Review Of The Book
Kalam Abdul , Ignited Minds , Penguin Books , Haryana , India , 2003
Pages : 206 (English) , ISBN 9780143424123 (paper back) , fiction
Dr A.P.J ABDUL KALAM was one of India’s most distinguished scientist,
responsible for the development of the country’s first satellite launch
vehicle and the operationalization of strategic missiles. He also pioneered
India. He was also the president of India between 2002-2007 , Dr Kalam
was awarded honorary doctorates from thirty-eight universities and the
country’s three highest civilian honours – the Padma Bhushan (1981) ,
Padma Vibhushan (1990) , and Bharat Ratna (1997). A prolific and best
selling author , he conducted lectures on social development in many
international institutes and was involved in research on different societal
missions. Dr Kalam passed away in July 2015
Dr Kalam was written this book in year 2002 . He dedicated this book to a
child who studying in class 12th . Her name is Snehal Thakkar . On 11 April
2002 when Dr Kalam was reached Anand by road in the evening , it was
under curfew following communal disturbances . The next day , at
Anandalaya High School , while taking to the students , a question came
up: ‘who is our enemy?’
There were many answers , but the one we all agreed was correct came
later from her.‘ Our enemy was poverty.’
It is the root cause of our problems and should be the object of our fight ,
not our own.
The book is organized into eleven chapters, dealing with various issues
these chapters are:
The Dreams and the Message
Give Us a Role Model
Visionary Teachers and Scientists
Learning from Saints and Seers
Patriotism beyond Politics and Religion
The Knowledge Society
Getting the Forces Together
Building a New State
To my Countrymen
'Dream, dream, dream. Dream transforms into thoughts. Thoughts result in actions'-Vision of the newly appointed
Indian President APJ Abdul Kalam which he shares with his countrymen in 'Ignited Minds'.
It seems that the Indian today lacks patriotism. They are not bothered about who wins the elections and what
happens to the political stage in India. But why is that so? History tells us that the freedom fighters of the country
knew how to transform their dreams into reality. The nation was always bigger than themselves. But today, the youth
is shying away from politics, as they are unsure of the future of India. They only want to secure their own future and
consciously shirk social responsibilities. But why are we in such a sorry state? Kalam writes, "What is it that we are
missing? What is it that needs to be corrected? There seems to be an attitude problem, as if we cannot shake
ourselves out of a mindset of limited achievement".
Does Kalam's statement ring a bell somewhere? It's high time that we as Indians shed our inhibitions and learn to
think outside the box. This book takes a look at the deep-rooted sentiments, long-cherished ambitions as well as
scary prejudices and unknown worries of the Indian youth. The youth of the nation is not afraid to dream? only
hesitant to take that all-important first step that can build a developed India.
Time and again, Kalam mentions that only education is not sufficient to make youngsters hold on to their dreams.
When merged with spirituality, education can work wonders and thus the need for self-realization. To quote him, "We
have to learn to ignite our inner energy, which is lying dormant, and make it the guide of our lives? The radiance of
such minds will bring peace, prosperity and bliss to this nation". Thus, the book enthuses young people to discover
the power within them.
In Ignited Minds, the missile-man also discusses memorable and inspiring experiences that he had while visiting
different parts of the country as National Advisor to the government of India. On his visit to Tezpur in Assam for
instance, Kalam was appalled as children questioned him intelligently yet innocently about what the future holds in
store for India. Addressing parents and teachers, Kalam states that the proper grooming of a child is the only way
to ensure that we have national leaders with integrity of character who will make us proud of the India of
To pep up the spirits of millions of Indians, the author gives examples of eminent personalities who made a
humble beginning and then went on to do the country proud in their inimitable ways. Some cases in point are
Srinivasa Ramanujan (The great mathematician who died at the premature age of 30), Prof. S Chandrasekhar (a
Nobel winner for his work on black holes), Nobel laureate C.V Raman, the great educationist Ashutosh Mukherjee
and scientists of international repute like Dr Homi Bhabha, Dr D.S Kothari and Dr Vikram Sarabhai. The leadership
traits displayed by these luminous personalities never ceased to amaze the author. But why is there a dearth of
Ramanujans and Bhabhas today? Kalam emphasizes on the fact that today India needs visionaries of the stature of
JRD Tata, Satish Dhawan and Dr.Verghese Kurien, who can devise mission-driven programmes and involve the new
generation in the same.
As religious extremism is tearing the country into pieces, the President gives a small example of his secular
outlook when he says that, " For great men, religion is a way of making friends; small people make religion a
fighting tool." On his visit to Kanchi in 2001, Kalam had visited a mosque where he asked students to recite the
Alhamthu i.e. the sura that embodies the Quran. And he was surprised to see Vedic hymns and recitations from the
Quran proceeding side by side. Incredible! To quote him, "Therein lies the greatness of India. Can Kanchi's
integrated approach towards learning become a beacon for us and later for the world?"
The author visualizes that the developed India will be a network of prosperous villages empowered
by 'tele-medicine, tele-education and e-commerce'. India is still 'a developing nation' because of
'fragmented thinking compartmentalized planning and isolated efforts', which fail to yield any
He shares his fierce optimism with Indians and contends, 'our spiritual wisdom is actually our
strength. We survived as a nation the onslaughts of invaders and the numbing effects of
colonialism. We have also learned to adjust to the rifts and divisions in our own society. But, in the
process of adjustments, we also lowered our aims and expectations. We need to regain our broad
outlook and draw upon our heritage and wisdom to enrich our lives. The fact that we advance
technologically does not preclude spiritual development. We need to home-grow our own model of
development based on our inherent strengths'.
Kalam sees a lot of promise in the young and the inexperienced. Only a united vision launched
with renewed vigour can bring the young force into action. The author also feels the need for
transparency in India, as that is a prerequisite to development. The modest scientist opines that,
"We must remember that progress cannot be swift and far-reaching if the path is full of potholes.
The abundant national resources, human and material, remain to be fully utilized".
It is important that the youth of today get the 'right direction' to move ahead in life. They should
be encouraged to think, imagine and make the most of their creativity. Only then can we change
the mindset of millions of Indians.
Why? And who? Read This Book
Ignited Minds is a book to be read by the leaders and led, by young and as
well as old and by all who love their country…..Kalam [dares] to say what
has long needed to be said but which has gone unsaid….
Moreover, This book is a lucid and elegant expression of [Kalam's] dreams
about India’s future …….This is a feel-good book. It is a true patriot’s self-
help guide to a better nation. Kalam is a dreamer of great dreams
….Ignited Minds will fire the minds of the young to whom it is primarily
addressed. The strength of Ignited Minds…lies in the scientist’s ability to
present some of the most tangled issues that confront the nation in easily
digestible packages of information.
It is not possible in a short to convey the vast erudition of a man who
covers so much of India’s past, present and future in such simple,
communicable terms. Or his many revolutionary as well as practical ideas
for the country which he so obviously loves, of which he is proud and
which he feels can be the country of his dreams by 2020.
Song Of Youth
As a young citizen of India,
armed with technology, knowledge and love for my nation,
I realize, small aim is a crime.
I will work and sweat for a great vision,
the vision of transforming India into a developed nation,
powered by economic strength with value system.
I am one of the citizen of a billion,
only the vision will ignite the billion souls.
It has entered into me,
the ignite soul compared to any resource,
is the most powerful resource
on the earth, above the earth and under the earth.
I will keep the lamp of knowledge burning,
to achieve the vision--- Developed India