Title: Ignited Minds, Unleashing the Power within India
Author: APJ Abdul Kalam (President of India)
Given the uniqueness of Mr. Kalam’s background in comparison to his predecessors, I was curious to get an insight to the person and his thinking. On reading his book, firstly, I was happy for India on a number of counts. Mr. Kalam is certainly inspirational and comes across as someone who really cares about the country, someone who is constantly thinking about how to make a difference, someone who is down to earth and sincere, and someone who has no political leanings whatsoever. I can’t think of any other country in the world where the Prime Minister and the President have such good credentials. I think it was a master stroke by Vajpayee to back a scientist for the Presidency. Lastly, a Muslim President from a BJP government is a noteworthy milestone.
This book is primarily meant to be a call to Indians (the younger generation in particular) to come together, “dream” and work towards transforming the country into a developed nation by the year 2020. The book certainly does justice to this goal. He clearly outlines five focus areas for the country to achieve this objective: agriculture and food processing, education and healthcare, IT, strategic sectors (nuclear, space, defence). He then delves into details on their inter-relationships and implications.
Its an easy read and filled with anecdotes about his visits to various part of India. A lot of it is about questions posed by the younger generation to him from various parts of the country. The book also captures his exchange with Swamijis, Sufis, CEOs, politicians, etc. Given his background as a scientist he covers historical information about the various research centers in India (VSSC, TIFR, DRDO, etc. ) .
While responding to specific questions posed to him in the book, the text does tend to wander sometimes without a formal closure to the answer. K. B Chandrasekhar of Exodus fame is mentioned in the book. “One fine morning he sold his 10-billion dollar company to start another enterprise” (As someone who lost $ from an Exodus investment I wonder where the President got his facts checked for this one!) Barring this, the book is a simple, enjoyable, inspirational read. I hope more of India’s political leaders took the time to capture their thoughts and vision for the country. Its a must read for India’s younger generation.