Book Review: WINGS OF FIRE



GENRE: Autobiography

AUTHOR: Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam & Arun Tiwari

PAGES:   180



  • Vision 2020
  • Adamya Sahas
  • Ignited Minds
  • You are born to blossom
  • Target 3 billion
  • Transcendence: My Spiritual Experience with Pramuk Swamiji


"We are all born with a divine fire in us. Our efforts should be to give wings to this fire and fill the world with the glow of its goodness."

Dr. Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam needs no introduction- "The Missile Man of India", ISRO Chief, Bharat Ratna( India's highest civilian award), "People's President", favorite mentor of children and budding professionals.
It is nearly impossible to find haters of this extraordinary yet ordinary man. Born of a small place in Tamil Nadu, Rameshwaram, his contribution is mammoth in placing India in the race of technical superiority around the globe. He was nurtured by Dr. Vikram Sarabhai and Professor Satish Dhawan like stalwarts. He died in 2015 while delivering a speech in IIM Shillong.


The book titled Wings of Fire is to showcase the triumph in achieving indigenous missile technology. The author always had a special place for this feat.

Wings of Fire is, in fact, a narrative dialogue that is presented in a way that most of the middle-class people of India can relate to which Dr. Kalam itself belonged. 

He was born in a small island place of Tamil Nadu, Rameshwaram. His parents had no formal education. But the most celebrated character of Dr. Kalam- self-discipline, sincerity, honesty, faith, spirituality & kindness, was inherited from them. Dr. Abdul Kalam had his schooling and initial education at Rameshwaram, Ramanathapuram. He always has a keen interest in flying, which shaped his future career. Somehow overcoming the financial difficulties, Dr. Kalam, got admission in Madras Institute of Technology as an Aeronautical engineer. He did his internship at Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, Bengaluru. Mr. Kalam even appeared for the Indian Air Force interview but got rejected. After graduation, he joined the directorate of technical development and production under the ministry of defense. During his work, he was interviewed by Dr. Vikram Sarabhai and was selected for future space programs. He was sent to NASA as an intern to study space technology. 


There, Mr. Kalam got influenced by a painting of Tipu Sultan firing rockets in a war with Britishers. The idea of developing indigenous rocket technology started haunting him. 

Dr. Vikram Sarabhai played a key role in molding young Kalam as a leader. By this time Dr. Sarabhai had formulated his action plan for indigenous design and development of satellite launch vehicle(SLV) and chose Dr. Kalam as Project leader.SLV-3, carrying the payload of the Rohini satellite lifted off perfectly and place the satellite at the desired position. 

The next stage of Kalaml's life was moving to the Defence Research and Development Laboratory. Inviting academicians from the Indian Institute of Technology, Dr. Kalam started working on various defense missile projects such as Prithvi, Agni, Trishul, Akash, Nag. 

There are many poetic quotes that prove that he wasn't just a technical genius but has a special place for arts, spirituality, unexplained beliefs. This will help readers, irrespective of their professional domains, in connecting with the author, and enjoy his journey.


Rameshwaram is considered one of the holiest places for Hindus. I consider myself lucky that I along with my family visited this divine place. Along with worshipping, we to the house of Dr. Abdul Kalam, quite near to the main temple. We saw the school where he studied. And lastly, the place where he was buried. It is a big place surrounded by a fence. There is a tall flag of India. A guard sits there. He hosts it every morning takes it down every evening. 

The reason I'm telling you this is because when I was reading the book, everything I described was flashing between the words. As an Indian, knowing about Dr. Kalam is the default. So, this review is for the people outside India. Now why you should read this book is because this man is the backbone of Indian technical infrastructure. Be it space, defense, or atomic programs, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam's name will have a special place. Now making a country technical self-reliant from the eyes of this man, it is a privilege to read. You will see, his failures, his hardships, his shocks, and overcoming them gracefully. Winning people by utter simplicity. Living & dying for the country. There is a smooth flow of words in the chronological events of his life. The reader will have a good time knowing this great man.



1 comment:

  1. Very crisp and accurate account of a man whose entire gamut of personality can hardly be captured in words. A real visionary, he had the foresight to see technological prowess as a sure shot path to India becoming a super power and shaking off centuries of conservative thinking. He inspired youth to strive for solid achievement rather than get blinded by swift but momentary happiness. Even as the top constitutional authority, he remained ever grounded to his roots. We need leaders like him to make India reach the potential she is capable of. A must read for every Indian, especially the youth.


Theme images by chuwy. Powered by Blogger.