India marks APJ Abdul Kalam’s 2nd death anniversary; PM Modi inaugurates memorial

Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated a memorial in honour of former President APJ Abdul Kalam in Rameswaram, on Thursday to mark his second death anniversary.

The event was attended by several chief ministers, governors, Chief Justice of India JS Khehar and Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chairman along with the prime minister.

The memorial, built on Dr. Kalam’s burial site, will pay homage to the man and reflect India’s cultural diversity. It will also display replicas of rockets and missiles that the late scientist had worked on.

The second phase of the memorial, which is expected to complete in two years, will be have a library, auditorium and planetarium.

The People’s President

Dr. Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam was India’s 11th President and served from July 2002 to July 2007.

Born in Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu to a poverty stricken family, he went on to study physics and aerospace engineering.

Kalam who narrowly missed becoming a fighter pilot for the Indian Air Force, joined the  Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). He was part of famous space scientist Vikram Sarabhai’s Indian National Committee for Space Research (INCOSPAR).

The ‘Missile Man’ was transferred to ISRO in 1969 where he later developed India’s first Satellite Launch Vehicle (SLV-III). Kalam then successfully built the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV).

The Indian government entrusted him to direct the advanced missile programme under which India developed the Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) Agni and surface-to-surface ballistic missile Prithvi. He also oversaw Pokhran-II nuclear tests.

During his term as president, he was affectionately known as the “People’s President”.

He died at the age of 83 while delivering a lecture at the Indian Institute of…

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