A.P.J. Abdul Kalam : The Visionary of India

K Bhushan and G Katyal, APH, 2002, 208 p, ISBN : 817648380X, $22.00 (Includes free airmail shipping)

A.P.J. Abdul Kalam : The Visionary of India/K. Bhushan

Contents: Preface. 1. Life and achievements. 2. Three visions for India. 3. Abdul Kalam : 200 per cent Indian. 4. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, India’s leading defence scientist on Phokhran II : vision 2020. 5. Agni ‘could be deployed within three month’. 6. Dreams float on an impatient wind… 7. India should market itself well. 8. Dr. Abdul Kalam interview. 9. India’s missile development with foreign assistance. 10. Dr. Kalam suggests alternative systems for treating CAD. 11. In the service of the country. 12. Vision for a proud India. 13. Missile man rises from humble base. 14. Abdul Kalam with Amrita institute of computer technology. 15. Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam—biography. 16. Salaam Kalam. 17. India’s nuclear bomb. 18. Policies programmes and initiatives. 19. Developed nation : the vision. 20. Current events. Index.

"Born on 15 October 1931 at Dhanushkodi in the Rameswaram district of Tamil Nadu, Abdul Kalam’s father had to rent boats out to fishermen to pay this genius’ school fees. He received secondary education at the Schwartz School, a missionary institute in Ramanathapuram, and later joined the St. Joseph’s College at Tiruchirapalli, where he graduated with a Bachelor in Science. Abdul Kalam went on to study Aeronautical engineering at the Madras Institute of Technology.

"Even though a devout Muslim, his favourite pastimes include reading Hindu scriptures like the Bhagvad Gita, plucking the veena and writing poetry in Tamil, his first language. Unlike other great Indian Scientists, he was neither educated abroad, nor was his family financially very strong to support his academic pursuits. Branded as "200 percent Indian" by his colleagues and acquaintances, ‘India’s Missile Man’, Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam has done the country proud on many fronts.

"Do things yourself. Do not indulge in short-cuts by importing equipment", thundered the great scientist after the famed Pokhran-2 nuclear blasts in 1998. A strong advocate of this philosophy, he distributed newspapers at a young age to help with household expenses.

"Thoroughly Indian, the only brief exposure that he got abroad was in 1963-64 when he was invited by NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) to spend four months in the United States at the Wallops Island Rocketry Centre and the Langley Research Centre.

"Abdul Kalam joined the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) in 1958 and in his forty-year career as a scientist, achieved many milestones. He later joined the ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation) where he succeeded in putting the 35-kg Rohini-I satellite on a iow-earth orbit with help of the SLV-III (Satellite Launch Vehicle). After spending 19 fruitful years in ISRO, he returned to DRDO to head the country’s integrated Missile Development Programme, which culminated in the successful launch of the Agni and Prithvi missiles.

"A great humanitarian, he extended his knowledge of space technology and mechanisms to help disabled children, replacing their 3-kg metal supporters with very light braces made of carbon, which weigh just 300 grams.

"A vegetarian and a teetotaller, Abdul Kalam recites the Quran and the Bhagvad Gita with equal ease. A confirmed bachelor, his modesty is evident from the fact that he gives all the credit to his colleagues. He burst into the limelight after the Pokhran nuclear explosions in 1998. Totally dedicated to the development of the nation, he has been felicitated with many national awards. He was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 1981, the Padma Vibhushan in 1990 and the HK Firodia Award for excellence in science and technology in 1996. More recently, he was honoured with the Bharat Ratna in 1997, the highest civilian award in India.

"Abdul Kalam is a dreamer. He dreamt of a strong India. "We must think and act like a nation of a billion people." His next goal is to produce a reusable missile which no country in the world has been able to produce. And judging by his earlier achievements, this invention does not seem a distant possibility for this genius.

"It is hoped that the present book will open a new area for future historians, researchers and the general public to know his leadership." (jacket)


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