Former president of India Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, popularly known as India's 'Missile Man', passed away in Shillong on the night of 27 July after collapsing while delivering a lecture at the Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Shillong.
He will be remembered for many reasons, but most of all his humility and inspirational personality.
Here are six facts about him you probably didn't know
He donated his presidential salary to charity
- After becoming president of India, Kalam donated his salaries and savings to a trust he had founded, called PURA (Providing Urban Amenities to Rural Areas).
- He said that after becoming India's president, he would be looked after by the government till the end of his life, and so he all his savings and salaries could be used for better things.
He refused to sit on special chairs at events
- When he attended the Lakshmi Vidya Sangham in 2015, Kalam refused to take the larger chair that had been provided to him on the dais, and sat on same kind of chairs that the students used.
- In 2012, attending a function at the Defence Food Research Laboratory (DFRL), Mysuru, he had asked for a regular chair rather than the ceremonial one provided for him.
He visited his cobbler from Thiruvananthapuram
- Visiting Thiruvananthapuram on an official visit to the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, Kalam, even though he was president of India, went to meet his cobbler, George, who used to chat with him while repairing his shoes.
- He also went to meet Parmeswaran Nair, the owner of a lodge where Kalam used to lunch when he worked at the Space Centre.
He asked a question on terrorism on Yahoo Answers
- Kalam had asked, "What should we do to free our planet from terrorism?" on Yahoo Answers, and received more than 30,000 answers.
This was his question:
- "Human society, from origin until now, has always been at war within and between groups which has led to two World Wars. Presently, terrorism and low intensity warfare are affecting many parts if the world.
- As the current global population of 6 billion increases to 8 billion by 2025, national and international conflicts will continue to be a source of concern for humanity. When evil minds combine, good minds have to work together and combat. In this context, what are the out-of-the-box solutions to free the planet earth from terrorism? Your answers, when processed and implemented, can lead to a peaceful, happy and safe planet earth. "
He wanted to have Rashtrapati Bhavan powered by solar energy
- Unfortunately, Kalam's term ended before his proposal could be implemented. Later, he said: "I would have liked the Rashtrapati Bhavan to be the first home in India to be powered completely by solar energy. "
He was a champion of wildlife and nature
- Working at the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Kalam had rejected a proposal to place broken glass on the walls of the institution to prevent break-ins. Kalam said the broken glass would be harmful for the birds that perch on the walls.