As India marks Dr Kalam's fifth death anniversary, a glance at his inspiring journey

India on Monday marked the fifth death anniversary of the "missile man", Dr APJ Abdul Kalam. Dr Kalam, who was president of India from 2002 and 2007, played an instrumental role in the development of India's nuclear and missile programs.

Despite having an unprivileged background, Dr Kalam's iconic journey which made him reach Rashtrapati Bhavan (President's residence) inspires many.

Take a look at Dr Kalam's inspiring journey.

Humble beginnings

Dr Kalam was born on October 15, 1931 at Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu. His father was an imam of a local mosque and a boat owner and mother a housewife. 

He also used to sell newspapers at a very young age to financially help his family. 


Graduating as aeronautical engineer

After earning a degree in aeronautical engineering, Dr Kalam joined Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) in 1958. He later moved to Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), where he worked as a research director of India's first indigenously designed and produced satellite launch vehicle, SLV-III.


Becoming 'Missile Man'

Dr Kalam once again joined DRDO in 1982, where he helped in planning a number of successful missiles, thereby earning the nickname "Missile Man".


Pokhran-II tests

He played an iconic role in May 1998, when India successully carried out nuclear tests in Pokhran, Rajasthan. These tests bring a lot of fame for Kalam, who became a national hero. 


President of India

In 2002, former prime minister of India Atal Bihari Vajpayee's ruling government put forward Dr Kalam's name as the candidate for the president of the country. Kalam's popularity ensured that even Opposition Congress party voted for him and he became president with a huge majority.