served his country as president from 2002 to 2007.
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Born in 1931 in Dhanushkodi, India, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam joined India's defense department after graduating from the Madras Institute of Technology. He was a central figure in the development of the country's nuclear capabilities, and was hailed as a national hero after a series of successful tests in 1998. Kalam served as India's president for one term, and died of a heart attack on July 27, 2015.
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Kalam was a key figure in the May 1998 Pokhran-II tests, in which five nuclear devices were detonated in the Rajasthan Desert. Although the tests resulted in condemnation and economic sanctions from other world powers, Kalam was hailed as a national hero for his stanch defense of the country’s security.
In 2002, India's ruling National Democratic Alliance helped Kalam win an election against Lakshmi Sahgal and become India's 11th president, a largely ceremonial post. Known as the People's President, Kalam set a goal of conducting 500,000 one-on-one meetings with young people over the course of his five-year term. His immense popularity led to him being nominated by MTV for a Youth Icon of the Year award in 2003 and 2006.
After leaving office in 2007, Kalam became a visiting professor at several universities. He formed the "What Can I Give Movement" in 2011 with the goal of creating a compassionate society, and in 2012, his efforts to improve healthcare led to the release of a tablet for medical personnel to use in...