Born on 15th October 1931 at Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu, Dr. Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam, specialized in Aeronautical Engineering from Madras Institute of Technology. Dr. Kalam made significant contribution as Project Director to develop India's first indigenous Satellite Launch Vehicle (SLV-III) which successfully injected the Rohini satellite in the near earth orbit in July 1980 and made India an exclusive member of Space Club. He was responsible for the evolution of ISRO's launch vehicle programme, particularly the PSLV configuration. After working for two decades in ISRO and mastering launch vehicle technologies, Dr. Kalam took up the responsibility of developing Indigenous Guided Missiles at Defence Research and Development Organisation as the Chief Executive of Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP).He was responsible for the development and operationalisation of AGNI and PRITHVI Missiles and for building indigenous capability in critical technologies through networking of multiple institutions.
He was the Scientific Adviser to Defence Minister and Secretary, Department of Defence Research & Development from July 1992 to December 1999. During this period he led to the weaponisation of strategic missile systems and the Pokhran-II nuclear tests in collaboration with Department of Atomic Energy, which made India a nuclear weapon State. He also gave thrust to self-reliance in defence systems by progressing multiple development tasks and mission projects such as Light Combat Aircraft.
As Chairman of Technology Information, Forecasting and Assessment Council (TIFAC) and as an eminent scientist, he led the country with the help of 500 experts to arrive at Technology Vision 2020 giving a road map for transforming India from the present developing status to a developed nation. Dr. Kalam has served as the Principal Scientific Advisor to the Government of India, in the rank of Cabinet Minister, from November 1999 to November 2001 and was responsible for evolving policies, strategies and missions for many development applications. Dr. Kalam was also the Chairman, Ex-officio, of the Scientific Advisory Committee to the Cabinet (SAC-C) and piloted India Millennium Mission 2020.
Dr. Kalam took up academic pursuit as Professor, Technology & Societal Transformation at Anna University, Chennai from November 2001 and was involved in teaching and research tasks. Above all he took up a mission to ignite the young minds for national development by meeting high school students across the country.
In his literary pursuit four of Dr. Kalam's books - "Wings of Fire", "India 2020 - A Vision for the New Millennium", "My journey" and "Ignited Minds - Unleashing the power within India" have become household names in India and among the Indian nationals abroad. These books have been translated in many Indian languages.
Dr. Kalam is one of the most distinguished scientists of India with the unique honour of receiving honorary doctorates from 30 universities and institutions. He has been awarded the coveted civilian awards - Padma Bhushan (1981) and Padma Vibhushan (1990) and the highest civilian award Bharat Ratna (1997). He is a recipient of several other awards and Fellow of many professional institutions.
Dr. Kalam became the 11th President of India on 25th July 2002. His focus is on transforming India into a developed nation by 2020.
His first Tamil film Roja, fetched him the National Film Award, in 1992, and thrust him into the limelight. In the five years since Roja, he has created music for blockbuster Indian films, including Pudhiya Mugam, Gentleman, Kizhaku Seemaiyilae, Duet, Kadalan, Bombay, May Madham, Indian, Kadhal Desam and Love Birds. His 1995 soundtrack for Bombay crossed 5 million units and Rahman arrived as the “King of Indian Pop" with sales of more than 40 million albums over a period of 3 years.
Allah Rakha Rahman popularly known as A R Rahman was born A.S. Dileep Kumar on January 6, 1966, in Chennai, to a musically affluent family. Dileep started learning the piano at the tender age of four. But at the age of nine, his father passed away. The pressure of supporting his family fell on Dileep. At the age of 11, he joined Illaiyaraja's troupe as a keyboard player. Rahman branched out into advertising in 1987, when he was asked to compose a jingle to promote a range of watches and Leo Coffee Powder. The ads were a success, and over the next five years, Rahman would compose more than 300 jingles.
In 1989, he started a small studio of his own, called Panchathan Record Inn, attached to his house. This would later develop into one of India's most well equipped and advanced recording studios. In his established state of the art sound and recording studio he began experimenting in sound engineering, design and production. Rahman is well known for introducing several unknown voices into the main stream playback. He has shown an extraordinary flair for experimenting with untrained voices. Singers who have worked with him have repeatedly said that Rahman's open approach during recording sessions has spurred
them on to giving their best. Suresh Peters, Shahul
Hameed, Srinivas, Shankar Mahadevan, Harini, Anupama, Dominique, Minmini, Shubha, Febi, Hema Sardesai are some of the singers who have thrived after the advent of Rahman. Singers like Hariharan, Sujatha, Unnimenon have had successful comebacks in the industry after working with Rahman. Unnikrishnan, Bombay Jayshree and Nithyashree Mahadevan who are successful Karnatak classical vocalists have been introduced into film playback by Rahman. Rahman's first break with Hindi films came with Ram Gopal Varma's Rangeela.Mani Ratnam picked him for his first Hindi film, Dil
Se, and the rest, as they say, is history. Impressed with Rahman's film songs, the famous musical composer and producer, Andrew Webber Lloyd, has signed Rahman to compose a Broadway musical titled `Bombay Dreams'. Webber was introduced to Rahman's style of music through the songs from `Dil Se..' and `Taal'.