Kalam makes low-profile visit to Puttaparthi
Document date: 07-14-02
By: Fakir Chand in Bangalore
India's missile man and National Democratic Alliance candidate for the presidential election A P J Abdul Kalam made a low-profile visit to Puttaparthi in Andhra Pradesh over the weekend to meet godman Satya Sai Baba.
Kalam flew into Bangalore on Saturday afternoon without any fanfare and, in the evening, left by car for Puttaparthi for a private meeting with the godman.
According to sources in the Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO), which took care of his stay, Kalam met the godman on Sunday morning before returning to Bangalore on his way to Delhi later in the evening.
Former director of the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) Dr Kota Harinarayana, who was till recently in charge of the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) project, is learnt to have accompanied Kalam to Puttaparthi.
Incidentally, after being nominated as the presidential poll nominee, Kalam has been to several pilgrimage centres like the Ajmer darga in Rajasthan, Kancheepuram in Tamil Nadu for meeting the shankaracharya, and Kanyakumari near his hometown Rameshwaram.
On Sunday afternoon before leaving for Delhi on the eve of the presidential election, Kalam spent some time with college students in Bangalore.
Answering a barrage of questions fielded by students at the Shri Bhagwan Mahavir Jain College, Kalam said in the event of becoming the President of India his main task would be to focus on the development of the country.
"We have about 300 million or one-third of the population living below the poverty line. Our national goal should be to banish poverty in the next 10-15 years," Kalam said.
"My only advice to you is to work hard for your betterment and the development of the country. You are the future of this great nation," Kalam said.
"The mind is the most powerful resource on the planet. It is the most active part of our life. We should always strive to think big. Great ideas lead to great inventions and quick development," Kalam said.
Asked who his role model was, Kalam recalled his school days and said his first role model was his third standard teacher K Subramaniam Iyer, who made him think big and advised him to have vision for the future.
"Later, I had the fortune of working with or under three other great teachers, who were also my mentors. The first one is Dr Vikram Sarabhai, He is the one who said India should make its own rocket system way back in 1969. He gave us a mission."
"My second guru was Prof Satish Dhawan, former chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). He was a great thinker who guided us on how to fulfill a mission."
"My third teacher was Prof Brahm Prakash, former director of the Vikram Sarabhai Space Center at Thiruvananthapuram. He taught us management skills," he said.
He told the students that India was capable of meeting any kind of nuclear threat because of its self-reliance in the domain.
"We have the nuclear designs, we can develop and deliver nuclear weapons faster than other countries. We can meet any kind of threat, be it nuclear or conventional."
"More than anything else, our safety standards are very high. We can manage any situation. But as a policy, India has declared no-first-use of nuclear weapons, which means though we have the capability to strike, we will not as a matter of principle," Kalam stated.
See for more information on Kalam the next article:
A. P. J. Abdul Kalam: From Rameswaram to
Document date: 07-19-02
Syed Amin Jafri in Hyderabad
For A P J Abdul Kalam, regarded as the father of the Indian missile programme, it has been a spectacular journey to the Rashtrapati Bhavan starting from a small village in south India.
After an unparalleled career as a defence scientist, the 71-year-old Bharat Ratna will take over from President K R Narayanan on July 25.
A strong votary of indigenisation, he is credited with building India's first satellite launch vehicle and being the architect of the country's successful missile programme.
Kalam's journey can be said to closely mirror that of independent India towards technological self-sufficiency.
Born on October 15, 1931 in the lower middle class family of a little educated boat-owner in Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu, Kalam, in his early days, collected tamarind seeds, hawked newspapers and sold cigarettes to earn some pocket money and pay his school fees.
He had his school and college education at Rameswaram, Ramanathapuram and Tiruchirapally.
Kalam got his degree in aeronautical engineering from the Madras Institute of Technology.
What is not very well known is the personal tribulations that he had to go through to get that degree.
He began his career as a senior scientific assistant in the Directorate of Technical Development and Production (DTD&P-Air) in the defence ministry in 1958. He was assigned to the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
After a five-year stint, he joined the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in 1963.
He secured a foothold in the highly rigid scientific establishment of the country only after being spotted by Prof M G K Menon and groomed by Dr Vikram Sarabhai.
He served as director of the Aerospace Dynamic and Design group at the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre and later as director of the Launch Vehicles and Systems group at ISRO's headquarters in Bangalore.
He was responsible for evolution of the ISRO Satellite Launch Vehicle programmes, initiating the composite product technology and establishing the Reinforced Plastics Production Centre.
He has been involved with the development of India' main battle tank (MBT) - Arjun - and part of the prestigious Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) development project, both of which have not had much success.
As project director, he contributed to the design, development and management of India's first indigenous satellite launch vehicle (SLV) and putting the Rohini satellite into orbit.
Kalam has a special attachment for Hyderabad after having spent a decade as director of the DRDO beginning 1982.
He conceived and directed the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP) as its chief executive.
The spectacular story thereafter has been well-documented. With the successful launch of a number of missiles, India became a member of an exclusive international club.
Under Kalam's stewardship, the DRDL successfully launched Prithvi (a surface-to-surface missile), Trishul (a short-range surface-to-air missile), Akash (a medium-range surface-to-air missile) and Nag (an anti-tank missile), apart from Agni (a long range missile with a nuclear option).
In the span of two decades, India was recognised as a technologically advanced nation in league with the best in the world.
His initiative - the advanced research centre called the Research Centre Imarat at Hyderabad - attracts talent from all over the country and is the hub of critical technology development in India.
Kalam is a strong votary of indigenisation. The Pokhran-II nuclear tests, which showcased India's technological capabilities, were largely the result of his efforts.
It was in DRDO, Hyderabad that he initiated a project for using the spin-offs of missile technology for medical purposes, an outcome of which was the Kalam-Raju stent for heart.
Kalam has been the recipient of a number of awards and accolades including doctorates from Anna, Jadavpur and Banaras Hindu Universities, IIT (Bombay), National Design Award of the Institution of Engineers, Biren Roy Space Award, the Om Prakash Bhasin award, National Nehru Award and Distinguished Professor of the Engineering Staff College of India award.
He has been associated with the Aeronautical Society of India, the Astronomical Society, Indian National Academy of Engineering and Indian National Academy of Science.
In recognition of his outstanding contribution, the government honoured him with the Padma Bhushan in 1981, Padma Vibhushan in 1990 and finally, the nation's greatest honour - the Bharat Ratna - in 1997.
Kalam served as scientific adviser to the defence minister and as secretary, Department of Defence Research & Development from July 1992 to December 1999. He was chief scientific adviser to the Government of India till he demitted office in November 2001