Wings of Fire Book Review | Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam - Best Books to Read


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Monday, 1 February 2021

Wings of Fire Book Review | Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam

 Wings Of Fire by Dr.A.P.J Abdul Kalam  and Arun Tiwari


                     Hello! dear reader, here I am going to give you a review of the book Wings Of  Fire. In this review, I am going to share with you all what I learned from this book. Also, I will share with you the thoughts and parts from the book that I liked most. So let us begin our Wings Of Fire Book Review!

wing of fire book review
Dr.APJ Abdul Kalam Sir

About The Author:- 

                                  Dr. A.P.J.Abdul Kalam was an aviation scientist and one of the former presidents of India He gave nearly forty years to the field of space research. His work in rocketry in India entitled him with the name 'Missile Man of India'. He had been honored with all the three highest civilian awards of India. He has authored many books . A few important are as follows

1) Ignited Minds

2) India 2020

3) The Luminous sparks

4) Indomitable Spirits

5) Mission India

6) Turning Points

 About The Book:-

                         Wings Of Fire is an autobiography of Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, a well-known scientist and one of the presidents of India.  The first edition of this book was published in1999. Since then it has been reprinted more than fifty-two times. It has been published in 18 languages in India and other parts of the world. 

The 52nd reprint was handed to readers in 2016. The book has become a classic guide to the generations in India. It has been a source of inspiration for nearly 20 years! What might it be that made this book so influential that it has become a must-read for everyone? To find out that we must dig in the book. Let us do it together.

Plot Of The Book:-

                           The book is divided into four parts namely Orientation, Creation, Propitiation, and Contemplation. Every part is associated with the life stages of Dr. Kalam. The Orientation part speaks about the years 1931 to 1963. It covers from his childhood to the time when he was sent on a learning tour to the USA by DTD&P(Air), at the Ministry Of Defense, India. 

The part Creation gives an account of his life from 1963 to 1980. In this part, we come to know about his work as a scientist, various projects handled by him, and the adversities that he and his team had to face while completing their projects. In the part Propitiation, you will find him facing the various ups and downs in years 1981 to 1990 at DRDO. The final part , the Contemplation, speaks about his life from 1990 to onwards. This part ends with a message from Dr. Kalam to the readers.


                                While reading the  book I have noticed few things.I am giving its short account in following points.

Story of Development of Space Research and Rocket Science in India :-

development in the sector of space research

The era of this book starts in 1931 and follows on. From 1931 as Dr.Kalam was growing as a child, on world level India was gaining the speed towards freedom. After independence when Kalam was gaining the higher education, here India was also learning new global rules. 

Dr. Kalam belonged to very poor and poorly educated background but managed to live his dreams by fighting hard with circumstances. Similarly, India was a poor country in case of technology and economy by the time British left it. Developing its own technology, specially in the field of space research was a great challenge:but India also managed to do that while facing the other major challenges like unemployment,poverty,healthcare etc.

 In first part of the book we get to know about the early life of Dr. Kalam: but the rest of the book speaks more about the Indian development in the sector of space research. It can be seen clearly in the acknowledgement given by Dr. Kalam himself


          This story is an account, I hope not just of my personal triumphs and tribulations but of the successes and setbacks of the science establishments in modern India, struggling to establish itself in the technological forefront.It is a story of national aspiration and co-operative endeavour. And, as I see it, the saga of India's search for scientific sufficiency and technological competence is a parable for our times.  

The book contains the parallelism of Kalam's life with India's scientific development. This parallelism is maintained throughout the book.One can easily say that this is not the autobiography of a person but it is the biography of the Indian Space Research Development.

* Hindu-Muslim Unity of those days/Secularism    

                                                 The another theme that is depicted everywhere in the book is Hindu-Muslim unity. There are number of incidents that show this unity and secularism. There  was a temple of Lord Rama in his locality.Every year during one of the Hindu festivals the idol of Lord Rama were to be carried out to the marriage mandapa in the Dhanushkodi

This work was always done with the help of Kalam's father. He would row his boat for free while doing so. Also he would always carry number of Hindu pilgrims to the various temples of Kerala by his boat.It can be clearly said that the secular mindset of Dr. Kalam was totally inherited from his father and the surrounding of that time.Also it can be seen clearly from the lines-

Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam Autobiography
Dr. Kalam's Home in Tiruvanantpuram

                  Our locality was predominantly Muslim,but there were quite a Hindu families too, living amicably with their Muslim  neighbours.


                               One incident from Kalam's childhood is quite rememberable in this aspect. He and his best friend who was son of Ram Temple priest Pakshi Laxmansastrey, used to sit on the same bench in the class. Once a newly appointed teacher noticed it and told to Kalam to go and sit elsewhere on the last benches.That thing hurt too much to both the children and they narrated to their parents what had happened in the class.

 Kalam's father remained calm but Pakhi Laxman Sastry was very angree due to such behaviour of the teacher. He summoned that teacher and told him  to apologise the children and also told him if such a discriminatory behaviour is repeated again, he would have to leave the school as well as village.

*Golden touch of Spirituality:-

                                             The modern world see the science and spiritual things as opposites to each other.But Kalam's story is quiet different from this fact. You will find spirituality everywhere in this book.

It seems that the whole story is narrated in such a way that the author himself has done nothing but whatever he has done it was all God's masterplan for him.He do not speak about his talent, his hard work, his sacrifices. He take all these things for granted and says -

            I have always been a religious person in the sense that I maintain a working partnership with God. I was always aware that the best work required more ability than I possessed and therefore I needed help that only God could give me.I made a true estimate of my own ability, then raised it by 50 percent and put myself in the God's hands. In this partnership I have always received all the  power I needed and in fact felt it running through me.


                          The book starts with the hymn of Atharva Veda and consist of number of hymns from Holy Quran and other religious sacred books.Also every incident whether it be good or bad Dr. Kalam looked at it with religious perspective.He shifts everything on God's account. 

In general notions a scientist must be materialistic; but Kalam was a religious, spiritualistic sage living an ascetic life and striving for the knowledge and betterment in the performance. Also his conversations with his father, Swami Sivananda and his brother in law Jalalluddin emphasize the spiritual factor of the book.Actually the optimistic attitude of Dr.Kalam was the result of the spiritual atmosphere in which he had grown up.

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 Filled with Life lessons:-

                                          Every chapter of this book will teach you many important life lessons. It will specially teach you leadership lessons. The author has presented a true leadership in the form of Dr. Vikram Sarabhai, Satish Dhawan, Bramha Prakash and other colleagues. 

He himself has developed a another way to lead the team toward common goal.He gives very simple but effective team management and time management secrets.A true leader in his own words can be understood as follows-

                            How good is leader? No better than his people and their commitments and their participation the project as full partners!


                                                         At another place Dr. Kalam say that-


I visualized my team as a group in which each member worked to enrich others in the team and experience the enjoyment of working together. 


Wings of fire book by dr, APJ Abdul kalam

                                 There are so many good things about the book. I have given only what I thought important to be shared. At some pointed the books seems to be stuffed with a lot of technical data and revolves around others rather than revolving around the author.

But its only because of Dr. Kalam's down to earth attitude an love for his colleagues and his work. You will find his life related to his projects only. I know you must have satisfied with the review.Happy Reading! Read it and don't forget to tell whether you find the same things that I mentioned in this Wings of Fire Book Review.

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