India marks on Wednesday the first death anniversary of former president APJ Abdul Kalam, fondly known as the People’s President, who breathed his last in Shillong last year.
The death of the 83-year-old had sparked a nationwide outpouring of grief as thousands of mourners -- young and old --poured into the island town of Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu to pay their last respects.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi and a host of other dignitaries, including chief ministers of some states, took part in the last rites after ‘Namaz-e-Janaza’.
Kalam, a scientist considered as the father of India’s missile defence programme, was one of India’s most-loved presidents who was especially popular with children.
The Missile Man’s death witnessed a huge outpouring of grief across the nation. In Delhi, thousands waited in the sultry heat for hours to pay their last respects to him. The government declared a national mourning for seven days in his honour.
Here are photos from his life and career as India’s pre-eminent defence scientist and one of the country’s most popular president:
Kalam was born in Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu and studied physics and aerospace engineering. In this photo taken on 26 May 1989, Abdul Kalam is attending Agni’s Scientists Press Conference. (HT Photo by Santosh Gupta)
In this photo taken on 28/03/81, APJ Abdul Kalam then a highly gifted research and development engineer scientist is receiving Padma Bhushan Award.
He has received several prestigious awards, including the Bharat Ratna. In this file photo taken on 17/05/98, Dr APJ Abdul Kalam and secretary Department of Atomic Energy Dr R.Chidambaram are attending a joint press Conference in New Delhi. (HT Photo)
In this photo taken on 09/08/96, Dr APJ Abdul Kalam walks back after receiving G M modi award for Science Achievement.
In this photo taken on 17/05/98, R Chidambaram, then chairman of Atomic Energy Commission waves at a press conference with Dr Abdul Kalam, then advisor of defence minsitry along with K santhanam, then chief advisor of DRDO in New Delhi. Photo: Prakash Singh
In this file photo, APJ Abdul Kalam is being conferred the 13th Indira Gandhi Award for National Intergration by Congress President Sonia Gandhi. (Photo: UNI)
He became known as the Missile Man of India.
In this file photo Prime Minister AB Vajpayee, flanked by APJ Abdul Kalam and R Chidambaram inspects the site of the nuclear fission blast at Pokhran in Thar desert . (PTI photo)
In this file photo Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, DR Manmohan Singh and Somnath Chatterjee poses for a photo after the swearing in ceremony in New delhi. (Photo: PIB)
In this photo taken on 04/12/97, APJ Abdul Kalam is explianing President KR Narayanan and Prime Minister IK Gujral, about the missile at navy day reception in New Delhi.
In this file photo, then President APJ Abdul Kalam visits Jawahar Lal Nehru’s samadhi in New Delhi. (Arvind Yadav/HT Photo)
In this photo, President APJ Abdul Kalam waves while traveling in horse carriage at the ceremonial reception in the Forecourt of Rashtrapati Bhavan after the swearing ceremony in New Delhi. (Photo SN Sinha/HT)
A P J Abdul Kalam’s 79th birthday was recognised as World Student’s Day by United Nations.
The Tricolour flies at half-mast to mark the death of Kalam at Parliament House in New Delhi on July 28, 2015. (Sonu Mehta/HT Photo)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi pays his respect to Kalam during a ceremony at the Palam Airforce Station in New Delhi on July 28, 2015. (Vipin Kumar/HT Photo)
A girl holds flowers as children wait to pay tribute to Kalam as his body is transported from the airport to his house in New Delhi on July 28, 2015 (Ravi Choudhary/HT Photo)
School children pay their last respect to Kalam as his body is transported from the airport to his house in New Delhi on July 28, 2015. (Sanjeev Verma/HT Photo)
School children pray during the condolence meet for Kalam in Agartala on July 29, 2015. (PTI Photo)
International sand artist Sudarshan Patanaik creates a sand sculpture to pay tribute to Kalam at the Golden Puri beach in Puri on July 28, 2015. (Arabinda Mahapatra/HT Photo)
A child kisses former president Kalam’s photo in Karnataka’s Chikmagalur on July 29, 2015. (PTI Photo)
Kalam’s elder brother Maraicker pays his last respects in Rameswaram on July 29, 2015. (PTI Photo)
People wait in a queue to pay their respects to Kalam at public view ground in Rameswaram on July 29, 2015. (PTI Photo)
Kalam served as the 11th President of India, succeeding K R Narayanan.
(HT File Photo)