An Autobiography of APJ Abdul Kalam: Wings of Fire Essay

About the author: APJ Abdul Kalam is one of India’s most distinguished scientists. He served as the 11th President of India, between 2002 and 2007. He was fondly referred to as “The People’s President” during his term. He has honorary doctorates from over thirty universities and is the recipient of the country’s three highest civilian awards – the Padma Bhushan, the Padma Vibhushan and the Bharat Ratna. My thoughts on the book:

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“He who knows others is learned, but the wise one is the one who knows himself. Learning without wisdom is of no use.” Another excerpt that looks into life was…
“The trouble is that we often merely analyse life instead of dealing with it. People dissect their failures for causes and effects, but seldom deal with them and gain experience to master them and thereby avoid their recurrence. This is my belief: that through difficulties and problems God gives us the opportunity to grow. So when your hopes and dreams and goals are dashed, search among the wreckage, you may find a golden opportunity hidden in the ruins.” .

This is the story of a boy who rose from a very humble coastal village in Tamil Nandu, Southern India to become one of the greatest architects of Indian Space mission. Indeed, Kalam was to become the president of India from 2002-2007——————- This book is an autobiography of a rocket scientist, a visionary, the only “king among the pawns”, the missile man and 11th president of India (2002-07) Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam popularly known as people’s president. “Wings of fire” is one such autobiography of a person who had the courage to dream big and the passion to keep striving till they are achieved.

The book gives best insight about the life of a small town boy who dreamt to make India strong and prosperous – a DEVELOPED Nation and gave us “Vision 2020”. The book is a journey of dreams, hopes, successes and failures. The life of this great personality was none different than the normal person, only thing different was how he perceive the world around him and how he’s willing to go that little extra to achieve his dreams, how he’s willing to sacrifice for common good and how he never forgets who he really is (some qualities common to visionaries and great men like him). This book gives confidence to Indians that ‘we can do and we can do from India’. It is story of courage, inspiration leadership and motivation. The book tells us how important it is to value the people around us in order to grow as a person.

The book talks about the millions of people who have contributed to the life of Mr. Kalam, which tells us that a great personality is just not one person but a collective effort of many. The book is also the journey of India’s technological advancement, lists how the success and failures were the integral part of the missions. Though there was a lot of hue and cry from the nation about huge money being pumped in for war purposes when half of the nation is below the poverty line. I too thought that such kind of advancement brings no good. But this book gives a scientist’s point of view and I realized that sometimes it is necessary to solve the puzzle to complete the picture.

The hardest battles are those when you are fighting with your own family and indeed the scientists were fighting for a cause for which the nation gave them the least support. Through this book, Mr. Kalam states that missiles were not build to bring war but to become self reliant, to show the world that one cannot rule over others just because they are superior in warfare. This book is not a story of self praise or personal feat but about a person who had the fire in him to give his dreams wings to fly. Through this book he wants the youth to know that no efforts can go waste, no goals can remain unfulfilled and no life can be ordinary. Each of us needs to realize our potential, give away the feeling of being inferior and fight our own battles in order to fly high up in the sky with our WINGS OF FIRE!!!!!

Filled with great anecdotes and the lines of the poems that he loves or has written, one among the many lines in the book that is truly motivating:- “So when your hopes and dreams and goals are dashed, search among the wreckage, you may find a golden opportunity hidden in the ruins.” The story is as simple as it is inspiring. The writer, Arun Tiwali has added quite a load of scientific jargon to the narrative, but that does not wither the richness of the story. It is a story of courage, determination, internal struggles of a very mortal man seeking to achieve beyond the limits mortals ever aspire to.

It is a story of Agni, Akash, Trishul andNag, the missiles that raised India’s repute to international reckoning as a missile power. This is a story of focus, hard work and ingenuity. I have a feeling that more could have been narrated about Kalam than was captured in the book. Nevertheless it is a book that sheds enough light to one of the most brilliant leaders of our era. In my view, Dr. Kalam as an international figure has been under estimated. Wings Of Fire Book Review Literature Essay Written by Dr. A.P.J Abdul Kalam, honorable President of India. ‘Wings of Fire’ is an autobiography capable of inspiring even a common man into becoming a technologist. A well composed novel which revolves around the life of Mr. Kalam a renowned scientist as he shares his experiences and the minutest of details of his life.

I like the way the book has been put together along with the delicate facts of his personal life. His family background, the pain and suffering he went through and recollected himself is commendable. The day I finished reading this book, such an influential personality impacted me very deeply and it gave me a glimpse of how the power of positive thinking can help achieve all odds. This autobiography comprises of a balance of details of the technological and political challenges faced to prosper in its aeronautical and space program. It is also a success story of Dr.Kalam’s participative management practices.

Also, it gives an insight into the lives of Hindus and Muslims of India and their relationships among each other and among multi religious communities in India. “Wings of Fire” is an account of a young boy who tries to achieve his dreams beating all odds. The story emphasizes the importance of family, relatives and friends in helping achieve each other’s goals and turning dreams to reality. It teaches us to become a patriotic citizen of our country shown in the book as a determinant India and countless effort of its scientists in achieving superiority in aeronautical, space and rocket technology. This book offers an important lesson of finding success from failures of Indian space and rocket infrastructural programs. A good presentation of the role of other renowned scientists moulding our country’s future.

This book is full of information and is a recommended choice for every student, because this book has the influence and power to motivate a person to stand out in life. “Wings of Fire” is a unique model of accomplishing one’s goals, while fulfilling the promise to its country. As I read through this book I felt the same humility that Mr.Kalam felt when he was engaged into the program. A friend recommended me this book and I am glad that he did. This book is an biography of India’s president Abdul Kalam which has been co-authored with famous Arun Tiwari, who once had worked with Kalam in the field of military defense research. As from the book itself, “this is the story of Kalam who flourished from darkness into the bright sunlight, his personal and professional effort. . . . . . .

This is also the narrative of independent India’s struggle for technological self adequacy & sovereignty in defense systems – a story as much regarding politics, as it is regarding science.” The story tells us about Kalam’s rise from a humble lower-middle class family & his narrative of India’s efforts in rocketry & space technology. Segregated into four sections, the book gradually reaches for the stars – Orientation, Creation, Propitiation & Contemplation. As a tribute to his mother and father, the book is dedicated to his parents. The first segment relates to the early life of Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Kalam. His recollections of the early days are very suggestive of good old Magudi set up.

He remembers his parents, relatives and teachers his most influential characters in the book. Adding color to the section are pictures of that time. This segment covers all his early learning and travels. The next segment is related to Kalam’s further education and work experience and his involvement with projects of military defense and space, primarily the SLV3. This part has many scientific details and is an introduction to defense and space research organizations. Kalam is an ‘aam aadmi’ at heart, this is shown in the book in many of his narratives through his interaction with even the insignificant people in the hierarchy like Dr Brahm prakash, Prof Satish Dhawan and Prof Vikram Sarabhai.

The third segment covers the years from 80-91 when Kalam is posted from ISRO to military defense labs. Filled with many pictures, this section too keeps us entertained. And to imagine he worked mostly in government institutions where bureaucracy and red tapes are the order of the day. We have all heard of SLV3, PSLV, Akaash, Naga, Agni, Trishul in the news and these technological achievements marks the success of what is now, one of the strongest and determined aeronautical and space organization of India. The last segment is connected with the later years where Kalam is bestowed upon with series of awards, his thought and his visions for a proud India. It is almost impossible not to be inspired by the life of Mr.Kalam. This segment along with the conclusion also mentions of Kalams dream for the year 2020.

The book itself is written in simple English and it seems as if the author is speaking out to the reader directly. One must read this for the following reasons – India’s greatest scientist Abdul Kalam’s story, military and defense research, missile technology, India’s vital space programs and general knowledge. Throughout the book there are morals that are for the grooming purposes for everyone, even for the administrators. Abdul Kalam tells us how the finest of people can be brought out. Abdul Kalam is referred to as ‘spiritual scientist’, his visions and contributions to his country.

As a young man, Abdul Kalam was inquisitive and keen to learn more and more about science. Kalam’s mentors persuaded him to ponder onto the great opportunity into space science and by achieving this India will become self-sufficient in aeronautical and rocket science. He was the first one with a vision that India has great potential in its space and satellite development of launch vehicles. SLV’s provide as the foundation for a range of state-of-the-art missile technology in India’s military.

From an American viewpoint, ‘when everyone is shouting bloody murder and weapon proliferation, Abdul Kalam’s memories of France’s taking away of support and fake accusations of German help serve as a alarming reminder that embargoing a country simply cannot work if the country’s public is strong enough to control their own destiny. It’s worrying that there is little debate on the ethics of an impoverished country developing nuclear weapons and deploying delivery systems. . . .But that’s almost totally lost in the argument of self-reliance, a determination to never again surrender to foreign rule. ‘ Abdul Kalam, an optimist, made helped India become self sufficient in its space and rocket technology.

The book also inspires the youth of India living nationally and internationally that they appreciate the one marvel achieved by their nations hero, Abdul Kalam and strive themselves to become strong in every area of their profession and make India prosper for eternity. Abdul Kalam, the man with many names. He is most trusted man in India according to survey, He is also known as ‘the missile man’ of India. Abdul Kalam will be cherished long after he is gone, the man whom India loves. The book is a journey into Abdul Kalams life; the book however does not cover his presidency days that were published before he became the president of India. Abdul Kalam stayed in ‘Ramesh Varam’ which is famous for its ‘Shiv’ temple. The famous temple was few kilometers journey from Abdul Kalam’s home, a Muslim dominated area.

Abdul Kalam use to sell newspapers to help his brother, was good friend of the priest of the temple and his father was respectable man whom people used to turn for advice. Abdul Kalam writes about his school days, his brother in law’s influence on him and his teachers in the initial chapters. He also writes about his financial challenges he faced during the time he was into education. The later chapters are some of Vikram Sarabhai’s immense contribution in establishment of space research center and opening up new feet’s for coming scientists. Abdul kalam’s efforts in association with other scientist would make ordinary Indian understand the zeal , the effort of human soul in making India , a well respected country in space science.

As a mentor of Abdul Kalam, Vikram Sarabhai had expert management skills and team building skills with which he groomed Abdul Kalam into becoming a scientist to remember for years to come. In one of his meeting with Vikram Sarabhai at 3 a.m, Abdul Kalam worked hours at stretch with his colleague for presentation to defense minister and he forgets an important personal event to attend to, this shows Kalams determination for his work and his country to succeed. ISRO, prithvi, agni, nag, trishul are some of the achievements which every Indian is proud of. It was a moment to cherish when India made its first journey to the moon and along with this journey to success was Abdul Kalams belief that nothing can stop India from reaching the stars and he certainly proved himself as one of the stars. Considering that this book comes from a scientist, this book does have little scientific narration.

SLV, Geo satellite, composite material, mechanical engineering and such things. The journey itself always has technical errors especially when it’s scientific in nature. Abdul Kalam, like the man himself forced his will to victory over failures, fears and disappointments. At the core, the book is about the great Indian dream. A wish that all the founding fathers of a country have, a wish fulfilled by Abdul Kalam.

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