Wings of Fire - Agni ki Udan

'Agni ki Udan' is the autobiography of Dr. Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam. This is a wonderful book for the professionals who want to read some literature to have a direction in their profession, and in the life that how to utilize their knowledge and skills for social good and the country and for the Organization for which they are working. He is among one of few great scientist who have devoted their whole life for the progress of science and technology in country. Dr Kalam has shared their experience in this book which may not be able to describe his complete personality, however gives us a brief about him

  • As an innocent boy in the streets of 'Rameshwaram Ji', who has lived a simple life with his religious and simple family, 
  • As a student in college who came from a small town and left his home first time for studies; and then left an everlasting impression on many teachers with his sincerity, 
  • As an graduate engineer who had a dream job in mind however landed at some different job and still made a enourmous contribution everywhere with his passion, dedication and commitment to the work, 
  • As a true follower of Gurus like Dr Vikram Sarabhai, Dr Satish Dhawan, Dr Brahm Prakash, who has followed his seniors with utmost faith and respect and hence manage to change the future of country with their guidance and his efforts, 
  • As an amazing scientist who learnt from each experience and used all of his amazing intellectual power for his country without ever thinking for earning money outside the India, 
  • As a true and caring leader during PLSV and Indian Missile programme who has motivated a big big group of people across the institutions to work like a team with a single and defined mission in mind, 
  • And moreover as a good human being whose only mission was to do good for his country and even now is contributing to welfare of society in whatever mean he can do. 

Initially when I started the book, I was expecting that book must be having a lot of material about his personal life, various events in his family, and how he spent his life at home etc. But as I proceed with the book, I was unable to find much about his personal life and most of the contents were around his professional life. Initially I was unable to understand it, and thought that probably he has not given much details about his personal life. But later, I came to understand that this great person does not have much as personal in his life, as he has devoted whole his life to the work and to the country. So it was just my perspective which was looking for some trivial things about a great personality, when he was explaining the great things he has done with utmost simplicity. 

In book, Dr. Kalam has given great emphasis on right leadership. India has many many great scientist and enthusiastic young engineers who can create anything, however the requirement is to have a good leadership in place which can utilize the energy, skills and knowledge of this skills reservoir. He has never felt the shortage of engineers while deriving the dream of PSLV, Missile or Nuclear program, however the shortage was of good leadership, of a clear direction and a team spirit which can motivate a big group towards a single and important goal. This is where he step in along with his intellectual support in the field of Rocket Science. He has chosen the right set of sub-ordinates, assign them clear responsibilities and at the same time, set an example himself with hard work and commitment towards work for his subordinates. At the time of integrated missile program, he has utilized a big group of engineers and researchers across the Industries, Organizations and Institutes for this program and that also with great level of output. How did he achieved that? It was all due to a few principles which he followed then
  • Ensure to give clear responsibility to everyone in team
  • Adequate powers to execute the responsibilities
  • Instill a feeling of ownership among team members, where every person think to own the work rather than to work for anybody else
  • Enjoyment at work
  • Great level of communication for smooth co-ordination
  • Appreciate the achievements and share the appreciation
  • And learning from mistakes and own the mistakes
Dr Kalam likes the saying of Fan Bran (German Rocket Scientist) that if you love or enjoy any work, don't make it your profession and way to earn the income only; but make it your religion, and your goal. Then you will enjoy everything. 

Every person wants freedom in life, whether it could be financial freedom, general freedom or freedom in action. In book, Dr Kalam has given few guidelines for freedom, which are
  • Accumulate more knowledge and skills. Freedom follows these. 
  • As a leader, you should be aware about your team, their skills, their weaknesses, their work, what they are doing and about the internals of their work. You should be able to contribute and support them in their work
  • Stop after every busy day in evening and plan for the next day
  • Energize yourself for the responsibilities by any medium
  • Identify and do the works which you enjoy
We salute to this great scientist and leader for his every work he has done for the country and society. He has set a great example for his followers and established a great science environment in the country.  

I am ending it with a few words from Dr Kalam, the message which he has given at the end of the book,

“I will not be presumptuous enough to say that my life can be a role model for anybody; but some poor child living in an obscure place, in an underprivileged social setting may find a little solace in the way my destiny has been shaped. It could perhaps help such children liberate themselves from the bondage of their illusory backwardness and hopelessness. Irrespective of where they are right now, they should be aware that God is with them and when He is with them, who can be against them?…Let the latent fire in the heart of every Indian acquire wings, and the glory of this great country light up the sky.”

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Anupam said...

I have read this book. I would suggest everyone to read this book. Its nice one.

Jai kant sharma said...

Nice book for everyone.

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