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HindustanTimes Wed,23 Apr 2014

Abdul Kalam

Nivedita Mishra, PTI   February 21, 2003
First Published: 11:07 IST(3/1/2003) | Last Updated: 11:43 IST(21/2/2003)

Atulindra Nath Chaturvedi
Non-fiction
Rupa
New Delhi, 2002
Pages: 80
Price: Rs. 95
Hardcover

Would you want to know how a "poor man’s son can become President"? Would it serve as an inspiration if you were told of the grand vision of India of the 11th president of the Indian republic? This is what this book proposes to tell.

Though it starts off to be an inspirational work for readers, it ends up much like a promotional campaign done by a government department.

Written in a direct and simple style it chronicles the life of the 'missile man' of India – Dr APJ Abdul Kalam. His formative years in Rameshwaram, his association with some of the finest scientific brains of the country such as Vikram Sarabhai, M.G.K. Menon, and legendary German scientist Wernher Von Braun in his various capacities during his years in Indian Committee for Space Research (INCOSPAR), Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO), Research Development Laboratory (DRDL), Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) and many others.

It also delves in detail into his candidature for the post of the president and his grand vision of India.

Certainly, his phenomenal rise in national consciousness, whether as a theoretical physicist to finally becoming the president of India is a worthy of praise.

But promoting it consciously as the role model is certainly flawed in its intent. What’s most annoying and certainly doesn’t hold one’s attention is the details of the letter sent to parliamentarians on the eve of his election to presidency. Barring the section where he speaks of 'India as a Knowledge Superpower', nothing seems terribly original. All leaders are supposed to have visions.

This, along with the text of his inaugural speech delivered on his assumption of the office, are absolutely undesired.

This pocket-sized book, written largely in the coffee table format, has a large number of pictures and makes for a tolerable reading. Nonetheless, if one has read Kalam’s original work, Wings of Fire, one would be struck by the similarity in language and content.

Passable for most, the uninitiated may consider.

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