The void cannot be filled but Dr APJ Abdul Kalam's legacy will continue for ages. The path he created and the vision he painted will enlighten millions of Indians in the times to come. That's because his contributions in the field of science and technology have helped make the nation what it is.
A scientist, Kalam played a pivotal role in building and promoting a scientific temperament among India's young generations. He said India can fight poverty if it continues to progress in science and technology.
Kalam believed in high-tech media presentations, introduced low-energy light bulbs, high bandwidth connectivity and a herbal garden at the Rashtrapati Bhavan, which was his official residence for five years, from 25 July 2002 to 25 July 2007. He left a distinct mark on the Presidency when his term ended as the 11th president of India.
Here's what India's Missile Man did for us in the field of science and technology:
After graduating from the Madras Institute of Technology, Kalam joined the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) as a scientist. His career took off when he designed a small helicopter for the Indian Army. He was the scientific adviser to the Defence Minister and Secretary at the Department of Defence Research and Development. Later, he was appointed the Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India.
During his tenure at the DRDO, Kalam played an instrumental role in the resurgence of the Defence Research and Development Laboratory in Hyderabad. He helped set up the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP), touted as the most successful military task till date. He also headed other prestigious projects, such as the MBT Arjun and the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) projects.
Kalam was the man behind the development of the Agni and Prithvi missiles, and was responsible for building indigenous capabilities in critical technologies by networking with numerous institutions. His contribution to missile technology earned him the popular title of the Missile Man of India.
At the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), Kalam was the Project Director in charge of India's maiden indigenous Satellite Launch Vehicle (SLV-III), which successfully injected the Rohini satellite in the near Earth orbit, putting India into the exclusive club of space-going nations. He also played a significant role in the evolution of ISRO's launch vehicle programme, especially the PSLV configuration.
The glory at Pokhran
The Pokhran-II nuclear test is a glorious chapter in the history of our country. In collaboration with the Department of Atomic Energy, Kalam led the weaponisation of strategic missile systems and the Pokhran-II nuclear tests. This made India a nuclear country. The nuclear test carried out in May 1998 was a series of five nuclear bomb explosions. This was the second nuclear test in Indian history: the first test, code-named Smiling Buddha, had been conducted in 1974.
Kalam is acknowledged as the driving force behind the country's pursuit of highly advanced technology systems. His legacy and contribution in the field of science and technology cannot be contained in words. Instead, his vision of making India a developed nation and a self-reliant economy must be fulfilled with relentless effort.