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Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen “A. P. J.” Abdul Kalam (15 October 1931 – 27 July 2015) was the 11th President of India from 2002 to 2007. A career scientist turned reluctant politician, Kalam was born and raised in Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu and studied physics and aerospace engineering. He spent the next four decades as a scientist and science administrator, mainly at the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and was intimately involved in India’s civilian space program and military missile development efforts.He thus came to be known as the Missile Man of India for his work on the development of ballistic missile and launch vehicle technology. He also played a pivotal organizational, technical and political role in India’s Pokhran-II nuclear tests in 1998, the first since the original nuclear test by India in 1974.

Kalam was elected President of India in 2002 with the support of both the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and the opposition Indian National Congress. After serving a term of five years, he returned to his civilian life of education, writing and public service. He received several prestigious awards, including the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian honour.

Death : -

Kalam died of a massive cardiac arrest on the evening of 27 July 2015 after he collapsed while delivering a lecture on ‘Livable Planet’ at Indian Institute of Management Shillong. Following the collapse on around 6.30 pm, Kalam, was wheeled into Bethany hospitals’ ICU in a critical condition but he was confirmed dead after more than two hours he was taken to the hospital. Kalam would have turned 84 in October 2015. Governor of Meghalaya, V. Shanmuganathan rushed to the hospital on hearing the news of Kalam’s admission. Later Shanmughanathan said Kalam died at 7.45 pm even after medical team’s best efforts to revive Kalam. On 28 July, morning Chief Secretary PBO Warjri told reporters that he had spoken to Union Home Secretary, L.C. Goyal asking for arrangements to be made for carrying Kalam’s body to Delhi from Guwahati.

The Government of India declared a seven-day state mourning as a mark of respect to the former President.

President Pranab Mukherjee, Vice-President Hamid Ansari, Home Minister Rajnath Singh and leaders condoled the former President’s demise. Prime Minster of India, Narendra Modi noted, “his [Kalam] death is a great loss to the scientific community. He took India to great heights. He showed the way.”


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