“Wings of Fire: An Autobiography of Abdul Kalam” is written by Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam and Arun Tiwari. This book is an autobiography of Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, former president of India. This story sheds light on the journey of a young boy from Rameswaram to become a renowned scientist. It reflects how simple living, dedication, strong will and hard work led to success. It also shows how cultural unity impacts the lives of individuals.
The story begins with Kalam as a boy around 1930 in the village of Rameswaram where he lived with his parents and four brothers and one sister. In this book, the author tells us how the role of family, relatives, friends, and society contribute to an individual’s life. Kalam describes his village where everyone lives in harmony. Religious discrimination was unknown at that time. A passage that shows the closeness they had: “The high priest of Rameswaram temple, Pakshi Lakshmana Sastry, was a very close friend of my father’s. One of the most vivid memories of my early childhood is of the two men, each in his traditional attire, discussing spiritual matters.”
When he was very young, Kalam wanted to join the Indian Airforce but he was not able to clear the interview. Far from being demotivated, he focused more on studies, started his career in Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE), and was involved in the design of a hovercraft. He went to NASA on a training program. He moved to Indian Space Research and there he met Vikram Sarabhai. He also met many geniuses who inspired him. The book also describes leadership and teamwork, while making the projects. It shows how a man becomes a leader whenever there is a successful project or a failed one.
The book reveals extensive and detailed project work by Dr. APJ Kalam, which I find distracting from the story of his life. Some readers may find this detailed descriptions boring and unappealing. It highlights the successful execution of “Agni” and other projects.
The book narrates India’s technological achievements at a time, few nations can boast of. It speaks about some brilliant minds who worked behind Indian space research such as Vikram Sarabhai and Dr. Brahm Prakash and their contribution towards ISRO.
As a reader, this book initially is very interesting particularly the portions from his younger days to a college student like how his family encouraged him. Later, the writing becomes a bit monotonous as it gives minute illustrations of the projects. At the end, he offers advice to the younger generation not to get demotivated and lead a positive life.
This book demonstrates how Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam’s simple living and positive thinking became an inspiration for the Indian youth.