Last Updated:Tuesday, 27 December 2022

APJ Abdul Kalam Quotes

As youngest of 5 siblings

Dr APJ Abdul Kalam was born in Tamil Muslim family to Jainulabdeen Marakayar and Ashiamma in the fishing village of Dhanushkodi on the island of Rameswaram in the Palk Strait off the coast of then Madras Presidency and today’s State of Tamil Nadu. He did his schooling in Tiruchirappalli spending hours on mathematics. In 1954, he graduated in physics from University of Madras. He completed his aerospace engineering from Madras institute of Technology and just missed becoming a fighter pilot in IAF just by one spot.


As a scientist

Kalam, as a scientist joined the Aeronautical Development Establishment of the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) after becoming a member of the Defence Research & Development Service (DRDS).  Later, he joined the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) as the project director of India's first Satellite Launch Vehicle (SLV-III). In 1963 to 1964, he visited NASA. Later from the 1970s to 1990s, he was successful in developing the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) and SLV-III projects. The Rohini satellite was injected into near earth orbit in July 1980 by SLV III and made India an exclusive Space Club member.

Missile Man of India

After serving for over two decades in ISRO, Dr. Kalam was chosen as the CEO of Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP). He was in charge for the development and operationalisation of AGNI and PRITHVI missiles. Dr APJ Abdul Kalam is known as the Missile Man of India as his contribution to nuclear science is very significant. From July 1992 to December 1999, he worked as the Chief Scientific Adviser to the Prime Minister and Secretary of the Defence Research and Development Organization. During this period, he played a vital political and technological role as the Chief Project Coordinator in the Pokhran-II nuclear tests. This made India a Nuclear weapon state. To make healthcare accessible to all, he assisted a cardiologist in designing a cost-effective coronary stent known as 'Kalam-Raju-Stent'. He was the motivating force which helped the development of lightweight calipers for motor disability patients.

The People's President

In 2002, Dr APJ Abdul Kalam succeeded K.R.Narayanan as president of India.  Both the then ruling party, BJP and then opposition INC supported Kalam for his presidential elections. He was the first scientist to become the president of India and the first bachelor to occupy Rashtrapati Bhawan. Dr Kalam was fondly called the People’s President during his tenure, for the reason that his vision, integrity, humility and his enormous participation to motivate and nurture the youths of the nation. His guidelines under the Indian Government scheme of “Vision of 2020” to make India a developed country by 2020 has been incorporated. Pratibha Patil became his successor as the 12th president of India after his tenure of 5 years as president. He did not contest the presidential election for the second term.

He was honored with a Bharat Ratna in 1997, India's highest civilian honor. He was intensely associated with India's Light Combat Aircraft project. He is the first Indian Head of State to fly a fighter plane. Dr APJ Abdul Kalam's contribution to the country both in the field of science and politics has been tremendous. His vision has given a new course and plunge to several breakthrough technologies.

He often spoke to children and the country's young minds. He inspired the youth to study science, be leaders and think big in life. He has written many books to motivate the young Indians. India 2020, Wings of Fire, Ignited Minds, Transcendence: My Spiritual Experiences with Pramukh Swamiji are few of his famous books. Below are a few of his motivating quotes.

  • If you want to shine like a sun, first burn like a sun -APJ Abdul Kalam
  • Let us sacrifice our today so that our children can have a better tomorrow. -APJ Abdul Kalam
  • You have to dream before your dreams can come true. -APJ Abdul Kalam
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  • If a country is to be corruption free and become a nation of beautiful minds, I strongly feel there are three key societal members who can make a difference. They are the father, the mother and the teacher. -APJ Abdul Kalam
  • Great dreams of great dreamers are always transcended. -APJ Abdul Kalam
  • The purpose of education is to make good human beings with skill and expertise... Enlightened human beings can be created by teachers. -APJ Abdul Kalam
  • Man needs his difficulties because they are necessary to enjoy success. -APJ Abdul Kalam Quotes
  • Look at the sky. We are not alone. The whole universe is friendly to us and conspires only to give the best to those who dream and work. -APJ Abdul Kalam
  • Teaching is a very noble profession that shapes the character, caliber, and future of an individual. If the people remember me as a good teacher, that will be the biggest honour for me. -APJ Abdul Kalam
  • If four things are followed - having a great aim, acquiring knowledge, hard work, and perseverance - then anything can be achieved. -APJ Abdul Kalam
  • Excellence is a continuous process and not an accident. -APJ Abdul Kalam
  • If we are not free, no one will respect us. -APJ Abdul Kalam
  • We should not give up and we should not allow the problem to defeat us. -APJ Abdul Kalam
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  • The bird is powered by its own life and by its motivation. -APJ Abdul Kalam
  • My message, especially to young people is to have courage to think differently, courage to invent, to travel the unexplored path, courage to discover the impossible and to conquer the problems and succeed. These are great qualities that they must work towards. This is my message to the young people. -APJ Abdul Kalam
  • War is never a lasting solution for any problem. -APJ Abdul Kalam
  • Why are we, as a nation so obsessed with foreign things? Is it a legacy of our colonial years? We want foreign television sets. We want foreign shirts. We want foreign technology. Why this obsession with everything imported? -APJ Abdul Kalam
  • You see, God helps only people who work hard. That principle is very clear. -APJ Abdul Kalam
  • As a child of God, I am greater than anything that can happen to me. -APJ Abdul Kalam
  • God, our Creator, has stored within our minds and personalities, great potential strength and ability. Prayer helps us tap and develop these powers. -APJ Abdul Kalam
  • The youth need to be enabled to become job generators from job seekers. -APJ Abdul Kalam
  • Great teachers emanate out of knowledge, passion and compassion -APJ Abdul Kalam
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  • I firmly believe that unless one has tasted the bitter pill of failure, one cannot aspire enough for success. -APJ Abdul Kalam
  • Where do the evils like corruption arise from? It comes from the never-ending greed. The fight for corruption-free ethical society will have to be fought against this greed and replace it with 'what can I give' spirit. -APJ Abdul Kalam
  • When we tackle obstacles, we find hidden reserves of courage and resilience we did not know we had. And it is only when we are faced with failure do we realise that these resources were always there within us. We only need to find them and move on with our lives. -APJ Abdul Kalam
  • In India we only read about death, sickness, terrorism, crime. -APJ Abdul Kalam
  • Ultimately, education in its real sense is the pursuit of truth. It is an endless journey through knowledge and enlightenment. -APJ Abdul Kalam
  • For me, there is no such thing as a negative experience. -APJ Abdul Kalam
  • God is everywhere. -APJ Abdul Kalam
  • Great teachers emanate out of knowledge, passion and compassion. -APJ Abdul Kalam
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  • Educationists should build the capacities of the spirit of inquiry, creativity, entrepreneurial and moral leadership among students and become their role model. -APJ Abdul Kalam
  • What is politics? Political system is equal to development politics plus political politics. -APJ Abdul Kalam
  • Regarding marriage, it - somehow, it didn't happen. One fellow in such a big family not getting married is not an issue. -APJ Abdul Kalam
  • No religion has mandated killing others as a requirement for its sustenance or promotion. -APJ Abdul Kalam
  • The wealth of information now available at the click of a finger amazes me. -APJ Abdul Kalam
  • Rameswaram has, since antiquity, been an important pilgrimage destination. -APJ Abdul Kalam
  • We will be remembered only if we give to our younger generation a prosperous and safe India, resulting out of economic prosperity coupled with civilizational heritage. -APJ Abdul Kalam
  • For me, there are two types of people: the young and the experienced. -APJ Abdul Kalam
  • We have not invaded anyone. We have not conquered anyone. We have not grabbed their land, their culture, their history and tried to enforce our way of life on them. -APJ Abdul Kalam
  • Economy forced me to become a vegetarian, but I finally starting liking it. -APJ Abdul Kalam
  • One of the more difficult tasks for me as president was to decide on the issue of confirming capital punishment awarded by courts... to my surprise... almost all cases which were pending had a social and economic bias. -APJ Abdul Kalam
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  • We must get rid of fossil fuels by developing injection systems for automobiles, which can run on bio-fuel. -APJ Abdul Kalam
  • India's trade deficit is because of excess of import over exports. -APJ Abdul Kalam
  • Every nation has to follow a certain policy: Commercial, trade, various other types of policies. -APJ Abdul Kalam
  • The President's post should not be politicised. Once a president is elected, he is above politics. -APJ Abdul Kalam
  • The government, whether state or central, is elected. That means we have a responsibility to elect the right kind of leaders. -APJ Abdul Kalam
  • My hair grows and grows; you cannot stop it - that fellow grows, it grows wild. -APJ Abdul Kalam
  • I'm not an expert on the arms race. -APJ Abdul Kalam
  • For success of any mission, it is necessary to have creative leadership. Creative leadership is vital for government, non-governmental organisations as well as for industries.
  • Today, India is a nuclear weapons state. -APJ Abdul Kalam
  • The world has today 546 nuclear plants generating electricity. Their experience is being continuously researched, and feedback should be provided to all. Nuclear scientists have to interact with the people of the nation, and academic institutions continuously update nuclear power generation technology and safety. -APJ Abdul Kalam
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  • When I took over as president, I studied the Constitution, and the more I studied it, the more I realised that it does not prevent the president of India from giving the nation a vision. So when I went and presented this vision in Parliament and in legislative assemblies; everyone welcomed it, irrespective of party affiliations. -APJ Abdul Kalam
  • New markets could be created by rural potentials, which could lead to rise in the employment. -APJ Abdul Kalam
  • All the scientists and technologists should work in appropriate region, specifically the rural technologies, to transform Indian rural sector. -APJ Abdul Kalam

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Post Presidency

Dr APJ Abdul Kalam remained bachelor all his life and had no kids. He dedicated all his life to science and nurturing youths of India. After leaving office in June 2007, Dr Kalam became a visiting professor at many reputed educational institutes. He taught at the Indian Institute of Management Indore, the Indian Institute of Management Shillong and the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad. He served as professor of Aerospace Engineering at Anna University; an honorary fellow of Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore; chancellor of the Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology Thiruvananthapuram and an adjunct at many other academic and research institutions across India. At the International Institute of Information Technology, Hyderabad; Banaras Hindu University and Anna University he taught information technology. He was an enthusiastic educator who inspired millions of minds to accomplish their dreams in life. He taught the youngsters to dream big for them and for the nation. In May 2012, Kalam launched a programme themed defeating corruption for the young Indians called What Can I Give Movement.

He was not just a global leader but also a great personality and a gentleman. His role in the India Space Programme can never be forgotten by Indians. His quotes are visionary, which awakens the inner spirit of youths of the nation. Share his wisdom in the form of quotes with your near and dear ones. Your family, friends, colleagues and well wishers might be in need of some motivation, keep spreading his positive and inspirational words.