Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam was born on 15 October 1931 and died on 27 July 2015. He was the eleventh President of India (2002-2007), and also knows as “THE MISSILE MAN OF INDIA” within and outside India.
Dr. Kalam’s books have always been inspirational. He once said, “Let me define a leader. He must have vision and passion and not be afraid of any problem. Instead, he should know how to defeat it. Most importantly, he must work with integrity.”
Here are 3 must-read books of Dr. Kalam that every leader should read in their lifetime.
1. Wings of Fire: An Autobiography
If you have not read any books written by Dr. Kalam, then Wings of Fire is the best one to start. As said in its title, Wings of Fire is the autobiography of Dr. Kalam, who from a humble background, went on to become a renowned scientist in Indian space research programs and the president of India. Although some of the chapters of this book are already available in the school textbooks, a cover-to-cover reading, that too as many times as possible, may bring considerable changes in the readers’ lives.
Wings of Fire is an inspiring autobiography of the Former President of India – Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam. Dr Kalam along with Ankit Tiwari pens down the journey of a young boy and developing India. Published in 1999, Wings of Fire and “India 2020: A Vision For the New Millennium” became very popular. This book deals with every essential aspect of Kalam’s life. The text takes us through the ups and downs faced by Kalam sir before tasting the success.
It also involves the moral lessons which we should adopt in our lives. It has something for both academic and non-academic readers. Wings of Fire divides into four segments – Orientation, Creation, Propitiation, and Contemplation. These divided sections enable the reader an easier comprehension of the text.
2. Ignited Minds: Unleashing the Power within India
Ignited Minds is a beautiful book authored by the former president of India, late Shri A. P. J. Abdul Kalam. The book presents a vision plan to take the nation forward, toward a glorious future. It inspires the readers, particularly the young ones, and ignites their minds to strive for a new and better India.
The book successfully captivates the reader’s attention from the first page itself. It begins with the inspiring dialog between five great personalities of the world, namely Mahatma Gandhi, Albert Einstein, Emperor Asoka, Abraham Lincoln, and Caliph Omar. The discussion takes place in Kalam’s dream. It instantly taps into one’s consciousness and reinforces the importance of self-realization. Dr. Kalam explains how we should let our inner energy guide us through difficult situations in life.
Ignited Minds is divided into nine chapters, each concerning a specific theme. These themes range from spirituality and patriotism to scientific learning and a knowledge society. Each chapter opens with a quote from an eminent personality and concludes with a brief overview of the main takeaways from the chapter in question. Dr. Kalam also writes about his interactions with various people from different strata of the society. These include religious leaders, scientists, politicians, industrialists, students, and children.
He also highlights the qualities that the Indian society at large needs to acquire and adopt. Dr. Kalam vehemently stresses on the fact that in spite of having the potential, skills and resources to achieve the extraordinary, we often tend to settle for the ordinary. He urges the youth of the country to reach for the stars in their personal and professional lives. All in all, Ignited Minds can also be seen as Kalam’s vision document – a road map – for the splendid future of India.
3. Turning Points: A Journey Through Challenges
Turning Points: A Journey Through Challenges, is indeed an inspiring sequel of Wings of Fire. If Wings of Fire talked about his life till 1992, Turning Points is more about his life as the President of India. Unlike Wings of Fire, Dr. Kalam has not included adequate personnel
anecdotes, instead, he brings in a heavy dose of his ‘India 2020 Vision.’ In the preface, Dr. Kalam writes, “Seeing the response generated by Wings of Fire I felt that if in the same way this book too could benefit a few people it would be well worth the effort.”
Kalam is basically a teacher, a patriot and a humble human being. This is reflected copiously in his book. The book reads like a lecture and avoids use of ‘I’ wherever it is possible. There are few occasions where he narrates stories about his father and brother, but in the end, he shares moral lessons he learnt from those incidents – like in Panchatantra
Swaranjali Nigel Newton
M.A in literature, B.Com ,PGDCA, D.El.Ed
Asst. Teacher at Rahul Education, Father Joseph’s English High School