engineering. His contributions towards the field of Science and defense was remarkable. He worked in Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) and Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO). He was a simple and kind hearted man. Her are a few stories which depicts his simplicity and humility.
Once Dr.Kalam refused to put broken glass on the wall of a building that needed protection for the welfare of birds. He said “If we do that, birds will not be able to perch on the wall.”
He was a man who believed work is important, but family and social life is equally important. He often told his employees that life is not only about work, clients and office. There is more to life. One needs to socialize, entertain, relax and exercise. Only then life becomes meaningful.
While he was working at DRDO, one of the scientists approached his manager – Dr.Kalam to ask his permission to get off work early as he had promised to take his kids to the exhibition. Dr.Kalam was understanding so he granted permission. The scientist got back to work. He was working on a significant project and was under a lot of pressure. As the day passed, he lost track of time and was deeply involved in his work. Dr.Kalam noticed the dedication and passion with which he was working and realized he would not make it on time to take his kids out to the exhibition. So Dr.Kalam went to the scientist’s house and took his kids out to the exhibition. Soon after the scientist completed his work, he returned home and apologized for not taking the kids out. But his wife said “your manager was here around 5:15 and he took the kids for the exhibition!” This shows how loving and caring he was.
When he was elected as the President, he invited a cobbler and a small hotel owner to his speech because they were the men who were by him while he was studying in college. He was a man of dignity and honor. He always stood by his principles. He was known as “People’s president.” He dedicated his life for science and education. He often visited universities to encourage the young minds to make a difference. He believed that youth carried a lot of potential and they should be given opportunities to explore it.
Dr.Kalam was noted for his integrity and his simple lifestyle. He never owned a TV or any expensive luxuries. He would rise by 7.00am and work the entire day and sleep by 2.00 am. He maintained a balance between personal and professional life. Once when he went to a college to address the students, he refused to sit on a chair which was specially made for him as it was taller than the others and insisted that he would sit on a chair similar to everyone else’s.
On the 27th of July 2015, Dr.Kalam collapsed due to cardiac arrest and died while delivering a lecture at the Indian Institute of Management, Shillong. He was knowledgeable, down-to-earth, hardworking and a simple man who inspired a lot of young minds to make a difference.
“Dream is not that which you see while sleeping, it is something that does not let you sleep.”
― A.P.J. Abdul Kalam