Frontlist | APJ Abdul Kalam Death Anniversary: Top 5 must-read books from the ‘Missile Man’ of India
Late Indian President, APJ Abdul Kalam wore many hats. Dubbed the ‘Missile Man of India‘ of India, he was an aerospace scientist, a prolific writer, a politician and also a philanthropist.
Kalam passed away on July 27, 2015 after suffering a cardiac arrest. He had been delivering a lecture at the Indian Institute of Management in Shillong and had collapsed after suffering a cardiac arrest.
Over his long and interesting life, Kalam wrote several novels that remain popular to this day. Below, we’ve put down a list with some of our favourites:
1. India 2020: A Vision for the New Millennium
Written in 1998, this book was co-authored by Dr. A P J Abdul Kalam and Dr. Y S Rajan and delves into the weaknesses and strengths of India as it moves forward. It expounds on Kalam’s ideas for the future of the country, and uses facts to support its arguments for how India can become one of the world’s top superpowers. Considering that we are now in the year 2020, it would be interesting to see how Kalam’s vision has come true or fallen short.
While India 2020 was written before Kalam’s Presidency, Ignited Minds came as he was in office. Considered by many to be a continuation of this ideas, the book draws from both Kalam’s personal experiences and from facts, bolstering it with examples (of other individuals) along the way. It has 10 chapters, and draws from many of Kalam’s experiences while meeting students across the country.
The book weighs in on topics such as the necessity of dreaming big and the importance of family and teachers in shaping young minds, before talking about modern Indian visionaries, India’s spiritual past and more.
3. Wings of Fire: An Autobiography
Kalam lived a fascinating life. From a young child in Tamil Nadu’s Rameswaram, the son of a boat owner to the President of the world’s largest democracy — this is his journey. Wings of Fire is peppered with anecdotes that create a portrait with depth and nuances rather than a mere name and profile that is soon forgotten.
4. Turning Points: A Journey Through Challenges
Now, while this can be read as a stand-alone book, the sequel of sort, Turning Points follows Kalam into his political and administrative journey. As he writes in the preface, “one could say that my story echoes the concerns, anxieties and aspirations of many Indians. Like them I started my life from the lowest step in the ladder. My first job was as senior scientific assistant. Gradually I moved up to greater responsibilities, finally assuming the office of the president of India.”
Kalam said that if his book managed to help”even one person or one family find their life changing for the better” he would be “fulfilled”.
5. The Life Tree
Somewhat different from the other books in this list, The Life Tree is a collection of poems. Many of them follow the recurring themes found in his books. They are poems of “love faith and patriotism”, written in simple language.
Many of them are also available online: http://abdulkalam.nic.in/poetry.html