A. P. J. Abdul Kalam


It’s bad luck of India that one of the greatest minds of the present times couldn’t do anything worthwhile — missiles and nuclear bombs are obnoxious; rockets are waste of money; and I only hope he didn’t furtively bio-implant people. Rather, the books he wrote — which I admit I have not read any — might be what he will be remembered for ultimately. Have downloaded “Wings of Fire”, his autobiography; it’s just a 112 page book; will add after reading it.

P.S. Have read the book. Aeronautical engineers and scientists need to read it. Management graduates need to read it. Philosophy students need to read it. And anybody who can wake up whole night in a “FLOW” needs to read it. My only regret: the propensity of scientists to find strength in their passions is exploited by the forces and the politicians; I am amazed at how the scientists work. RIP.

P.S. — Gandhi and Kalam
I think Indians are extremely insecure people; therefore, they accept any propaganda. Of course, the military would like to praise Kalam, for he developed indigenous missiles. But today, on CNN-IBN, I saw people comparing Kalam to Gandhi. This is ridiculous! Kalam believed in violence; initially he started with a simple passion to fly — in which he lost — but later in his life his aspirations grew manifold, and he conveniently ingrained the violence of missiles in disguise of love for technology. In his book “Wings of Fire”, he ruminated just once about the violent path that India undertook after the 1961 war, but then conveniently ignored it, leaving it for the future generations to answer the question. Whereas Gandhi was a soldier of peace; his whole life was a life of non-violence. I think there can’t be any comparison whatsoever between the two.

Unlike scientists in general, Kalam had high aspirations, and he actively pursued them too; he achieved a lot mainly because of his management skills, clarity of thought, and right decisions. But, at the same time, he sacrificed a lot: he didn’t marry and lived in a 10’x12′ room for all his life as a scientist — which I think was not by choice but by compulsion, and I am not ruling out the negative role of the politicians in it. In the later part of his life, he definitely drifted towards management lecturing and is deemed to have lived a far more comfortable life.

If Kalam were to be born today, I think he would drift into management right after engineering and would create Facebook and Twitter, not Agni and Prithvi. But, he had neither courage, conviction, nor shrewdness of Gandhi — he didn’t understand the games people were playing on him in the initial years of his career, and which games I think never stopped. He just kept running on the straight track; he had lots of stamina and could sustain the long marathon. But, I don’t think India will have another Gandhi, and I would hate a Zuckerberg to be born in India.

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Ankur Mutreja is an advocate-cum-writer, and his blogs are amongst his modes of expression. He has also authored six books: "Kerala Hugged"; "Light: Philosophy"; "Flare: Opinions"; "Sparks: Satire and Reviews"; "Writings @ Ankur Mutreja"; and "Nine Poems"; which can be downloaded free from the links on the top menu.

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