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The Life Story Of Swami Vivekananda

Biography

Swami Vivekanand's name was Narendra Nath Dutta in his pre-monastic life. He was born in an affluent family in Kolkata on 12th January, 1863. His father, Vishwanath Datta, was a successful attorney with interest in varied subjects, and his mother, Bhuvaneshwari Devi, was endowed with qualities like deep devotion, strong character etc. The precocious boy, Narendra mastered music, gymnastics and studies. By the time he completed his graduation from Calcutta University, he had acquired a vast knowledge of different subjects, especially Western philosophy and history. He had a yogic temperament and used to practice meditation even from his boyhood, and was also involved in 'Brahmo Movement' for time being.

Meeting the Mentor

At the threshold of youth, Narendra had to undergo a period of spiritual crisis when he was confused by doubts about the very existence of God. And at that time, he came to know about Shri Ramakrishna from his English professor at college. In November 1881, one day Narendra went to meet Shri Ramakrishna at the Kali Temple in Dakshineshwar. He straight away asked him a question, which he had asked to several others but had received no satisfactory answer, "Sir, have you seen God?"

Without a moment's hesitation, Shri Ramakrishna replied, "Yes, I have. I can see Him as clearly as I see you, only in a much deeper sense."


Shri Ramakrishna not only removed doubts from the mind of Narendra, but also won him over through his pure, selfless love. And thus began a unique Guru-disciple relationship in the history of spiritualism. Narendra now started visiting Dakshineshwar frequently and, under the guidance of the Guru, made rapid progress on the spiritual path. At Dakshineshwar, Narendra also met many youngsters who were devoted to Shri Ramakrishna, and they all became close pals.

Tough Times

After a few years two incidents distressed Narendra considerably. One was the sudden death of his father in 1884, leaving his family in miserable condition. Hence, Narendra had to bear the burden of supporting his mother, brothers and sisters. The second event was the illness of Shri Ramakrishna which was diagnosed as throat cancer. In September 1885, Shri Ramakrishna was taken to a house at Shyampukur, and a few months later to a rented villa at Cossipore. At these two places the young disciples nursed their Guru with utmost care. Though there was poverty at home, as he was unemployed, Narendra had lead his fellows.

Exploring the Real India

During his travels across India, Swami Vivekanand was deeply touched by the terrible poverty and backwardness of the people. He was the first religious leader in India to understand and openly declare that the real cause of India's ruin was the neglect of the masses. The urgent need was to provide food and other bare requirements of life to the starving millions. For this, they should be trained about improved agricultural techniques, village industries, etc. It was in this context that Vivekanand grasped the core problem of poverty in India, which had never attracted the attention of social reformers of those days. Because of centuries of repression, the exploited masses had lost the confidence in their ability to improve. The priority was to instill into their minds the faith in themselves and for this they needed a revitalizing and inspiring message. Vivekanand could find this message in the principle of the Atman, the doctrine of the potential divinity of the soul, taught in Vedanta, the ancient system of religious philosophy of India. He saw that, in spite of poverty, the masses adhered to religion. But they had never been enlightened by the stimulating principles of Vedanta and how to apply them in practical life. Thus, the people needed two kinds of knowledge, firstly, secular knowledge to improve their economic condition and secondly, spiritual knowledge to infuse self-confidence and reinforce their morality. The challenge was to spread these two kinds of knowledge among the people. Education was the only answer that Vivekanand found.

Need for an Organization

Vivekanandji was very clear that to carry out his plans for the spread of education for the strengthening of the poor people, including women, an efficient organization of committed people was required. As he stated later on that he wanted to set in motion, a mechanism, which could bring the noblest of ideas to the doorstep of even the poorest and the meanest. A few years later, Swamiji founded the Ramakrishna Mission to serve as a part of this 'mechanism'.

Decision to attend the Parliament of Religions

It was when these ideas were taking shape in his mind in the course of his wanderings that Swami Vivekananda heard about the World's Parliament of Religions to be held in Chicago in 1893. His friends and admirers in India wanted him to attend the Parliament. He too felt that the Parliament would provide the right forum to present his Master's message to the world, and so he decided to go to America. Another reason which prompted Swamiji to go to America was to seek financial help for his project of uplifting the masses.

Swamiji, however, wanted to have an inner certitude and divine call regarding his mission. Both of these he got while he sat in deep meditation on the rock-island at Kanyakumari. With the funds partly collected by his Chennai disciples and partly provided by the Raja of Khetri, Swami Vivekananda left for America from Mumbai on 31 May 1893.

The Parliament of Religions

Swami Vivekanand came to know about the World's Parliament of Religions to be held in Chicago in 1893 while he was touring in the country to spread the message of his Guru. His admirers and comrades wanted him to attend the Parliament. He too felt that the Parliament would provide the right platform to present his Guru's message to the world, and thus he decided to go to America. Another reason, which prompted Vivekanandji to go to America, was to seek financial help for his mission of uplifting the masses. He, however, wanted to have an inner conviction and divine call about the mission, which he got while sitting in deep meditation on the rock-island at Kanyakumari. His Chennai disciples managed to collect some funds for his visit to America and rest was provided by the Raja of Khetri, and finally, Swami Vivekanand left for America to participate in the World Parliament of Religions on 31st May, 1893 from Mumbai.

After the Parliament of Religions

He became famous as an 'Orator by Divine Right' and as a 'Messenger of Indian Wisdom to the Western World', after his speeches at the World's Parliament of Religions held in September, 1893 at Chicago, America. After the Parliament, Vivekanandji spent about three and a half years mostly in the eastern parts of USA and also in London to spread the concept of Vedanta as practiced by Shri Ramakrishna.

Awakening of the Countrymen

On returning to India in January 1897, he got enthusiastic welcome everywhere. He delivered a series of lectures in different parts of India, which lead to a great movement all over the country. Vivekanandji's efforts were to do the following through his inspiring and overwhelming lectures :

  • to stir up the religious awareness of the masses and generate pride in their legacy.
  • to amalgamate Hinduism by highlighting the common bases of its sects.
  • to focus the attention of educated people on the plight of the oppressed masses, and to elaborate his plans for their uplift by applying the principles of Practical Vedanta.

Foundation of Ramakrishna Mission

Immediately after returning back to Kolkata, Swami Vivekanand accomplished one of the most important tasks of his mission. He established Ramakrishna Mission on 1st May 1897, a foundation to propagate Practical Vedanta and to carry out various forms of social service, like running hospitals, educational institutes, hostels, rural development centers etc. and conducting massive relief and rehabilitation work for victims of earthquakes, cyclones and other calamities in different parts of India and other countries, jointly by monks and lay people.

Belur Math – The symbol of unity of all religions

In early 1898, Swami Vivekanand acquired a big plot of land on the western bank of the Ganga, at a place known as Belur, to build a monastery as a permanent habitat for the monks, open to all men without any discrimination of religion, race or caste. He got it registered as 'Ramakrishna Math' after two years. Here, Swamiji recognized a new, universal pattern of monastic life which adapts ancient monastic ideals to the conditions of modern life, giving equal importance to personal enlightenment and social service.

Disciples

Many people in the West were influenced by the life and message of Swami Vivekanand. Some of them even became his disciples or devoted fellows. Among them, some of the names that may be specially mentioned are of Margaret Noble (later known as Sister Nivedita), Captain and Mrs. Sevier, Josephine McLeod and Sara Ole Bull, etc. Sister Nivedita dedicated her life for the education of girls in Kolkata. Some of his Indian disciples also joined Ramakrishna Math and became Sanyasis.

Last Days

During his second visit to the West in June 1899, he spent most of his time on the west coast of USA. He delivered many lectures there and returned to Belur Math in December 1900 and spent rest of his life in India, inspiring and guiding people, both monastic and lay. Constant work, especially giving lectures to motivate people, had an adverse effect on Vivekanand's health and his it started deteriorating. Eventually, he breathed his last on the night of 4th July, 1902. Prior to his 'Maha Samadhi', he had written to a Western follower that, "It may be that I shall find it good to get outside my body, to cast it off like a worn out garment. But I shall not stop working and keep inspiring men everywhere until the whole world shall know that it is mingled with God."

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Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam (i/ˈæbdʊl kəˈlɑːm/; born 15 October 1931) usually referred to as Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, is an Indian scientist and administrator who served as the 11th President of India from 2002 to 2007. Kalam was born and raised in Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu, studied physics at the St. Joseph's College, Tiruchirappalli, and aerospace engineering at the Madras Institute of Technology (MIT), Chennai. Before his term as President, he worked as an Aerospace engineer with Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).[1] Kalam is popularly known as the Missile Man of India for his work on the development of ballistic missile and launch vehicle technology.[2] He 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. Some scientific experts have however called Kalam a man with no authority over nuclear physics but who just carried on the works of Homi J. Bhabha and Vikram Sarabhai.[3] Kalam was elected the President of India in 2002, defeating Lakshmi Sahgal and was supported by both the Indian National Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party, the major political parties of India. He is currently a visiting professor at Indian Institute of Management Shillong, Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad and Indian Institute of Management Indore, honorary fellow of Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore,[4] Chancellor of the Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology Thiruvananthapuram, a professor of Aerospace Engineering at Anna University (Chennai), JSS University (Mysore) and an adjunct/visiting faculty at many other academic and research institutions across India. Kalam advocated plans to develop India into a developed nation by 2020 in his book India 2020. He has received several prestigious awards, including the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian honour. Kalam is known for his motivational speeches and interaction with the student community in India.[5] He launched his mission for the youth of the nation in 2011 called the What Can I Give Movement with a central theme to defeat corruption in India. Early life and education A. P. J. Abdul Kalam was born on 15 October 1931 in a Tamil Muslim family to Janubudeen, a boat owner and Ashiamma, a housewife, at Rameswaram, located in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu.[6][7][8][9] He came from a poor background and started working at an early age to supplement his family's income.[10] After completing school, Kalam distributed newspapers to financially contribute to his father's income.[10][11] In his school years, he had average grades, but was described as a bright and hardworking student who had a strong desire to learn and spend hours on his studies, especially mathematics.[11] {{quote > }} After completing his school education at the Ramanathapuram Schwartz Matriculation School, Kalam went on to attend Saint Joseph's College, Tiruchirappalli, then affiliated with the University of Madras, from where he graduated in physics in 1954.[12] Towards the end of the course, he was not enthusiastic about the subject and would later regret the four years he studied it. He then moved to Madras in 1955 to study aerospace engineering.[9] While Kalam was working on a senior class project, the Dean was dissatisfied with the lack of progress and threatened revoking his scholarship unless the project was finished within the next three days. He worked tirelessly on his project and met the deadline, impressing the Dean who later said, "I [Dean] was putting you [Kalam] under stress and asking you to meet a difficult deadline".[13] He narrowly missed achieving his dream of becoming a fighter pilot, as he placed ninth in qualifiers, and only eight positions were available in the IAF.[14] Career as scientist This was my first stage, in which I learnt leadership from three great teachers—Dr. Vikram Sarabhai, Prof. Satish Dhawan and Dr. Brahm Prakash. This was the time of learning and acquisition of knowledge for me. “ ” A. P. J. Abdul Kalam[15] After graduating from Madras Institute of Technology (MIT – Chennai) in 1960, Kalam joined Aeronautical Development Establishment of Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) as a scientist. Kalam started his career by designing a small helicopter for the Indian Army, but remained unconvinced with the choice of his job at DRDO.[16] Kalam was also part of the INCOSPAR committee working under Vikram Sarabhai, the renowned space scientist.[9] In 1969, Kalam was transferred to the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) where he was the project director of India's first indigenous Satellite Launch Vehicle (SLV-III) which successfully deployed the Rohini satellite in near earth's orbit in July 1980. Joining ISRO was one of Kalam's biggest achievements in life and he is said to have found himself when he started to work on the SLV project. Kalam first started work on an expandable rocket project independently at DRDO in 1965.[1] In 1969, Kalam received the government's approval and expanded the program to include more engineers.[15] Kalam addresses engineering students at IIT Guwahati In 1963–64, he visited NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton Virginia, Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland and Wallops Flight Facility situated at Eastern Shore of Virginia.[7][17] During the period between the 1970s and 1990s, Kalam made an effort to develop the Polar SLV and SLV-III projects, both of which proved to be success. Kalam was invited by Raja Ramanna to witness the country's first nuclear test Smiling Buddha as the representative of TBRL, even though he had not participated in the development, test site preparation and weapon designing. In the 1970s, a landmark was achieved by ISRO when the locally built Rohini-1 was launched into space, using the SLV rocket.[18] In the 1970s, Kalam also directed two projects, namely, Project Devil and Project Valiant , which sought to develop ballistic missiles from the technology of the successful SLV programme.[18] Despite the disapproval of Union Cabinet, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi allotted secret funds for these aerospace projects through her discretionary powers under Kalam's directorship.[18] Kalam played an integral role convincing the Union Cabinet to conceal the true nature of these classified aerospace projects.[18] His research and educational leadership brought him great laurels and prestige in 1980s, which prompted the government to initiate an advanced missile program under his directorship.[18] Kalam and Dr. V. S. Arunachalam, metallurgist and scientific adviser to the Defense Minister, worked on the suggestion by the then Defense Minister, R. Venkataraman on a proposal for simultaneous development of a quiver of missiles instead of taking planned missiles one by one.[19] R Venkatraman was instrumental in getting the cabinet approval for allocating 3.88 billion rupees for the mission, named Integrated Guided Missile Development Program (I.G.M.D.P) and appointed Kalam as the chief executive.[19] Kalam played a major part in developing many missiles under the mission including Agni, an intermediate range ballistic missile and Prithvi, the tactical surface-to-surface missile, although the projects have been criticised for mismanagement and cost and time overruns.[19][20] He was the Chief Scientific Adviser to the Prime Minister and the Secretary of Defence Research and Development Organisation from July 1992 to December 1999. The Pokhran-II nuclear tests were conducted during this period where he played an intensive political and technological role. Kalam served as the Chief Project Coordinator, along with R. Chidambaram during the testing phase.[7][21] Photos and snapshots of him taken by the media elevated Kalam as the country's top nuclear scientist.[22] In 1998, along with cardiologist Dr.Soma Raju, Kalam developed a low cost Coronary stent. It was named as "Kalam-Raju Stent" honouring them.[23][24] In 2012, the duo, designed a rugged tablet PC for health care in rural areas, which was named as "Kalam-Raju Tablet".[25] Presidency Kalam served as the 11th President of India, succeeding K. R. Narayanan. He won the 2002 presidential election with an electoral vote of 922,884, surpassing 107,366 votes won by Lakshmi Sahgal. He served from 25 July 2002 to 25 July 2007. On 10 June 2002, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) which was in power at the time, expressed to the leader of opposition, Indian National Congress president Sonia Gandhi that they would propose Kalam for the post of President.[26] The Samajwadi Party and the Nationalist Congress Party backed his candidacy.[27][28] After the Samajwadi Party announced its support for him, Narayanan chose not to seek a second term in office, leaving the field clear for Kalam.[29] I am really overwhelmed. Everywhere both in Internet and in other media, I have been asked for a message. I was thinking what message I can give to the people of the country at this juncture. —Kalam responding to the announcement of his candidature by Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee[30] On 18 June, Kalam filed his nomination papers in the Parliament of India, accompanied by Vajpayee and his senior Cabinet colleagues.[31] Kalam along with Vladimir Putin and Manmohan Singh during his presidency The polling for the presidential election began on 15 July 2002 in the Parliament and the state assemblies with media claiming that the election was a one-sided affair and Kalam's victory was a foregone conclusion. The counting was held on 18 July.[32] Kalam won the presidential election in a highly one-sided contest. He became the 11th president of the Republic of India.[33] He moved into the Rashtrapati Bhavan after he was sworn in on 25 July.[34] Kalam was the third President of India to have been honoured with a Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian honour, before becoming the President. Dr. Sarvapali Radhakrishnan (1954) and Dr. Zakir Hussain (1963) were the earlier recipients of Bharat Ratna who later became the President of India.[35] He was also the first scientist and the first bachelor to occupy Rashtrapati Bhawan.[36] During his term as President, he was affectionately known as the People's President.[37][38][39] In his words, signing the Office of Profit Bill was the toughest decision he had taken during his tenure.[40] Kalam is criticised for inaction as a President in deciding the fate of 20 out of the 21 mercy petitions.[41] Article 72 of the Constitution of India empowers the President of India to grant pardon, suspend and remit death sentences and commute the death sentence of convicts on death row.[41][42] Kalam acted on only one mercy plea in his 5-year tenure as a President, rejecting the plea of rapist Dhananjoy Chatterjee, who was hanged thereafter.[41] The most important of the 20 pleas is thought to be that of Afzal Guru, a Kashmiri terrorist who was convicted of conspiracy in the December 2001 attack on the Indian Parliament and was sentenced to death by the Supreme Court of India in 2004.[42] While the sentence was scheduled to be carried out on 20 October 2006, the pending action on the mercy plea resulted in him continuing in the death row.[42] At the end of his term, on 20 June 2007, Kalam expressed his willingness to consider a second term in office provided there was certainty about his victory in the 2007 presidential election.[43] However, two days later, he decided not to contest the Presidential election again stating that he wanted to avoid involving Rashtrapati Bhavan from any political processes.[44] He did not have the support of the Left parties, Shiv Sena and UPA constituents to receive a renewed mandate.[45][46] Nearing the term expiry of the 12th President Pratibha Patil, whose tenure ended on 24 July 2012, media reports in April claimed that Kalam was likely to be nominated for his second term.[47][48][49] After the reports, social networking sites were abuzz with activities extending their support for his candidature.[50][51] BJP potentially backed his nomination, saying that the party will lend their support if Trinamool Congress, Samajwadi Party and Indian National Congress proposes his name for the 2012 presidential election.[52][53] Just a month ahead of the election, Mulayam Singh Yadav and Mamata Banerjee also expressed their support to Kalam and revealed that they both would suggest his name.[54] Days after expressing support, Mulayam Singh Yadav backed out, leaving Mamata Banerjee as a solitary supporter.[55] On 18 June 2012, Kalam refused to contest 2012 presidential poll after much speculations.[56] Many, many citizens have also expressed the same wish. It only reflects their love and affection for me and the aspiration of the people. I am really overwhelmed by this support. This being their wish, I respect it. I want to thank them for the trust they have in me." —Kalam's message to public upon denying to contest Presidential poll 2012.[56] Criticisms and controversies The controversy that surrounds Kalam's role as a nuclear scientist, is the lack of reliable and factual reporting of the yield of Pokhran-II tests.[57] The director of the site test, K. Santhanam, publicly admitted that the thermonuclear bomb was a "fizzle" test, criticising Kalam for issuing the wrong report.[57] However, Kalam dismissed the claims and R. Chidambaram, a key associate of Pokhran-II, also described these claims as incorrect.[58] Personal attacks In spite of his leading role in the development of Indian nuclear programme, Kalam has received criticism from many of his peers who claimed that he had "no authority" over nuclear science.[59] Homi Sethna, a chemical engineer criticised Kalam claiming that Kalam had no background in publishing articles in nuclear science, even in nuclear physics. Sethna maintained that Kalam received his masters degree in aerospace engineering, which is a completely different discipline from nuclear engineering, and what various universities awarded him for his achievements had nothing to do with nuclear physics. Sethna, in his last interview, maintained that in the 1950s, Kalam had failed advanced physics courses during his college life and quoted "What does he know (about [nuclear] physics)....?", on the national television. Homi Sethna also accused Kalam of using his presidency to gain a national stature of a nuclear scientist.[60] Others felt that Kalam had never worked in any of the Indian nuclear power plants and had no role in developing the nuclear weapon which was completed under Raja Ramanna.[61] Kalam worked as an aerospace engineer in a SLV project in the 1970s and from the 1980s onwards, as a project director before he moved to Defence Research and Development Organisation.[62] In 2008, Indian media questioned his claims about his personal contributions to missile inventions while working in a classified missile programme. The media questioned Kalam taking credit of inventing the Agni, Prithvi and Aakash missile system, while all of these were developed, researched and designed by a group of scientists headed by Kalam and he was involved in getting the funds and other logistic tasks. Ram Narain Agarwal, former director, Advanced System Laboratory and former Program Director of Agni missile was considered to be the real architect behind the successful design of Agni Missile.[62][63] In his own biography, Kalam credited the development of Agni missile to Dr. Ram Narain Agarwal, an alumnus of MIT. For the Prithvi missile project, he named Col VJ Sundaram as the brain behind this project and for the Trishul missile, he gave credit to Commander SR Mohan.[64] In 2006, senior media correspondent Praful Bidwai, in the The Daily Star, wrote that two aerospace projects, Project Valiant and Project Devil, which were authorised by former Prime Minister Smt. Indira Gandhi under the directorship of A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, resulted in "total failure". In the 1980s, these projects were ultimately cancelled by the government under the pressure of the Indian Army.[65] Kalam was also criticised by civil groups over his stand on the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant, where he supported setting up of the nuclear power plant and never spoke with the local people.[66] The protesters were hostile to his visit as they perceived to him to be a pro-nuclear scientist and were unimpressed by the assurance provided by him on the safety features of the plant.[67] Frisking by American security authorities Kalam was frisked at the JFK Airport in New York, while boarding a plane on 29 September 2011. He was subjected to "private screening" as he does not come under the category of dignitaries exempt from security screening procedures under American guidelines. He was frisked again after boarding the Air India aircraft with the US security officials asking for his jacket and shoes, claiming that these items were not checked according to the prescribed procedures during the "private screening", despite protests from the airline crew confirming him as India's ex-president.[68][69] The incident was not reported until 13 November 2011.[70] India threatened retaliatory action as there was a "general sense of outrage" around the country.[71] The Indian Ministry of External Affairs protested over this incident and a statement by the ministry said that the US Government had written a letter to Kalam, expressing its deep regret for the inconvenience.[69] Kalam was previously frisked by the ground staff of the Continental Airlines at the Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi in July 2009 and was treated like an ordinary passenger, despite him being on the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security's list of people exempted from security screening in India.[72] Future India: 2020 A. P. J. Abdul Kalam delivering a speech In his book India 2020, Kalam strongly advocates an action plan to develop India into a knowledge superpower and a developed nation by the year 2020. He regards his work on India's nuclear weapons program as a way to assert India's place as a future superpower. It was reported that, there was a considerable demand in South Korea for translated versions of books authored by him.[73] Kalam continues to take an active interest in other developments in the field of science and technology. He has proposed a research program for developing bio-implants. He is a supporter of Open Source over proprietary solutions and believes that the use of free software on a large scale will bring the benefits of information technology to more people.[74] Kalam set a target of interacting with 100,000 students during the two years after his resignation from the post of scientific adviser in 1999.[11] In his own words, "I feel comfortable in the company of young people, particularly high school students. Henceforth, I intend to share with them experiences, helping them to ignite their imagination and preparing them to work for a developed India for which the road map is already available."[11] He continued to interact with students during his term as a President and also during his post-presidency period as a visiting professor at Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad[75] and Indian Institute of Management Indore,[76] Chancellor of Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology Thiruvananthapuram,[77] a professor of Aerospace Engineering at Anna University (Chennai),[78] JSS University (Mysore),[79] and an adjunct/visiting faculty at many other academic and research institutions across India. Kalam is strong supporter of Space based solar power.[80] In 2012 China proposed joint development between India and China towards developing a solar power satellite, during a visit by Kalam.[81] Popular culture In May 2012, Kalam launched his mission for the youth of the nation called the What Can I Give Movement with a central theme to defeat corruption.[82][83] He also has interests in writing Tamil poetry and in playing veenai, a South Indian string instrument.[84] He was nominated for the MTV Youth Icon of the Year award in 2003[85][86] and in 2006.[87] In the 2011 Hindi film I Am Kalam, Kalam is portrayed as an extremely positive influence to a poor but bright Rajasthani boy named Chhotu, who renames himself Kalam in honour of his idol.[88] Awards and honours A. P. J. Abdul Kalam's 79th birthday was recognised as World Student's Day by United Nations.[89] He has also received honorary doctorates from 40 universities.[90][91] The Government of India has honoured him with the Padma Bhushan in 1981 and the Padma Vibhushan in 1990 for his work with ISRO and DRDO and his role as a scientific advisor to the Government.[92] In 1997, Kalam received India's highest civilian honour, the Bharat Ratna, for his immense and valuable contribution to the scientific research and modernisation of defence technology in India.[93] In 2005, Switzerland declared 26 May as science day to commemorate Kalam's visit in the country.[94]
Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam (i/ˈæbdʊl kəˈlɑːm/; born 15 October 1931) usually referred to as Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, is an Indian scientist and administrator who served as the 11th President of India from 2002 to 2007. Kalam was born and raised in Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu, studied physics at the St. Joseph's College, Tiruchirappalli, and aerospace engineering at the Madras Institute of Technology (MIT), Chennai. Before his term as President, he worked as an Aerospace engineer with Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).[1] Kalam is popularly known as the Missile Man of India for his work on the development of ballistic missile and launch vehicle technology.[2] He 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. Some scientific experts have however called Kalam a man with no authority over nuclear physics but who just carried on the works of Homi J. Bhabha and Vikram Sarabhai.[3] Kalam was elected the President of India in 2002, defeating Lakshmi Sahgal and was supported by both the Indian National Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party, the major political parties of India. He is currently a visiting professor at Indian Institute of Management Shillong, Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad and Indian Institute of Management Indore, honorary fellow of Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore,[4] Chancellor of the Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology Thiruvananthapuram, a professor of Aerospace Engineering at Anna University (Chennai), JSS University (Mysore) and an adjunct/visiting faculty at many other academic and research institutions across India. Kalam advocated plans to develop India into a developed nation by 2020 in his book India 2020. He has received several prestigious awards, including the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian honour. Kalam is known for his motivational speeches and interaction with the student community in India.[5] He launched his mission for the youth of the nation in 2011 called the What Can I Give Movement with a central theme to defeat corruption in India. Early life and education A. P. J. Abdul Kalam was born on 15 October 1931 in a Tamil Muslim family to Janubudeen, a boat owner and Ashiamma, a housewife, at Rameswaram, located in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu.[6][7][8][9] He came from a poor background and started working at an early age to supplement his family's income.[10] After completing school, Kalam distributed newspapers to financially contribute to his father's income.[10][11] In his school years, he had average grades, but was described as a bright and hardworking student who had a strong desire to learn and spend hours on his studies, especially mathematics.[11] {{quote > }} After completing his school education at the Ramanathapuram Schwartz Matriculation School, Kalam went on to attend Saint Joseph's College, Tiruchirappalli, then affiliated with the University of Madras, from where he graduated in physics in 1954.[12] Towards the end of the course, he was not enthusiastic about the subject and would later regret the four years he studied it. He then moved to Madras in 1955 to study aerospace engineering.[9] While Kalam was working on a senior class project, the Dean was dissatisfied with the lack of progress and threatened revoking his scholarship unless the project was finished within the next three days. He worked tirelessly on his project and met the deadline, impressing the Dean who later said, "I [Dean] was putting you [Kalam] under stress and asking you to meet a difficult deadline".[13] He narrowly missed achieving his dream of becoming a fighter pilot, as he placed ninth in qualifiers, and only eight positions were available in the IAF.[14] Career as scientist This was my first stage, in which I learnt leadership from three great teachers—Dr. Vikram Sarabhai, Prof. Satish Dhawan and Dr. Brahm Prakash. This was the time of learning and acquisition of knowledge for me. “ ” A. P. J. Abdul Kalam[15] After graduating from Madras Institute of Technology (MIT – Chennai) in 1960, Kalam joined Aeronautical Development Establishment of Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) as a scientist. Kalam started his career by designing a small helicopter for the Indian Army, but remained unconvinced with the choice of his job at DRDO.[16] Kalam was also part of the INCOSPAR committee working under Vikram Sarabhai, the renowned space scientist.[9] In 1969, Kalam was transferred to the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) where he was the project director of India's first indigenous Satellite Launch Vehicle (SLV-III) which successfully deployed the Rohini satellite in near earth's orbit in July 1980. Joining ISRO was one of Kalam's biggest achievements in life and he is said to have found himself when he started to work on the SLV project. Kalam first started work on an expandable rocket project independently at DRDO in 1965.[1] In 1969, Kalam received the government's approval and expanded the program to include more engineers.[15] Kalam addresses engineering students at IIT Guwahati In 1963–64, he visited NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton Virginia, Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland and Wallops Flight Facility situated at Eastern Shore of Virginia.[7][17] During the period between the 1970s and 1990s, Kalam made an effort to develop the Polar SLV and SLV-III projects, both of which proved to be success. Kalam was invited by Raja Ramanna to witness the country's first nuclear test Smiling Buddha as the representative of TBRL, even though he had not participated in the development, test site preparation and weapon designing. In the 1970s, a landmark was achieved by ISRO when the locally built Rohini-1 was launched into space, using the SLV rocket.[18] In the 1970s, Kalam also directed two projects, namely, Project Devil and Project Valiant , which sought to develop ballistic missiles from the technology of the successful SLV programme.[18] Despite the disapproval of Union Cabinet, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi allotted secret funds for these aerospace projects through her discretionary powers under Kalam's directorship.[18] Kalam played an integral role convincing the Union Cabinet to conceal the true nature of these classified aerospace projects.[18] His research and educational leadership brought him great laurels and prestige in 1980s, which prompted the government to initiate an advanced missile program under his directorship.[18] Kalam and Dr. V. S. Arunachalam, metallurgist and scientific adviser to the Defense Minister, worked on the suggestion by the then Defense Minister, R. Venkataraman on a proposal for simultaneous development of a quiver of missiles instead of taking planned missiles one by one.[19] R Venkatraman was instrumental in getting the cabinet approval for allocating 3.88 billion rupees for the mission, named Integrated Guided Missile Development Program (I.G.M.D.P) and appointed Kalam as the chief executive.[19] Kalam played a major part in developing many missiles under the mission including Agni, an intermediate range ballistic missile and Prithvi, the tactical surface-to-surface missile, although the projects have been criticised for mismanagement and cost and time overruns.[19][20] He was the Chief Scientific Adviser to the Prime Minister and the Secretary of Defence Research and Development Organisation from July 1992 to December 1999. The Pokhran-II nuclear tests were conducted during this period where he played an intensive political and technological role. Kalam served as the Chief Project Coordinator, along with R. Chidambaram during the testing phase.[7][21] Photos and snapshots of him taken by the media elevated Kalam as the country's top nuclear scientist.[22] In 1998, along with cardiologist Dr.Soma Raju, Kalam developed a low cost Coronary stent. It was named as "Kalam-Raju Stent" honouring them.[23][24] In 2012, the duo, designed a rugged tablet PC for health care in rural areas, which was named as "Kalam-Raju Tablet".[25] Presidency Kalam served as the 11th President of India, succeeding K. R. Narayanan. He won the 2002 presidential election with an electoral vote of 922,884, surpassing 107,366 votes won by Lakshmi Sahgal. He served from 25 July 2002 to 25 July 2007. On 10 June 2002, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) which was in power at the time, expressed to the leader of opposition, Indian National Congress president Sonia Gandhi that they would propose Kalam for the post of President.[26] The Samajwadi Party and the Nationalist Congress Party backed his candidacy.[27][28] After the Samajwadi Party announced its support for him, Narayanan chose not to seek a second term in office, leaving the field clear for Kalam.[29] I am really overwhelmed. Everywhere both in Internet and in other media, I have been asked for a message. I was thinking what message I can give to the people of the country at this juncture. —Kalam responding to the announcement of his candidature by Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee[30] On 18 June, Kalam filed his nomination papers in the Parliament of India, accompanied by Vajpayee and his senior Cabinet colleagues.[31] Kalam along with Vladimir Putin and Manmohan Singh during his presidency The polling for the presidential election began on 15 July 2002 in the Parliament and the state assemblies with media claiming that the election was a one-sided affair and Kalam's victory was a foregone conclusion. The counting was held on 18 July.[32] Kalam won the presidential election in a highly one-sided contest. He became the 11th president of the Republic of India.[33] He moved into the Rashtrapati Bhavan after he was sworn in on 25 July.[34] Kalam was the third President of India to have been honoured with a Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian honour, before becoming the President. Dr. Sarvapali Radhakrishnan (1954) and Dr. Zakir Hussain (1963) were the earlier recipients of Bharat Ratna who later became the President of India.[35] He was also the first scientist and the first bachelor to occupy Rashtrapati Bhawan.[36] During his term as President, he was affectionately known as the People's President.[37][38][39] In his words, signing the Office of Profit Bill was the toughest decision he had taken during his tenure.[40] Kalam is criticised for inaction as a President in deciding the fate of 20 out of the 21 mercy petitions.[41] Article 72 of the Constitution of India empowers the President of India to grant pardon, suspend and remit death sentences and commute the death sentence of convicts on death row.[41][42] Kalam acted on only one mercy plea in his 5-year tenure as a President, rejecting the plea of rapist Dhananjoy Chatterjee, who was hanged thereafter.[41] The most important of the 20 pleas is thought to be that of Afzal Guru, a Kashmiri terrorist who was convicted of conspiracy in the December 2001 attack on the Indian Parliament and was sentenced to death by the Supreme Court of India in 2004.[42] While the sentence was scheduled to be carried out on 20 October 2006, the pending action on the mercy plea resulted in him continuing in the death row.[42] At the end of his term, on 20 June 2007, Kalam expressed his willingness to consider a second term in office provided there was certainty about his victory in the 2007 presidential election.[43] However, two days later, he decided not to contest the Presidential election again stating that he wanted to avoid involving Rashtrapati Bhavan from any political processes.[44] He did not have the support of the Left parties, Shiv Sena and UPA constituents to receive a renewed mandate.[45][46] Nearing the term expiry of the 12th President Pratibha Patil, whose tenure ended on 24 July 2012, media reports in April claimed that Kalam was likely to be nominated for his second term.[47][48][49] After the reports, social networking sites were abuzz with activities extending their support for his candidature.[50][51] BJP potentially backed his nomination, saying that the party will lend their support if Trinamool Congress, Samajwadi Party and Indian National Congress proposes his name for the 2012 presidential election.[52][53] Just a month ahead of the election, Mulayam Singh Yadav and Mamata Banerjee also expressed their support to Kalam and revealed that they both would suggest his name.[54] Days after expressing support, Mulayam Singh Yadav backed out, leaving Mamata Banerjee as a solitary supporter.[55] On 18 June 2012, Kalam refused to contest 2012 presidential poll after much speculations.[56] Many, many citizens have also expressed the same wish. It only reflects their love and affection for me and the aspiration of the people. I am really overwhelmed by this support. This being their wish, I respect it. I want to thank them for the trust they have in me." —Kalam's message to public upon denying to contest Presidential poll 2012.[56] Criticisms and controversies The controversy that surrounds Kalam's role as a nuclear scientist, is the lack of reliable and factual reporting of the yield of Pokhran-II tests.[57] The director of the site test, K. Santhanam, publicly admitted that the thermonuclear bomb was a "fizzle" test, criticising Kalam for issuing the wrong report.[57] However, Kalam dismissed the claims and R. Chidambaram, a key associate of Pokhran-II, also described these claims as incorrect.[58] Personal attacks In spite of his leading role in the development of Indian nuclear programme, Kalam has received criticism from many of his peers who claimed that he had "no authority" over nuclear science.[59] Homi Sethna, a chemical engineer criticised Kalam claiming that Kalam had no background in publishing articles in nuclear science, even in nuclear physics. Sethna maintained that Kalam received his masters degree in aerospace engineering, which is a completely different discipline from nuclear engineering, and what various universities awarded him for his achievements had nothing to do with nuclear physics. Sethna, in his last interview, maintained that in the 1950s, Kalam had failed advanced physics courses during his college life and quoted "What does he know (about [nuclear] physics)....?", on the national television. Homi Sethna also accused Kalam of using his presidency to gain a national stature of a nuclear scientist.[60] Others felt that Kalam had never worked in any of the Indian nuclear power plants and had no role in developing the nuclear weapon which was completed under Raja Ramanna.[61] Kalam worked as an aerospace engineer in a SLV project in the 1970s and from the 1980s onwards, as a project director before he moved to Defence Research and Development Organisation.[62] In 2008, Indian media questioned his claims about his personal contributions to missile inventions while working in a classified missile programme. The media questioned Kalam taking credit of inventing the Agni, Prithvi and Aakash missile system, while all of these were developed, researched and designed by a group of scientists headed by Kalam and he was involved in getting the funds and other logistic tasks. Ram Narain Agarwal, former director, Advanced System Laboratory and former Program Director of Agni missile was considered to be the real architect behind the successful design of Agni Missile.[62][63] In his own biography, Kalam credited the development of Agni missile to Dr. Ram Narain Agarwal, an alumnus of MIT. For the Prithvi missile project, he named Col VJ Sundaram as the brain behind this project and for the Trishul missile, he gave credit to Commander SR Mohan.[64] In 2006, senior media correspondent Praful Bidwai, in the The Daily Star, wrote that two aerospace projects, Project Valiant and Project Devil, which were authorised by former Prime Minister Smt. Indira Gandhi under the directorship of A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, resulted in "total failure". In the 1980s, these projects were ultimately cancelled by the government under the pressure of the Indian Army.[65] Kalam was also criticised by civil groups over his stand on the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant, where he supported setting up of the nuclear power plant and never spoke with the local people.[66] The protesters were hostile to his visit as they perceived to him to be a pro-nuclear scientist and were unimpressed by the assurance provided by him on the safety features of the plant.[67] Frisking by American security authorities Kalam was frisked at the JFK Airport in New York, while boarding a plane on 29 September 2011. He was subjected to "private screening" as he does not come under the category of dignitaries exempt from security screening procedures under American guidelines. He was frisked again after boarding the Air India aircraft with the US security officials asking for his jacket and shoes, claiming that these items were not checked according to the prescribed procedures during the "private screening", despite protests from the airline crew confirming him as India's ex-president.[68][69] The incident was not reported until 13 November 2011.[70] India threatened retaliatory action as there was a "general sense of outrage" around the country.[71] The Indian Ministry of External Affairs protested over this incident and a statement by the ministry said that the US Government had written a letter to Kalam, expressing its deep regret for the inconvenience.[69] Kalam was previously frisked by the ground staff of the Continental Airlines at the Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi in July 2009 and was treated like an ordinary passenger, despite him being on the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security's list of people exempted from security screening in India.[72] Future India: 2020 A. P. J. Abdul Kalam delivering a speech In his book India 2020, Kalam strongly advocates an action plan to develop India into a knowledge superpower and a developed nation by the year 2020. He regards his work on India's nuclear weapons program as a way to assert India's place as a future superpower. It was reported that, there was a considerable demand in South Korea for translated versions of books authored by him.[73] Kalam continues to take an active interest in other developments in the field of science and technology. He has proposed a research program for developing bio-implants. He is a supporter of Open Source over proprietary solutions and believes that the use of free software on a large scale will bring the benefits of information technology to more people.[74] Kalam set a target of interacting with 100,000 students during the two years after his resignation from the post of scientific adviser in 1999.[11] In his own words, "I feel comfortable in the company of young people, particularly high school students. Henceforth, I intend to share with them experiences, helping them to ignite their imagination and preparing them to work for a developed India for which the road map is already available."[11] He continued to interact with students during his term as a President and also during his post-presidency period as a visiting professor at Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad[75] and Indian Institute of Management Indore,[76] Chancellor of Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology Thiruvananthapuram,[77] a professor of Aerospace Engineering at Anna University (Chennai),[78] JSS University (Mysore),[79] and an adjunct/visiting faculty at many other academic and research institutions across India. Kalam is strong supporter of Space based solar power.[80] In 2012 China proposed joint development between India and China towards developing a solar power satellite, during a visit by Kalam.[81] Popular culture In May 2012, Kalam launched his mission for the youth of the nation called the What Can I Give Movement with a central theme to defeat corruption.[82][83] He also has interests in writing Tamil poetry and in playing veenai, a South Indian string instrument.[84] He was nominated for the MTV Youth Icon of the Year award in 2003[85][86] and in 2006.[87] In the 2011 Hindi film I Am Kalam, Kalam is portrayed as an extremely positive influence to a poor but bright Rajasthani boy named Chhotu, who renames himself Kalam in honour of his idol.[88] Awards and honours A. P. J. Abdul Kalam's 79th birthday was recognised as World Student's Day by United Nations.[89] He has also received honorary doctorates from 40 universities.[90][91] The Government of India has honoured him with the Padma Bhushan in 1981 and the Padma Vibhushan in 1990 for his work with ISRO and DRDO and his role as a scientific advisor to the Government.[92] In 1997, Kalam received India's highest civilian honour, the Bharat Ratna, for his immense and valuable contribution to the scientific research and modernisation of defence technology in India.[93] In 2005, Switzerland declared 26 May as science day to commemorate Kalam's visit in the country.[94]
Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam (i/ˈæbdʊl kəˈlɑːm/; born 15 October 1931) usually referred to as Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, is an Indian scientist and administrator who served as the 11th President of India from 2002 to 2007. Kalam was born and raised in Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu, studied physics at the St. Joseph's College, Tiruchirappalli, and aerospace engineering at the Madras Institute of Technology (MIT), Chennai. Before his term as President, he worked as an Aerospace engineer with Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).[1] Kalam is popularly known as the Missile Man of India for his work on the development of ballistic missile and launch vehicle technology.[2] He 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. Some scientific experts have however called Kalam a man with no authority over nuclear physics but who just carried on the works of Homi J. Bhabha and Vikram Sarabhai.[3] Kalam was elected the President of India in 2002, defeating Lakshmi Sahgal and was supported by both the Indian National Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party, the major political parties of India. He is currently a visiting professor at Indian Institute of Management Shillong, Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad and Indian Institute of Management Indore, honorary fellow of Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore,[4] Chancellor of the Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology Thiruvananthapuram, a professor of Aerospace Engineering at Anna University (Chennai), JSS University (Mysore) and an adjunct/visiting faculty at many other academic and research institutions across India. Kalam advocated plans to develop India into a developed nation by 2020 in his book India 2020. He has received several prestigious awards, including the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian honour. Kalam is known for his motivational speeches and interaction with the student community in India.[5] He launched his mission for the youth of the nation in 2011 called the What Can I Give Movement with a central theme to defeat corruption in India. Early life and education A. P. J. Abdul Kalam was born on 15 October 1931 in a Tamil Muslim family to Janubudeen, a boat owner and Ashiamma, a housewife, at Rameswaram, located in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu.[6][7][8][9] He came from a poor background and started working at an early age to supplement his family's income.[10] After completing school, Kalam distributed newspapers to financially contribute to his father's income.[10][11] In his school years, he had average grades, but was described as a bright and hardworking student who had a strong desire to learn and spend hours on his studies, especially mathematics.[11] {{quote > }} After completing his school education at the Ramanathapuram Schwartz Matriculation School, Kalam went on to attend Saint Joseph's College, Tiruchirappalli, then affiliated with the University of Madras, from where he graduated in physics in 1954.[12] Towards the end of the course, he was not enthusiastic about the subject and would later regret the four years he studied it. He then moved to Madras in 1955 to study aerospace engineering.[9] While Kalam was working on a senior class project, the Dean was dissatisfied with the lack of progress and threatened revoking his scholarship unless the project was finished within the next three days. He worked tirelessly on his project and met the deadline, impressing the Dean who later said, "I [Dean] was putting you [Kalam] under stress and asking you to meet a difficult deadline".[13] He narrowly missed achieving his dream of becoming a fighter pilot, as he placed ninth in qualifiers, and only eight positions were available in the IAF.[14] Career as scientist This was my first stage, in which I learnt leadership from three great teachers—Dr. Vikram Sarabhai, Prof. Satish Dhawan and Dr. Brahm Prakash. This was the time of learning and acquisition of knowledge for me. “ ” A. P. J. Abdul Kalam[15] After graduating from Madras Institute of Technology (MIT – Chennai) in 1960, Kalam joined Aeronautical Development Establishment of Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) as a scientist. Kalam started his career by designing a small helicopter for the Indian Army, but remained unconvinced with the choice of his job at DRDO.[16] Kalam was also part of the INCOSPAR committee working under Vikram Sarabhai, the renowned space scientist.[9] In 1969, Kalam was transferred to the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) where he was the project director of India's first indigenous Satellite Launch Vehicle (SLV-III) which successfully deployed the Rohini satellite in near earth's orbit in July 1980. Joining ISRO was one of Kalam's biggest achievements in life and he is said to have found himself when he started to work on the SLV project. Kalam first started work on an expandable rocket project independently at DRDO in 1965.[1] In 1969, Kalam received the government's approval and expanded the program to include more engineers.[15] Kalam addresses engineering students at IIT Guwahati In 1963–64, he visited NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton Virginia, Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland and Wallops Flight Facility situated at Eastern Shore of Virginia.[7][17] During the period between the 1970s and 1990s, Kalam made an effort to develop the Polar SLV and SLV-III projects, both of which proved to be success. Kalam was invited by Raja Ramanna to witness the country's first nuclear test Smiling Buddha as the representative of TBRL, even though he had not participated in the development, test site preparation and weapon designing. In the 1970s, a landmark was achieved by ISRO when the locally built Rohini-1 was launched into space, using the SLV rocket.[18] In the 1970s, Kalam also directed two projects, namely, Project Devil and Project Valiant , which sought to develop ballistic missiles from the technology of the successful SLV programme.[18] Despite the disapproval of Union Cabinet, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi allotted secret funds for these aerospace projects through her discretionary powers under Kalam's directorship.[18] Kalam played an integral role convincing the Union Cabinet to conceal the true nature of these classified aerospace projects.[18] His research and educational leadership brought him great laurels and prestige in 1980s, which prompted the government to initiate an advanced missile program under his directorship.[18] Kalam and Dr. V. S. Arunachalam, metallurgist and scientific adviser to the Defense Minister, worked on the suggestion by the then Defense Minister, R. Venkataraman on a proposal for simultaneous development of a quiver of missiles instead of taking planned missiles one by one.[19] R Venkatraman was instrumental in getting the cabinet approval for allocating 3.88 billion rupees for the mission, named Integrated Guided Missile Development Program (I.G.M.D.P) and appointed Kalam as the chief executive.[19] Kalam played a major part in developing many missiles under the mission including Agni, an intermediate range ballistic missile and Prithvi, the tactical surface-to-surface missile, although the projects have been criticised for mismanagement and cost and time overruns.[19][20] He was the Chief Scientific Adviser to the Prime Minister and the Secretary of Defence Research and Development Organisation from July 1992 to December 1999. The Pokhran-II nuclear tests were conducted during this period where he played an intensive political and technological role. Kalam served as the Chief Project Coordinator, along with R. Chidambaram during the testing phase.[7][21] Photos and snapshots of him taken by the media elevated Kalam as the country's top nuclear scientist.[22] In 1998, along with cardiologist Dr.Soma Raju, Kalam developed a low cost Coronary stent. It was named as "Kalam-Raju Stent" honouring them.[23][24] In 2012, the duo, designed a rugged tablet PC for health care in rural areas, which was named as "Kalam-Raju Tablet".[25] Presidency Kalam served as the 11th President of India, succeeding K. R. Narayanan. He won the 2002 presidential election with an electoral vote of 922,884, surpassing 107,366 votes won by Lakshmi Sahgal. He served from 25 July 2002 to 25 July 2007. On 10 June 2002, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) which was in power at the time, expressed to the leader of opposition, Indian National Congress president Sonia Gandhi that they would propose Kalam for the post of President.[26] The Samajwadi Party and the Nationalist Congress Party backed his candidacy.[27][28] After the Samajwadi Party announced its support for him, Narayanan chose not to seek a second term in office, leaving the field clear for Kalam.[29] I am really overwhelmed. Everywhere both in Internet and in other media, I have been asked for a message. I was thinking what message I can give to the people of the country at this juncture. —Kalam responding to the announcement of his candidature by Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee[30] On 18 June, Kalam filed his nomination papers in the Parliament of India, accompanied by Vajpayee and his senior Cabinet colleagues.[31] Kalam along with Vladimir Putin and Manmohan Singh during his presidency The polling for the presidential election began on 15 July 2002 in the Parliament and the state assemblies with media claiming that the election was a one-sided affair and Kalam's victory was a foregone conclusion. The counting was held on 18 July.[32] Kalam won the presidential election in a highly one-sided contest. He became the 11th president of the Republic of India.[33] He moved into the Rashtrapati Bhavan after he was sworn in on 25 July.[34] Kalam was the third President of India to have been honoured with a Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian honour, before becoming the President. Dr. Sarvapali Radhakrishnan (1954) and Dr. Zakir Hussain (1963) were the earlier recipients of Bharat Ratna who later became the President of India.[35] He was also the first scientist and the first bachelor to occupy Rashtrapati Bhawan.[36] During his term as President, he was affectionately known as the People's President.[37][38][39] In his words, signing the Office of Profit Bill was the toughest decision he had taken during his tenure.[40] Kalam is criticised for inaction as a President in deciding the fate of 20 out of the 21 mercy petitions.[41] Article 72 of the Constitution of India empowers the President of India to grant pardon, suspend and remit death sentences and commute the death sentence of convicts on death row.[41][42] Kalam acted on only one mercy plea in his 5-year tenure as a President, rejecting the plea of rapist Dhananjoy Chatterjee, who was hanged thereafter.[41] The most important of the 20 pleas is thought to be that of Afzal Guru, a Kashmiri terrorist who was convicted of conspiracy in the December 2001 attack on the Indian Parliament and was sentenced to death by the Supreme Court of India in 2004.[42] While the sentence was scheduled to be carried out on 20 October 2006, the pending action on the mercy plea resulted in him continuing in the death row.[42] At the end of his term, on 20 June 2007, Kalam expressed his willingness to consider a second term in office provided there was certainty about his victory in the 2007 presidential election.[43] However, two days later, he decided not to contest the Presidential election again stating that he wanted to avoid involving Rashtrapati Bhavan from any political processes.[44] He did not have the support of the Left parties, Shiv Sena and UPA constituents to receive a renewed mandate.[45][46] Nearing the term expiry of the 12th President Pratibha Patil, whose tenure ended on 24 July 2012, media reports in April claimed that Kalam was likely to be nominated for his second term.[47][48][49] After the reports, social networking sites were abuzz with activities extending their support for his candidature.[50][51] BJP potentially backed his nomination, saying that the party will lend their support if Trinamool Congress, Samajwadi Party and Indian National Congress proposes his name for the 2012 presidential election.[52][53] Just a month ahead of the election, Mulayam Singh Yadav and Mamata Banerjee also expressed their support to Kalam and revealed that they both would suggest his name.[54] Days after expressing support, Mulayam Singh Yadav backed out, leaving Mamata Banerjee as a solitary supporter.[55] On 18 June 2012, Kalam refused to contest 2012 presidential poll after much speculations.[56] Many, many citizens have also expressed the same wish. It only reflects their love and affection for me and the aspiration of the people. I am really overwhelmed by this support. This being their wish, I respect it. I want to thank them for the trust they have in me." —Kalam's message to public upon denying to contest Presidential poll 2012.[56] Criticisms and controversies The controversy that surrounds Kalam's role as a nuclear scientist, is the lack of reliable and factual reporting of the yield of Pokhran-II tests.[57] The director of the site test, K. Santhanam, publicly admitted that the thermonuclear bomb was a "fizzle" test, criticising Kalam for issuing the wrong report.[57] However, Kalam dismissed the claims and R. Chidambaram, a key associate of Pokhran-II, also described these claims as incorrect.[58] Personal attacks In spite of his leading role in the development of Indian nuclear programme, Kalam has received criticism from many of his peers who claimed that he had "no authority" over nuclear science.[59] Homi Sethna, a chemical engineer criticised Kalam claiming that Kalam had no background in publishing articles in nuclear science, even in nuclear physics. Sethna maintained that Kalam received his masters degree in aerospace engineering, which is a completely different discipline from nuclear engineering, and what various universities awarded him for his achievements had nothing to do with nuclear physics. Sethna, in his last interview, maintained that in the 1950s, Kalam had failed advanced physics courses during his college life and quoted "What does he know (about [nuclear] physics)....?", on the national television. Homi Sethna also accused Kalam of using his presidency to gain a national stature of a nuclear scientist.[60] Others felt that Kalam had never worked in any of the Indian nuclear power plants and had no role in developing the nuclear weapon which was completed under Raja Ramanna.[61] Kalam worked as an aerospace engineer in a SLV project in the 1970s and from the 1980s onwards, as a project director before he moved to Defence Research and Development Organisation.[62] In 2008, Indian media questioned his claims about his personal contributions to missile inventions while working in a classified missile programme. The media questioned Kalam taking credit of inventing the Agni, Prithvi and Aakash missile system, while all of these were developed, researched and designed by a group of scientists headed by Kalam and he was involved in getting the funds and other logistic tasks. Ram Narain Agarwal, former director, Advanced System Laboratory and former Program Director of Agni missile was considered to be the real architect behind the successful design of Agni Missile.[62][63] In his own biography, Kalam credited the development of Agni missile to Dr. Ram Narain Agarwal, an alumnus of MIT. For the Prithvi missile project, he named Col VJ Sundaram as the brain behind this project and for the Trishul missile, he gave credit to Commander SR Mohan.[64] In 2006, senior media correspondent Praful Bidwai, in the The Daily Star, wrote that two aerospace projects, Project Valiant and Project Devil, which were authorised by former Prime Minister Smt. Indira Gandhi under the directorship of A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, resulted in "total failure". In the 1980s, these projects were ultimately cancelled by the government under the pressure of the Indian Army.[65] Kalam was also criticised by civil groups over his stand on the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant, where he supported setting up of the nuclear power plant and never spoke with the local people.[66] The protesters were hostile to his visit as they perceived to him to be a pro-nuclear scientist and were unimpressed by the assurance provided by him on the safety features of the plant.[67] Frisking by American security authorities Kalam was frisked at the JFK Airport in New York, while boarding a plane on 29 September 2011. He was subjected to "private screening" as he does not come under the category of dignitaries exempt from security screening procedures under American guidelines. He was frisked again after boarding the Air India aircraft with the US security officials asking for his jacket and shoes, claiming that these items were not checked according to the prescribed procedures during the "private screening", despite protests from the airline crew confirming him as India's ex-president.[68][69] The incident was not reported until 13 November 2011.[70] India threatened retaliatory action as there was a "general sense of outrage" around the country.[71] The Indian Ministry of External Affairs protested over this incident and a statement by the ministry said that the US Government had written a letter to Kalam, expressing its deep regret for the inconvenience.[69] Kalam was previously frisked by the ground staff of the Continental Airlines at the Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi in July 2009 and was treated like an ordinary passenger, despite him being on the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security's list of people exempted from security screening in India.[72] Future India: 2020 A. P. J. Abdul Kalam delivering a speech In his book India 2020, Kalam strongly advocates an action plan to develop India into a knowledge superpower and a developed nation by the year 2020. He regards his work on India's nuclear weapons program as a way to assert India's place as a future superpower. It was reported that, there was a considerable demand in South Korea for translated versions of books authored by him.[73] Kalam continues to take an active interest in other developments in the field of science and technology. He has proposed a research program for developing bio-implants. He is a supporter of Open Source over proprietary solutions and believes that the use of free software on a large scale will bring the benefits of information technology to more people.[74] Kalam set a target of interacting with 100,000 students during the two years after his resignation from the post of scientific adviser in 1999.[11] In his own words, "I feel comfortable in the company of young people, particularly high school students. Henceforth, I intend to share with them experiences, helping them to ignite their imagination and preparing them to work for a developed India for which the road map is already available."[11] He continued to interact with students during his term as a President and also during his post-presidency period as a visiting professor at Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad[75] and Indian Institute of Management Indore,[76] Chancellor of Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology Thiruvananthapuram,[77] a professor of Aerospace Engineering at Anna University (Chennai),[78] JSS University (Mysore),[79] and an adjunct/visiting faculty at many other academic and research institutions across India. Kalam is strong supporter of Space based solar power.[80] In 2012 China proposed joint development between India and China towards developing a solar power satellite, during a visit by Kalam.[81] Popular culture In May 2012, Kalam launched his mission for the youth of the nation called the What Can I Give Movement with a central theme to defeat corruption.[82][83] He also has interests in writing Tamil poetry and in playing veenai, a South Indian string instrument.[84] He was nominated for the MTV Youth Icon of the Year award in 2003[85][86] and in 2006.[87] In the 2011 Hindi film I Am Kalam, Kalam is portrayed as an extremely positive influence to a poor but bright Rajasthani boy named Chhotu, who renames himself Kalam in honour of his idol.[88] Awards and honours A. P. J. Abdul Kalam's 79th birthday was recognised as World Student's Day by United Nations.[89] He has also received honorary doctorates from 40 universities.[90][91] The Government of India has honoured him with the Padma Bhushan in 1981 and the Padma Vibhushan in 1990 for his work with ISRO and DRDO and his role as a scientific advisor to the Government.[92] In 1997, Kalam received India's highest civilian honour, the Bharat Ratna, for his immense and valuable contribution to the scientific research and modernisation of defence technology in India.[93] In 2005, Switzerland declared 26 May as science day to commemorate Kalam's visit in the country.[94]
When he was six years old, the man who could be India's prime minister helped his father sell tea to passengers whenever an odd train came into the small Vadnagar station in Gujarat, says a recently released book titled "The anatomy of Narendra Modi - the man and his politics" authored by Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay.Narendra Modi was an ordinary boy from a middle class family, the third of four children, and life was literally dark when he was young. The family house was poorly lit and had little natural light; the kerosene lamp added to the smoke and grime.There was nothing remarkable about Modi's childhood except that he got attracted to the RSS - which later helped him grow politically. At 18, he decided to wander in the Himalayas, leaving behind his family and an unconsummated marriage.According to Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay, who has authored a gripping biography of the Gujarat chief minister, the years from 1967 to 1971 "are somewhat mysterious" in Modi's life. He would disappear at times for months at a stretch. The trait remained with him. In 1995-96, Modi went to the Gir forest on his own and slept in an old temple. "I actually enjoy loneliness."It was after the 1971 war with Pakistan that Modi formally joined the RSS and moved into the Hedgewar Bhawan. His early responsibilities included making tea, breakfast and evening snacks for senior colleagues. He also swept and cleaned the building, which then had eight-ten rooms.Modi proved his mettle while doing risky underground work during the 1975-77 Emergency, often travelling in disguise and on a motorcycle. (Soon after, he completed M.A. as an external student from Gujarat University.) Seniors in RSS soon realized his excellent organisational skills and analytical mind.Modi's rise in the RSS was rapid - in part because "he was also equally adept at picking his mentors and making use of them for furthering his career". He was among the first two Pracharaks who began working full-time in the BJP.His role in helping the party win the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation election in 1986 raised appreciative eyebrows. Within two years, he was the organising secretary of the Gujarat BJP. Modi learnt the ropes of party politics by attending BJP public meetings - quietly sitting in the back and listening to speeches.He also built an extensive network across the state - a move that later helped him to checkmate all his rivals and take control of the BJP in Gujarat.L.K. Advani's Rath Yatra was Modi's first national-level political assignment. But it was Murli Manohar Joshi's Ekta Yatra to Srinagar where he had a more major role to play. Not everyone in the Gujarat BJP liked him though; Keshubhai Patel, Shankersinh Vaghela and Kanshiram Rana resented Modi's lateral entry into the BJP's top echelons.But "over time, Modi used the contradictions and rivalries among these leaders to his own benefit by using one against the other." When Keshubhai Patel was the chief minister, Modi was known as "super CM". It caused him problems. But after some isolation, he bounced back, in part with Advani's blessings.In 2001, the boy who once sold tea to train passengers became its chief minister - and then presided over one of India's worst communal frenzy.The Godhra killings gave Modi a distinct identity - "a label which he has displayed brazenly ever since". According to Mukhopadhyay, Modi strongly believes that if minorities wish to feel safe in the state he governs, they will have to abide by the value systems of the Hindu community. It is this Hindutva politics Modi represents as he prepares to lead the BJP in the 2014 Lok Sabha battle.Modi - the book says - is one of the trendiest male politicians in India. He was among the first to possess a digital diary. He is always well groomed. He goes for made-to-order Modi kurta with hand-tailored button holes. He is at home in Western attire too. He has a weakness for designer fountain pens - Montblanc.A workaholic, he also never forgives anyone who has wronged him. Those who have known Modi tell the author that he is an authoritarian who won't allow anyone to grow beyond a point. He is ruthless -- with ruthless efficiency.Mukhpadhyay is not a fan of the Gujarat success story; he explains why with statistics. This book, on Modi, is political journalism at its best. You have to read it if you want to know why Modi is what he is today.
Biography Swami Vivekanand's name was Narendra Nath Dutta in his pre-monastic life. He was born in an affluent family in Kolkata on 12th January, 1863. His father, Vishwanath Datta, was a successful attorney with interest in varied subjects, and his mother, Bhuvaneshwari Devi, was endowed with qualities like deep devotion, strong character etc. The precocious boy, Narendra mastered music, gymnastics and studies. By the time he completed his graduation from Calcutta University, he had acquired a vast knowledge of different subjects, especially Western philosophy and history. He had a yogic temperament and used to practice meditation even from his boyhood, and was also involved in 'Brahmo Movement' for time being. Meeting the Mentor At the threshold of youth, Narendra had to undergo a period of spiritual crisis when he was confused by doubts about the very existence of God. And at that time, he came to know about Shri Ramakrishna from his English professor at college. In November 1881, one day Narendra went to meet Shri Ramakrishna at the Kali Temple in Dakshineshwar. He straight away asked him a question, which he had asked to several others but had received no satisfactory answer, "Sir, have you seen God?" Without a moment's hesitation, Shri Ramakrishna replied, "Yes, I have. I can see Him as clearly as I see you, only in a much deeper sense." Shri Ramakrishna not only removed doubts from the mind of Narendra, but also won him over through his pure, selfless love. And thus began a unique Guru-disciple relationship in the history of spiritualism. Narendra now started visiting Dakshineshwar frequently and, under the guidance of the Guru, made rapid progress on the spiritual path. At Dakshineshwar, Narendra also met many youngsters who were devoted to Shri Ramakrishna, and they all became close pals. Tough Times After a few years two incidents distressed Narendra considerably. One was the sudden death of his father in 1884, leaving his family in miserable condition. Hence, Narendra had to bear the burden of supporting his mother, brothers and sisters. The second event was the illness of Shri Ramakrishna which was diagnosed as throat cancer. In September 1885, Shri Ramakrishna was taken to a house at Shyampukur, and a few months later to a rented villa at Cossipore. At these two places the young disciples nursed their Guru with utmost care. Though there was poverty at home, as he was unemployed, Narendra had lead his fellows.
When he was six years old, the man who could be India's prime minister helped his father sell tea to passengers whenever an odd train came into the small Vadnagar station in Gujarat, says a recently released book titled "The anatomy of Narendra Modi - the man and his politics" authored by Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay.Narendra Modi was an ordinary boy from a middle class family, the third of four children, and life was literally dark when he was young. The family house was poorly lit and had little natural light; the kerosene lamp added to the smoke and grime.There was nothing remarkable about Modi's childhood except that he got attracted to the RSS - which later helped him grow politically. At 18, he decided to wander in the Himalayas, leaving behind his family and an unconsummated marriage.According to Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay, who has authored a gripping biography of the Gujarat chief minister, the years from 1967 to 1971 "are somewhat mysterious" in Modi's life. He would disappear at times for months at a stretch. The trait remained with him. In 1995-96, Modi went to the Gir forest on his own and slept in an old temple. "I actually enjoy loneliness."It was after the 1971 war with Pakistan that Modi formally joined the RSS and moved into the Hedgewar Bhawan. His early responsibilities included making tea, breakfast and evening snacks for senior colleagues. He also swept and cleaned the building, which then had eight-ten rooms.Modi proved his mettle while doing risky underground work during the 1975-77 Emergency, often travelling in disguise and on a motorcycle. (Soon after, he completed M.A. as an external student from Gujarat University.) Seniors in RSS soon realized his excellent organisational skills and analytical mind.Modi's rise in the RSS was rapid - in part because "he was also equally adept at picking his mentors and making use of them for furthering his career". He was among the first two Pracharaks who began working full-time in the BJP.His role in helping the party win the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation election in 1986 raised appreciative eyebrows. Within two years, he was the organising secretary of the Gujarat BJP. Modi learnt the ropes of party politics by attending BJP public meetings - quietly sitting in the back and listening to speeches.He also built an extensive network across the state - a move that later helped him to checkmate all his rivals and take control of the BJP in Gujarat.L.K. Advani's Rath Yatra was Modi's first national-level political assignment. But it was Murli Manohar Joshi's Ekta Yatra to Srinagar where he had a more major role to play. Not everyone in the Gujarat BJP liked him though; Keshubhai Patel, Shankersinh Vaghela and Kanshiram Rana resented Modi's lateral entry into the BJP's top echelons.But "over time, Modi used the contradictions and rivalries among these leaders to his own benefit by using one against the other." When Keshubhai Patel was the chief minister, Modi was known as "super CM". It caused him problems. But after some isolation, he bounced back, in part with Advani's blessings.In 2001, the boy who once sold tea to train passengers became its chief minister - and then presided over one of India's worst communal frenzy.The Godhra killings gave Modi a distinct identity - "a label which he has displayed brazenly ever since". According to Mukhopadhyay, Modi strongly believes that if minorities wish to feel safe in the state he governs, they will have to abide by the value systems of the Hindu community. It is this Hindutva politics Modi represents as he prepares to lead the BJP in the 2014 Lok Sabha battle.Modi - the book says - is one of the trendiest male politicians in India. He was among the first to possess a digital diary. He is always well groomed. He goes for made-to-order Modi kurta with hand-tailored button holes. He is at home in Western attire too. He has a weakness for designer fountain pens - Montblanc.A workaholic, he also never forgives anyone who has wronged him. Those who have known Modi tell the author that he is an authoritarian who won't allow anyone to grow beyond a point. He is ruthless -- with ruthless efficiency.Mukhpadhyay is not a fan of the Gujarat success story; he explains why with statistics. This book, on Modi, is political journalism at its best. You have to read it if you want to know why Modi is what he is today.
Biography Swami Vivekanand's name was Narendra Nath Dutta in his pre-monastic life. He was born in an affluent family in Kolkata on 12th January, 1863. His father, Vishwanath Datta, was a successful attorney with interest in varied subjects, and his mother, Bhuvaneshwari Devi, was endowed with qualities like deep devotion, strong character etc. The precocious boy, Narendra mastered music, gymnastics and studies. By the time he completed his graduation from Calcutta University, he had acquired a vast knowledge of different subjects, especially Western philosophy and history. He had a yogic temperament and used to practice meditation even from his boyhood, and was also involved in 'Brahmo Movement' for time being. Meeting the Mentor At the threshold of youth, Narendra had to undergo a period of spiritual crisis when he was confused by doubts about the very existence of God. And at that time, he came to know about Shri Ramakrishna from his English professor at college. In November 1881, one day Narendra went to meet Shri Ramakrishna at the Kali Temple in Dakshineshwar. He straight away asked him a question, which he had asked to several others but had received no satisfactory answer, "Sir, have you seen God?" Without a moment's hesitation, Shri Ramakrishna replied, "Yes, I have. I can see Him as clearly as I see you, only in a much deeper sense." Shri Ramakrishna not only removed doubts from the mind of Narendra, but also won him over through his pure, selfless love. And thus began a unique Guru-disciple relationship in the history of spiritualism. Narendra now started visiting Dakshineshwar frequently and, under the guidance of the Guru, made rapid progress on the spiritual path. At Dakshineshwar, Narendra also met many youngsters who were devoted to Shri Ramakrishna, and they all became close pals. Tough Times After a few years two incidents distressed Narendra considerably. One was the sudden death of his father in 1884, leaving his family in miserable condition. Hence, Narendra had to bear the burden of supporting his mother, brothers and sisters. The second event was the illness of Shri Ramakrishna which was diagnosed as throat cancer. In September 1885, Shri Ramakrishna was taken to a house at Shyampukur, and a few months later to a rented villa at Cossipore. At these two places the young disciples nursed their Guru with utmost care. Though there was poverty at home, as he was unemployed, Narendra had lead his fellows. Exploring the Real India During his travels across India, Swami Vivekanand was deeply touched by the terrible poverty and backwardness of the people. He was the first religious leader in India to understand and openly declare that the real cause of India's ruin was the neglect of the masses. The urgent need was to provide food and other bare requirements of life to the starving millions. For this, they should be trained about improved agricultural techniques, village industries, etc. It was in this context that Vivekanand grasped the core problem of poverty in India, which had never attracted the attention of social reformers of those days. Because of centuries of repression, the exploited masses had lost the confidence in their ability to improve. The priority was to instill into their minds the faith in themselves and for this they needed a revitalizing and inspiring message. Vivekanand could find this message in the principle of the Atman, the doctrine of the potential divinity of the soul, taught in Vedanta, the ancient system of religious philosophy of India. He saw that, in spite of poverty, the masses adhered to religion. But they had never been enlightened by the stimulating principles of Vedanta and how to apply them in practical life. Thus, the people needed two kinds of knowledge, firstly, secular knowledge to improve their economic condition and secondly, spiritual knowledge to infuse self-confidence and reinforce their morality. The challenge was to spread these two kinds of knowledge among the people. Education was the only answer that Vivekanand found. Need for an Organization Vivekanandji was very clear that to carry out his plans for the spread of education for the strengthening of the poor people, including women, an efficient organization of committed people was required. As he stated later on that he wanted to set in motion, a mechanism, which could bring the noblest of ideas to the doorstep of even the poorest and the meanest. A few years later, Swamiji founded the Ramakrishna Mission to serve as a part of this 'mechanism'. Decision to attend the Parliament of Religions It was when these ideas were taking shape in his mind in the course of his wanderings that Swami Vivekananda heard about the World's Parliament of Religions to be held in Chicago in 1893. His friends and admirers in India wanted him to attend the Parliament. He too felt that the Parliament would provide the right forum to present his Master's message to the world, and so he decided to go to America. Another reason which prompted Swamiji to go to America was to seek financial help for his project of uplifting the masses. Swamiji, however, wanted to have an inner certitude and divine call regarding his mission. Both of these he got while he sat in deep meditation on the rock-island at Kanyakumari. With the funds partly collected by his Chennai disciples and partly provided by the Raja of Khetri, Swami Vivekananda left for America from Mumbai on 31 May 1893. The Parliament of Religions Swami Vivekanand came to know about the World's Parliament of Religions to be held in Chicago in 1893 while he was touring in the country to spread the message of his Guru. His admirers and comrades wanted him to attend the Parliament. He too felt that the Parliament would provide the right platform to present his Guru's message to the world, and thus he decided to go to America. Another reason, which prompted Vivekanandji to go to America, was to seek financial help for his mission of uplifting the masses. He, however, wanted to have an inner conviction and divine call about the mission, which he got while sitting in deep meditation on the rock-island at Kanyakumari. His Chennai disciples managed to collect some funds for his visit to America and rest was provided by the Raja of Khetri, and finally, Swami Vivekanand left for America to participate in the World Parliament of Religions on 31st May, 1893 from Mumbai. After the Parliament of Religions He became famous as an 'Orator by Divine Right' and as a 'Messenger of Indian Wisdom to the Western World', after his speeches at the World's Parliament of Religions held in September, 1893 at Chicago, America. After the Parliament, Vivekanandji spent about three and a half years mostly in the eastern parts of USA and also in London to spread the concept of Vedanta as practiced by Shri Ramakrishna. Awakening of the Countrymen On returning to India in January 1897, he got enthusiastic welcome everywhere. He delivered a series of lectures in different parts of India, which lead to a great movement all over the country. Vivekanandji's efforts were to do the following through his inspiring and overwhelming lectures : to stir up the religious awareness of the masses and generate pride in their legacy.to amalgamate Hinduism by highlighting the common bases of its sects.to focus the attention of educated people on the plight of the oppressed masses, and to elaborate his plans for their uplift by applying the principles of Practical Vedanta. Foundation of Ramakrishna Mission Immediately after returning back to Kolkata, Swami Vivekanand accomplished one of the most important tasks of his mission. He established Ramakrishna Mission on 1st May 1897, a foundation to propagate Practical Vedanta and to carry out various forms of social service, like running hospitals, educational institutes, hostels, rural development centers etc. and conducting massive relief and rehabilitation work for victims of earthquakes, cyclones and other calamities in different parts of India and other countries, jointly by monks and lay people. Belur Math – The symbol of unity of all religions In early 1898, Swami Vivekanand acquired a big plot of land on the western bank of the Ganga, at a place known as Belur, to build a monastery as a permanent habitat for the monks, open to all men without any discrimination of religion, race or caste. He got it registered as 'Ramakrishna Math' after two years. Here, Swamiji recognized a new, universal pattern of monastic life which adapts ancient monastic ideals to the conditions of modern life, giving equal importance to personal enlightenment and social service. Disciples Many people in the West were influenced by the life and message of Swami Vivekanand. Some of them even became his disciples or devoted fellows. Among them, some of the names that may be specially mentioned are of Margaret Noble (later known as Sister Nivedita), Captain and Mrs. Sevier, Josephine McLeod and Sara Ole Bull, etc. Sister Nivedita dedicated her life for the education of girls in Kolkata. Some of his Indian disciples also joined Ramakrishna Math and became Sanyasis. Last Days During his second visit to the West in June 1899, he spent most of his time on the west coast of USA. He delivered many lectures there and returned to Belur Math in December 1900 and spent rest of his life in India, inspiring and guiding people, both monastic and lay. Constant work, especially giving lectures to motivate people, had an adverse effect on Vivekanand's health and his it started deteriorating. Eventually, he breathed his last on the night of 4th July, 1902. Prior to his 'Maha Samadhi', he had written to a Western follower that, "It may be that I shall find it good to get outside my body, to cast it off like a worn out garment. But I shall not stop working and keep inspiring men everywhere until the whole world shall know that it is mingled with God." Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0in; mso-para-margin-right:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0in; line-height:115%; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:11.0pt; font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif"; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;}
Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam usually referred as A. P. J. Abdul Kalam was the 11th President of India for the term 2002 to 2007. Popularly known as the People's President he is the chief brain behind India's attainment of the nuclear status in the global arena and is known as the ‘Missile Man of India’ for his work on development of ballistic missiles and space rocket technology. Dr. Kalam is one of the most distinguished scientists of India with the unique honour of receiving honorary doctorates from 40 universities and institutions. He has been awarded the coveted civilian awards - Padma Bhushan (1981), Padma Vibhushan (1990) and the highest civilian award Bharat Ratna (1997). Dr. Kalam was born on October 15, 1931 in Rameshwaram now Tamil Nadu in a humble background.  His father, Jainaluddin was a boatman, who earned very little due to which they had to face utter hardship. His parents were very simple and religious that influenced his lifestyle. He spent most of his childhood in financial problems and started working early in his age to supplement family's income. Since his early childhood days he had great interest in studies and was keen in gathering knowledge from all parts of the world.  He has been perceived throughout his career to maintain this enthusiasm and still loves the intellectual discourses whenever he gets time. Dr. Kalam had an unparalleled career as an Aerospace and Defence Scientist, leading the nation with a vision of "Developed India." A graduate from the St. Joseph’s College, Tiruchirapalli, Kalam studied aeronautical engineering in the Madras Institute of Technology. After passing out he joined the Directorate of Technical Development and Production of the Ministry of Defence. He was heavily involved in the development of India's first indigenous Satellite Launch Vehicle (SLV-III). Before his term as India's president, he worked as an aeronautical engineer with DRDO and ISRO. Kalam played a pivotal organizational, technical and political role in India's Pokhran-II nuclear test in 1998, the first since the original nuclear test by India in 1974. He was the Chief Scientific Adviser to the Prime Minister and the Secretary of Defence Research and Development Organisation from July 1992 to December 1999. He also gave thrust to self-reliance in defence systems by progressing multiple development tasks and mission projects such as Light Combat Aircraft.  He is currently the chancellor of Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology, a professor at Anna University (Chennai), a visiting professor at Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad, Indian Institute of Management Indore, and an adjunct-visiting faculty at many other academic and research institutions across India. In 2011, Dr. Kalam launched his mission called the ‘What Can I Give’ movement. Dr. Kalam was conferred with the degree of Doctor of Science by twenty eight universities. He is the recipient of several awards including the National Design Award. Dr. Biren Roy Space Award; Prof. Y Nayudamma Memorial Gold Medal (1996): GM Modi Award for Science (1996) : R K Firodia Award for Excellence in S&T (1996) : Veer Savarkar Award (1998) : and Indira Gandhi Award for National integration (1997). His four books-"Wings of Fire", "India 2020 - A Vision for the New Millennium", "My journey" and "Ignited Minds - Unleashing the power within India"  has become a household name in India and as well as abroad and has been translated in many Indian languages. In his book ‘India 2020’, Kalam has strongly voiced his opinion to transform India into a knowledge superpower and a developed nation by the year 2020. He regards his work on India's nuclear weapons programme as a way to assert its place as a future superpower. A bachelor Dr. Kalam is an aficionado of classical Carnatic music and plays veena in his leisure. He writes poetry in Tamil, his mother tongue. Seventeen of his poems were translated into English and published in 1994 as a book entitled "My Journey". A strict vegetarian he is an ideal secular Indian and reads Quran and Bhagvad Gita daily with equal devotion.
From time to time it seems that despite of all our efforts, we experience various negative emotions in our lives, such as despair, anxiety, fear, apathy, mistrust or anger. When we have troubled relationships with our family members or collegues at work. When our destiny leads us into some difficult situations in business or we have problems with health. Or we just feel tired of our daily routine... Sometimes all of us might feel lost in this life, when we need support and encouragement as well as wise words, that may help to look at the situation from another point of view. Maybe it would be a spiritual conversation with a person, that you feel trust and respect for. Or reading of the Bible, or other spiritual literature. Or you can spent some quiet moments in the forest, by the lake, or other place in nature, trying to listen to the voice of your heart, as when you learn to listen, it might tell you much more then you could expected. We get inspired by the strength of the human spirit and we learn, how to be a better person, more sensitive, supportive, kind and loving.
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