top of page

The Story of Missile Man of India

The Curly Hair Man,

Dr. Avul (Great Grand Father) Pakir (Grand Father) Jainulabeen (Father) Abdul Kalam (Real Name), was described as INEXPLICABLE (which means there were no words explaining his characteristics).


Born in a poor family on 15th October 1931 in Rameswaram, he was a self-disciplined man. His father owned a ferry that took Hindu pilgrims back and forth between Rameswaram and the now-extinct Dhanushkodi.

One day in his classroom, he was seated on the first bench when his teacher slapped him and ordered him to go back; just because he was Muslim and poor. It was that time when he determined that he would show the world that anyone can be successful irrespective of where he sits and learn.

To cover up his expenses and daily needs, he used to sell newspapers at an early age. He chose this profession because it gave him knowledge. He used to read the newspaper while distributing them.

When he was just 8 years old, one of his maths teachers, who lived miles away from his house, made a deal that whoever comes to his house nicely dressed and bathed before 4:00 am will be taught for free for an hour. Kalam was delighted and accepted it. There was not even a single excuse of rain, thunder, or anything else because of which he couldn't join the class on time. He was always well before time.

His parents used to sacrifice the light for themselves so that he could study for a long stretch. In those days, gas lights were used and Kalam's family used to save the whole kerosene oil for Kalam's study. Kalam was never afraid of hard work and was honest to himself.

As rightly said;

To shine like sun, you have to burn like sun


In the same way, he followed the path of success. After completing his schooling, he was entered to Madras Institute of Technology on scholarship. Even after getting a high scholarship, he faced difficulties paying the leftover fees.

He was sharp-minded and so the professor offered him a project. He asked him to make the design of a machine, however, it took time for Kalam to complete it. The professor got angry and asked him to finish the design work within three days, or else his scholarship would be waved off. He was tensed as he now had no medium to pay the fees. Hence, he worked day and night, burned the midnight oil to finish the design.

As narrated by Abdul Kalam Sir in his speeches;

He never let failure meet the heart and success to the brain

After completing college with flying colors, he got two offers, one from the Ministry of Defence, Delhi, and another from the Air Force, Dehradun. He was always interested in rockets and space, so he chose Air Force.


However, he didn't manage to crack the exam. There were 8 seats out of 25 and he was ranked 9th. Therefore, he went for the other choice Ministry of Defence. While returning back from Dehradun, he stopped at Rishikesh to meet his Guru Swami Shivanand who suggested he read Gita. He made Kalam believe that all the answers are in this holy book. He not only read that book but implemented it in his life.

After reaching Delhi, he was promoted under Vikram Sarabia who was a renowned personality in the Ministry of Defence. Kalam was sent to Nasa for 6 months from the ministry for gaining experience. All the scientists at Nasa were shocked to see his performance. They even offered him citizenship and triple the salary he got in India. However, he was determined to serve his nation and he chose to come back.


ISRO was then founded on 15 August 1969.

In the initial days:

St Mary Church was their OFFICE

A nearby Beach was their LAUNCHPAD

A Cattle Shed was their CONTROL CENTER

They carried their first rocket on the cycle to the launch pad.

It was this Sounding Rocket that flew successfully in 1963.

He was so involved in his work that he even forgot his engagement.

He involved the Gita lessons in his work and believed that :

Problems come and go, it is you who need to move on trespassing them.

After this time, he never looked back and worked on many missiles and rockets.

He served the nation as a renowned scientist for nearly forty years. He only took leave two times, one on father's demise and another on mother's demise. There was no Saturday or Sunday for him.


In 1979, Dr. Kalam and his team were in the control room when SLV-3 was launched. So, instead of making the rocket pass orbit, it landed in the Bay of Bengal. He was saddened and was afraid of getting reprimanded by the media and public. However, Satish Dhawan who was senior to Dr. Kalam took the blame on him in front of the media and promised them that this team will again launch this rocket next year and will be successful. So, the next year in 1980, SLV-3 was again launched and was a great success. Now the same senior official, Satish Dhawan made Kalam stood first in front of the media for this big success.