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        Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, the 11th President of India, was born in Rameswaram on 15th October,  1931.   He was born in a poor Muslim family to a boat owner and imam.   In his childhood he had distributed newpapers  and did other odd things to support his family.  He was a faithful muslim and prayed as per the rules of the religion.

      The priests of the Temple, Church and Mosjid used to gather and discuss important issues of the village.  Kalam used to listen to those and got the spirit of secularism, equality and humanism.  He was a sincere hardworking student, but not intelligent.  He scored average grades.  He had a strong urge and determination to learn.  He liked mathematics.  He studied in Rameswaram, Ramanathapuram, Tiruchirapalli and then Madras.  He had difficulties in studies.

       He had passed graduation degree from Madras university in Physics in 1954.  Then he joined the Madras Institute of Technology to study Aerospace Engg.  He could not do well in the project work.  He was receiving scholarship.  The Dean had  warned him for lack of progress that his scholarship would be cancelled.  Kalam managed to complete the project work in the next three days.

     His life goal was to be the pilot of a fighter plane in the Indian Air Force.   He just missed to qualify in the test for pilots.   He took up doctorate in Physics.   He then entered employment as a scientist.

    The lesson I have learnt is that even though one may be average in studies, one can learn and do well later on.  That is possible by putting in effort with sincerity.  Also, hard work pays dividends.   One can progress step by step.  Even though one misses one chance, there is another opportunity that waits for us.   Like, Dr. Kalam missed becoming a pilot.  Humility is good.  Also, good behaviour fetches good.   Dr. Kalam was a tough boy and man.   It is required to be tough inside , to get past the hurdles.

    His life story and especially his student life had an influence on me.  I have learnt that hard work is essential to come up in life.  It is necessary to stay in the career with courage in spite of many hurdles.  We may be born poor, we may have difficulty in culture, religion, caste matters.  But we need to get on with secular, humanitarian approach.  He won scholarship and had to struggle to maintain that.  He had cultural and technical backwardness in addition to the economic one.  Still he had progressed.  His student life had a positive influence on me to pick the best points.

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