Author: Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam
Publisher: Rupa Publications
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Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam, better known as A.P.J Abdul Kalam, not only has a long name, but also a long legacy. This is the first time I picked up his one of his books, out of sheer curiosity. My Journey was an introduction into the personal life of this dynamic ex-president of our country.
Kalam Sahib was one of those rare presidents who are held in high esteem across the political fraternity, as well as amongst the common people. In his autobiography, he gives us glimpses of his personal life, such as his opinion on the label ‘Missile Man’, along with other wonderful life experiences.
I always had the impression that technocrats and scientists have a one-dimensional way of thinking. However, I was pleasantly surprised. I always believed that God bestows some men with intelligence while some others with wisdom. A combination of both is seldom witnessed in the same person. However, Kalam Sahib exhibits a sublime cocktail of enlightenment married to intelligence.
Kalam Sahib enters into deep recesses of his memory to share with his readers some of the most intimate experiences of his life. His early years in the idyllic town of Rameshwaram were filled with immaculate simplicity. His childhood was not free from difficulties, but he extricated himself from each of them in his own way.
He also elaborates on his well-known spiritual side when he explains how both the Bhagavad-Gita and the Quran played pivotal roles in enlightening him during times of despair and melancholia. The role of his family members and mentors in shaping his personality has been covered vividly in the book. He has even touched on his unique hairstyle! He discusses his failures in the Indian Air force with the frankness and humility that graces a truly great man.
He has employed a colloquial style of writing. The content is crisp and concise; the entire book is only 146 pages long. It is obviously meant to be read by everyone, including non-readers. Clearly, Dr. Kalam‘s objective is more than mere literary success; he wishes to inspire and illumine the nation’s youth.
What is most impressive about the book is the humble approach that the writer uses to navigate the reader into a realm of literary extravaganza. As a first-time reader of Kalam Sahib, I felt that there was no doubt that he is not only an amazing scientist but also a great human being. I hope we get to read more from him in future.