Ignited Minds – Book Review

‘Ignited Minds’ written by Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam is a book of hope and determination. Dr Kalam, the ex-president of India, has been one of the most distinguished Indian scientists. He held various positions in ISRO, DRDO and became the principal scientific advisor to the Government of India, after which he took voluntary retirement from his duties to “achieve something greater for the country”. He has received honorary doctorates from thirty universities and is a recipient of the Padma Bhushan, Padma Vibhushan and Bharat Ratna. His previous works include, an autobiography named Wings of Fire and Vision 2020, a book which sets the vision for India to grow into a developed country till the year 2020.

Despite all these honours and accolades, Dr. Kalam has been modest and humble personality, as is evident from his works and interactions. After being relieved from his duties with the government of India, he taught as a professor in Anna University for a while. He realised that the power of India lies in its youth and children and hence decided to meet children from schools in various parts of the nation and has a goal of meeting 100,000 students across the country.

The book Ignited Minds talks about his experience of meeting the numerous students from all over the country and how during the course of interaction with the people from the entire nation made him realise the potential of India to be a developed country. The title of the book is very powerful and entices one to dig the book. As one goes through the book, with each chapter he feels motivated to jump to another. The book starts with his dream where he meets the five greatest beings on earth and how their conversation inspired him to think big and spread the message to all. Here he also emphasises the need to set up a goal for the nation and how this goal can help it become not only developed but also create a globalised platform for the entire world.

He urges everyone to have a dream and emphasises on the power of dream to be the greatest on earth.  He describes how each one possess magnetic capabilities like that of earth and hence our reality becomes aligned to what we aspire to be. His emphasis on the role of parents and teachers in nurturing the younger generation who are a nation’s true wealth is noteworthy.

In the book, he also describes his stint with science and technology and the great visionaries and scientists of India who have a great hand in shaping technological growth. By their examples, he underlines the need for having a vision and also structuring a path for the same. This fact not only is important for an individual but also for the nation. A nation loses the power to be strong despite its wealth if it lacks vision. He details out the various encounters he had with the saints and prophets around the country and how spirituality and science are interrelated. The awe which was created in him after meeting these great sages and how the mind and body interact to create a vital force has been delineated. Getting inspired by their thoughts he stressed on the fact that there is a higher force within us that transcends the limitations of the physical world and hence we should aspire to realise it.

Reiterating the need of having a vision throughout his book, he says that India is a country which stands far below the potential that it has and hence we should exploit the strength, the energy of the youth and the creativity to achieve a higher goal coming out of narrow thinking and smaller affairs. He urges every citizen of our country to enter into a mission mode and by integrating the vast knowledge and acquiring a happy balance to achieve the mission of turning the country into a developed nation soon.

Throughout his book, Dr. Kalam has insisted on the power of imagination and the power of dream. He further emphasises this point by asking the youth to look for opportunities in challenges thrown at them and be responsible for their actions irrespective of the result. The most inspiring lines from the book quoted as such are, “When something is at stake, the human mind gets ignited.” “Ignite your minds and think big.” The book is not only an inspiration to think big but is laden with the feeling of patriotism and urges one to consider nation and its vision to be bigger than an individual, to reach to the higher self within and to keep aspirations high because “we are, what we think we are”.

The book is summarised in the end with a wonderful discussion between two kids in a mother’s womb named “ego” and “spirit”, which reiterates the fact that we should look beyond what our eyes can see.

The book is capable of igniting a fire in the mind of anyone who reads and understands it. With presenting real life examples and his own experiences, Dr. Kalam has shown us various facets of life and the country, which makes it more inspirational. He has already been a role model to many and this book truly makes one picture him as a true patriot and a man of wisdom. Since he has been a part of different fields of work, he rightfully describes the need to integrate them for a greater national cause.

This book is a must read for anyone who wants to have a peek into the great potential our country has, the diversity which makes it so rich, the great potential which is hidden in the various corners of the country and how the realisation of one’s higher self within us and the faith in our dreams can take us to places. With real life experiences described in a very simple language, Dr. Kalam has again done a wonderful job in creating ripples and disturbance in the minds of the youth which has been dormant for a while now.

Seema Dahiya

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