Former Indian president Dr APJ Abdul Kalam was an inspirational figure who had made it a mission in life to ignite young minds and advocated an action plan to turn India into a "knowledge superpower." Born on October 15 1931 to a Tamil Muslim family of Rameshwaram, Kalam sold newspapers to supplement his family's income. But he was a bright and hardworking student with a desire to gain knowledge. He later went on to study aerospace engineering in Madras Institute of Technology.
APJ Abdul Kalam, former Indian president was an inpirational figure.REUTERS/B Mathur
Kalam began his career with Aeronautical Development Establishment of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) as a scientist. But he soon found himself working on India's first Satellite Launch Vehicle (SLV-III) under the guidance of renowned scientist Vikram Sarabhai. He later worked on the development of Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV).
India's President A. P. J. Abdul Kalam waves to members of the European Parliament ahead of his address in Strasbourg 25 April 2007.Reuters
Kalam was later appointed the chief executive of Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP), where he was instrumental in developing missiles like Agni and Prithvi.
Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama is felicitated by former Indian president APJ Abdul Kalam during celebration of his 74th birthday in New Delhi 6 July 2009.Reuters
Former South African president Nelson Mandela (R) meets with Indian President A. P. J. Abdul Kalam at the Mandela Foundation offices in Johannesburg 16 September 2004. Kalam pledged India's assistance to the 53-member African Union and its South African-based Pan-African Parliament.Reuters
School children shake hands with India's former president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam during a silver jubilee function as part of Children's Day celebrations in the northern Indian city of Chandigarh 14 November 2008.Reuters
Indian President Abdul Kalam (C) interacts with children of navy personnel during the 'Operational Demonstration' of the Indian Navy in Visakhapatnam, 12 February 2006.Reuters
He later was appointed as the Chief Scientific Adviser to the prime minister and the secretary of the Defence Research and Development Organisation. Kalam was honoured with the country's highest civilian award, Bharat Ratna.
Kalam, famous as "Missile Man" and India's top nuclear scientist became the 11th president of India when the NDA government headed by Atal Behari Vajapayee came to power.
India's President A.P.J Abdul Kalam stands inside of the place where Socrates was imprisoned, at the foot of the Acropolis hill in Athens, 27 April 2007. Kalam is on a four-day official visit to AthensReuters
He used his office to address children and interact with them. He always asked children to dream big and those dreams might someday transform into reality. He also encouraged them to ask questions and write to him and his office would duly reply to most of the letters.
Post-presidency, Kalam became a visiting professor at IIM, Shillong, IIM Ahmedabad, IIM Indore and IISC, Bangalore.
Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee (L) with Defence Minister George Fernandes (2nd-L) and Indian scientists A.P.J. Abdul Kalam (2nd-R) head of the India's Defence Research and Development Organisation, and R. Chidambaram, Chairman of Atomic Energy Commission (L) wave to soldiers 20 May at the Buddha Site, where Indian nuclear tests were carried out last week, in the western desert state of Rajasthan. Vajpayee, after a visit to the site in the far-flung Pokhran range, said India was forced to conduct the series of five nuclear tests to silence its enemies and show its strength.Reuters
Indian President A. P. J. Abdul Kalam (2nd R) and soldiers salute at the Mahatma Gandhi memorial on Gandhi's death anniversary at Rajghat in New Delhi 30 January 2007.Reuters
Indian President Abdul Kalam waves from the inside of a Sindhurakshak naval submarine in Visakhapatnam, India 13 February 2006.Reuters
Indian President A P J Abdul Kalam (R) meets Indian soldiers during his visit to a border town in Kargil, 220 km (137 miles) east of Srinagar, 8 December 2004. Kalam made a day trip to the troubled Kashmir region on Wednesday and visited a border town, an army museum and met top army officials.Reuters
Kalam died of cardic arrest when he was delivering a lecture at IIM Shillong on July 27 2015.
India's President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam (R) speaks with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin during a tea party hosted by the Indian President after the Republic Day parade in New Delhi 26 January 2007.Reuters
US President George W. Bush (L) shares a laugh with President of India Abdul Kalam during a toast at a State Dinner at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi 2 March 2006. It is Bush's first visit to the country.Reuters
Meanwhile, India has started the construction work at his memorial, coinciding with his 85th birth anniversary. A team from the DRDO held discussions with local officials regarding the memorial and an amount of Rs 50 crore had been allocated for it and a knowledge centre.
Indian President Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam looks at a temple while walking with a group of Hindu monks in Belur. Indian President Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam looks at a temple while walking with a group of Hindu monks during his visit to a Hindu monastery in Belur about 20 km (13 miles) west of the eastern Indian city of Calcutta 1 October 2004.Reuters
Indian President A. P. J. Abdul Kalam (C) is welcomed by the monks of Tawang Monastery during a visit to the holy city of India's north eastern state of Arunachal Pradesh near the border with China, 14 October 2002. Kalam is currently touring the state to witness the three-day Buddha festival.Reuters
Indian President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam looks at an icon as he listens to the bishop of Rila Monastery in the Rila mountains, some 120km south of the capital Sofia, 24 October 2003. President Kalam is on a three-day official visit to Bulgaria.Reuters
A student holds a portrait of former Indian President A. P. J. Abdul Kalam during a candle light march in Mumbai, India, July 28, 2015.Reuters
Some quotes by India's "Missile Man:"
"Dream, Dream Dream, Dreams transform into thoughts. And thoughts result in action."
"You have to dream before your dreams can come true."
"We should not give up and we should not allow the problem to defeat us."
Climbing to the top demands strength, whether it is to the top of Mount Everest or to the top of your career.
"Great dreams of great dreamers are always transcended."
"Failure will never overtake me if my determination to succeed is strong enough."
"All Birds find shelter during a rain. But Eagle avoids rain by flying above the Clouds."
"All of us do not have equal talent. But , all of us have an equal opportunity to develop our talents."
"End is not the end, if fact E.N.D. means 'Effort Never Dies.'"
"For me, there are two types of people: the young and the experienced."