The nation is celebrating former president Dr APJ Abdul Kalam's 89th birth anniversary. Known as the 'Missile Man' of India for his contribution to India's military firepower, particularly missile research and development, Dr Kalam's contribution in nation-building is unparalleled.
Dr Kalam is remembered even today for his immense contribution in the field of education which includes science, literature, philosophy and language. His books, Wings of Fire: An Autobiography, India 2020: A Vision for the New Millennium along with 22 poems and four songs are still an inspiration to many. He even made huge contributions to the healthcare sector where he tried to make medical facilities available to everyone.
Dr Kalam was the lead of several nuclear tests at Pokhran. He also headed two science research organisations of India- Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Indian Space Research (ISRO). His work in the development and functioning of 'Indigenous Guided Missiles'- AGNI and PRITHVI earned him the title of 'Missile Man of India.'
Coming from a humble background, Dr Kalam spent a childhood full of hardships and struggles where he even had to sell newspapers to support his family and education. But his hard work and love for education as well as other fields helped him to reach heights and earned him the recognition of 'People's President."
People and various political parties across the nation used to respect and look up to him for his simple way of living and non-partisan conduct. Even after his term was over, Dr Kalam used to organize speaking tours across India in order to guide and mentor the new generation.
The Former President has always stood for inclusiveness with no urban-rural divide and used to proudly spread the message that tolerance is the foundation for sustainable development. He was the one who opened doors of the Rashtrapati Bhavan to masses.
Importance Of Tolerance
A book titled "Prosperity and peace for the 21st century", a compilation of lectures and talks Dr Kalam delivered during his Canada tour in 2008 and 2010 was released in 2015.
"Tolerance is the foundation for sustainable development and it will be appropriate to have introspection by all of us about the social awakening needed for the national and international development," Kalam was quoted in the book as saying.
He used to stress on the need to promote 'constructive tolerance' among individuals to ensure peace and inclusive growth in the world, a positive feeling and a complete dedication towards the notion of 'live and let live.' He used to propagate the idea of evolving a society which would embrace and respect differences and entail the need to become tolerant towards the opinions, culture, lifestyle and trust system of other people.
Remembering Mahatma Gandhi's efforts for peace and harmony during the partition period that witnessed escalated communal violence, Kalam had said, "Gandhiji was of the firm belief that tolerance for diversity will be the binding force which will keep India together as a nation.