Nov 122023
The Meteoric Life of ‘The Missile Man of India’ [Review]
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Title: A.P.J. Abdul Kalam in 100 Anecdotes
Authors: Arthy Muthanna Singh and Mamta Nainy
Illustrated by: Aniruddha Mukherjee and Charulata Mukherjee
Publishers: Penguin Books, Penguin Random House India
Pages: 112 pages
Type: Hardcover
Recommended age:
8 years and above

‘A.P.J Abdul Kalam in 100 Anecdotes’ by Arthy Muthanna Singh and Mamta Nainy covers the remarkable journey of one of the most respected and admired personalities, Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam.

All of us remember Dr. Kalam as the “Missile Man of India” or the “People’s President”. This book further elaborates on the phenomenal life story of a humble boy from seaside town of Rameshwaram who dared to dream.

Dr. Kalam grew up in a modest household which valued education and compassion.
Dr. Kalam was an exceptional and hard working student and obtained degrees in physics and aeronautical engineering from Tiruchirapalli and Madras respectively.

The book tells us about the meteoric rise of Dr. Kalam in the scientific community of India. He was instrumental in the design of India’s first indigenous satellite Rohini. He worked alongside stalwarts Dr. Vikram Sarabhai and Dr. Satish Dhawan and oversaw the establishment of ISRO.

Through this book, we learn about the trials and tribulations behind India’s ambitious space and missile programs. We get a glimpse of the sheer hardwork and hardship faced by Dr. Kalam and his team as they design and launch satellites and missiles (Prithvi and Agni).

Perhaps you knew that Dr. Kalam led the Pokhran II nuclear tests which established India’s presence among the nuclear powers, but did you know that it was a covert operation codenamed Operation Shakti and Dr. Kalam’s code name was “Colonel Prithviraj”?!!

The recipient of the highest civilian awards in India and abroad (Bharat Ratna, Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan to name a few), Dr. Kalam was never one to rest on his numerous laurels. Just like his missiles, he kept aiming higher!

In 2002, he was unanimously elected as the 11th President of India and was fondly referred to as the People’s President. He oversaw modernization in the functioning of Rashtrapati Bhawan and ensured that the animals in the Mughal Gardens were treated promptly for any ailments.

The book is peppered with numerous anecdotes like how Dr. Kalam’s favourite snack was green-gram laddoo (pasi parippu urundai) or how his first dream of becoming a fighter pilot for the Indian Air Force didn’t materialise and hence he chose a different career in the field of science.

He penned numerous books and delivered talks around the country inspiring children and adults, alike.

An excellent book by Arthy Muthanna Singh and Mamta Nainy with fantastically unique wood-cut style illustrations by Aniruddha Mukherjee and Charulata Mukherjee.

This compact royal blue hardcover book promises and delivers brilliant episodes of Dr. Kalam’s life. Each page in this Collector’s Edition is brimming with details of Dr. Kalam’s phenomenal life.

There is no dearth of sobriquets to describe the man Dr. A.P.J Abdul Kalam was. To me what truly stands out is the exceptional human he was. Despite the stratospheric heights he reached, he never forgot his roots or the people who gave wings to his dreams.

You can read the review of Satyajit Ray in 100 Anecdotes here as well as His Holiness The Dalai Lama here. All the other books in the 100 Anecdotes series can be found here.

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Disclaimer: Sowmya is a part of the #kbcReviewerSquad and received this book as a review copy from the publisher via kbc.

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