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APJ Abdul Kalam

Born - 15 October 1931

Achievements - This eminent scientist and

engineer has also served as the 11th President of

India from the period 2002 to 2007. APJ Abdul

Kalam is a man of vision, who is always full of

ideas aimed at the development of the country. He

firmly believes that India needs to play a more

assertive role in international relations.

Apart from being a notable scientist and engineer,

Dr APJ Abdul Kalam served as the 11th President

of India from the period 2002 to 2007. He is a man

of vision, who is always full of ideas aimed at the

development of the country and is also often also

referred to as the Missile Man of India. People

loved and respected Dr APJ Abdul Kalam so much

during his tenure as President that was popularly

called the People's President. Read more about

the biography of Dr APJ Abdul Kalam here.

APJ Abdul Kalam was born on 15 October 1931 at the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu and received honorary

doctorates from about 30 universities globally. In the year 1981, the Government of India presented him the nation's

highest civilian honor, the Padma Bhushan and then again, the Padma Vibhushan in 1990 and the Bharat Ratna in

1997. Before Kalam, there have been only two presidents - SarvepalliRadhakrishnan and ZakirHussain - to have

received the Bharat Ratna before being appointed to the highest office in India.

Read on about the life history of Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, who are also the first scientist and bachelor to occupy the seat

of the RashtrapatiBhavan. His perspectives on important topics have been enunciated by him in the book 'India

2020'. It highlights the action plans that will help develop the country into a knowledge superpower by the time 2020.

One thing for which he received ample kudos is his unambiguous statement that India needs to play a more assertive

role in international relations.

And Dr APJ Abdul Kalam regards his work on India's nuclear weapons program as a way to assert India's place as a

future superpower. Even during his tenure as President, APJ Kalam took avid interest in the spheres of India's

science and technology. He has even put forward a project plan for establishing bio-implants. He is also an ardent

advocate of open source software over proprietary solutions to churn out more profits in the field of information

technology in India.

Contributed by: - Shubham Kashyap

Amartya Sen

Nobel Prize winner Amartya Sen was born on 3 November 1933 in Santiniketan, West Bengal. Besides being a

world-renowned economist, Amartya Sen is also a philosopher. He served as a Master at the Trinity College at

Cambridge University, the first Asian academic to head an Oxbridge college. Currently the Lamont University

Professor at Harvard University, Amartya Sen traces his roots to an illustrious lineage. His father, Ashutosh Sen,

taught chemistry at the Dhaka University. Amartya completed his high-school education from Dhaka in Bangladesh in

1941. After his family migrated to India in 1947, Sen studied at the Presidency College, Kolkata and at

the Delhi School of Economics before moving over to the United Kingdom to complete his higher studies. He earned

his doctorate from the Trinity College, Cambridge in 1959. He has taught at various reputed Universities including the

University of Calcutta, Jadavpur University, Oxford, London School of Economics, Harvard and many others.

His works helped to develop the theory of social choice. In 1981, he published his famous work Poverty and Famines:

An Essay on Entitlement and Deprivation, where he showed that famine occurs not only due to shortage of food, but

from inequalities in the mechanisms for distributing food. He had personally witnessed the Bengal famine of 1943. He

has done valuable work in the field of development economics, which has had a tremendous influence on the

formulation of the United Nations Development Program's Human Development Report.

He wrote a famous but controversial article in the New York Review of Books titled "More Than 100 Million Women

Are Missing", wherein he analyzed the mortality impact of unequal rights between the genders in the developing

world, mainly Asia, a claim that was contested by many. Thrice married, he is presently married to Emma Georgina

Rothschild, a Fellow of King's College, Cambridge. He was awarded the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian award

in 1999. In the same year, he received the honorary citizenship of Bangladesh. He received the Eisenhower Medal,

for Leadership and Service in USA in 2000. In 2002, he was awarded the International Humanist Award by the

International Humanist and Ethical Union.

Contributed by:- Sweta Gupta


Anna Hazare

His only motive in life lies in service of his fellow humans. His fight against corruption has been basically targeted at

uplifting the poor and downtrodden conditions prevailing in rural India. His supporters call him "Second Gandhi". He is

Anna Hazare, an ex-army man and a social activist, recognized and celebrated for his undying support for the

citizens of India to serve them and fight for them against greed and corruption. His journey of four decades, right from

a tenacious army soldier to a social reformer, is regarded as an unprecedented campaign of resurrecting India as a

strong nation. By upgrading the ecology and economy of the Ralegan Siddhi village, sited in drought-prone

Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra state, Hazare has played a significant role in transforming this poverty clad

hamlet into one of the richest villages in India. Recently, he has earned name and fame for fighting for the

implementation of the Jan Lokpal Bill, the anti-corruption bill drafted by his crusaders to deal with the corruption

prevalent in the government of India at the highest level.

Early Life

Anna Hazare was born as Kisan Baburao Hazare to Baburao Hazare, an unskilled laborer in Ayurveda Ashram

Pharmacy, in the village of Bhingar near Hinganghat city in Bombay Province, presently in Maharashtra. After his

grandfather's death in 1945 who served in the Indian army, his father continued working in Bhingar till 1952, after

which he resigned and returned to his ancestral home in Ralegan Siddhi. Due to financial hardships, Anna Hazare

was looked after by his childless aunt who took him to Mumbai and funded his education. Here in Mumbai, he studied

till class seven and took up employment to support his family. A job that started as selling flowers in Dadar

culminated into owning a flower shop and calling upon two other brothers to Mumbai.

Service in the Indian Army

The Indian soldiers who turned martyrs in the Indo-China War of 1962 urged the government to recruit young Indians

in the Indian army on emergency basis. Highly inspired by patriotism and love for his country, Anna Hazare joined the

Indian Army in 1963, despite not fulfilling the physical requirements. Here began his career as an Indian army soldier,

starting as a truck driver, after successful training at Aurangabad in Maharashtra. When Pakistan attacked India in

1965, he was posted at Khem Karan border, where all his comrades turned martyrs, but Anna managed to survive a

close shave as a bullet just passed by his head. This incident forced him to think upon the existence of humans and

meaning of life and death. Swami Vivekananda proved to be a great inspiration for him, post reading the small

booklet "Call to the youth for nation building" he found at a book stall at the New Delhi railway station. It was at this

point that he decided to dedicate his entire life for serving humanity. He was just 26 at that time. However, having

completed only three years in the army would not have made him eligible for the pension scheme, which is why he

continued to serve in the army for 13 long years, after which he took voluntary retirement from the army in 1975 and

returned to his native place, Ralegan Siddhi. During his tenure as a soldier, he served in different states, like Sikkim,

Bhutan, Jammu & Kashmir, Assam, Mizoram, Leh, and Ladakh.

Upliftment of Ralegan Siddhi

During his tenure in the Indian Army, Anna Hazare visited Ralegan Siddhi every year for two months and was highly

moved by the miserable condition of the farmers residing there. On retirement, he went back to this drought-prone

and rain-shadow zone of Ahmednagar district and pledged to develop the village. He came across the novel project

of water management through watershed development undertaken by Vilasrao Salunke, a resident of Saswad near

Pune. Motivated by the project, he decided to implement the same in his village to eradicate water scarcity. The

project was successful in increasing the ground water level and providing water to 1500 acres of land, instead of the

meager 70 acres previously. As a result, the farmers produced good yield of food grains and the village became self-

sufficient. Eventually, Anna Hazare brought about several economic changes leading to establishment of a school, a

temple, a hostel, and other buildings. Mass marriages,


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