Saturday, February 24, 2018
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Turning Points appears to be the continuation of the incredible Kalam story in the Wings of Fire but it is not about his life as a teacher who inspires his students, it is the voice of a non-political man in the political arena.  This book is autobiographical because it brings to our mind a pathetic image of the helplessness of an honest man in the dishonest world of politics. Yes, it brings together details from his career and presidency that are unknown to people yet.  It is a continuing saga, of the journey of Kalam as a teacher suffering intensely as a politician on the lonely Raisina Hills.  It is the story of the visionary who as President undertakes to take India to 2020 and beyond as a developed nation.  Kalam himself calls the book, a sequel to his earlier work, Wings of Fire.

The book is about Kalam's stint in Rashtrapati Bhavan.   He is not a Gandhi-Nehru loyalist and felt uncomfortable in his dealings with Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and other political leaders on many occasions.  There is the indication of uncomfortable relationship with the UPA since May 2004 particularly over the Office of Profit Bill of 2006.  Kalam did not find the bill fair and reasonable.  He returned the bill to Parliament for reconsideration. It is a rare step that any President takes that is to return the bill to the secretaries-general of the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha instead of to  the Union Cabinet.  The bill sought to protect Sonia from disqualification as MP from Rae Bareli. . Later, Kalam signed the bill after it had gone through a joint parliamentary committee.  Sonia later resigned and got re-elected.  Kalam also exploded the political myth that he was reluctant to appoint Congress president Sonia Gandhi as Prime Minister in May 2004 when he was the country's President.  On page 135 in the chapter titled ‘Controversial Decisions’ of his book this information about Sonia Gandhi is given.

I would like to quote from his book where he says, "Even if one member or a person of a family is inspired or motivated then it is worth writing".  It is simple written and conveys a message.  There are also other reasons why the book will be read by many.  Written in plain simple English, the book recollects the beautiful and successful memories of the great man as a President of the second largest democracy of the world.  The writing style is very gripping, and the contents are very unusual in their approach.  It is an unusual kind of political autobiography where the reader can easily rely on the narrative because the writer is no other person than the ever apolitical man, A.P.J.Abdul Kalam.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  A.P.J. Abdul Kalam was the eleventh president of India, from 2002 to 2007. He is a recipient of the countrys highest civilian awards, including the Bharat Ratna, and has authored several best-selling books.

MY TAKE:  I would like to term is at as a book with a vision.  I think this is one of the best of Kalam books.  As a common citizen I always thought the post of President was to do nothing but keep approving what the PM proposes, but the way Kalam has articulated and the initiatives he has taken in during his presidency has created a terrific bench mark.  He has justified many of his controversial political decisions in this book.  He is also concerned about the declining standards of our parliament.  He feels that parliament is not at all serious about the problems of common people.  He takes a sneak peak without mentioning the name of Anna Hazare and Ramdev.  He talks about corruption and black money.  It also leads me to the conclusion that many of his political decisions, which was really good for India has proved that why the Congress party is against him.  Just as his other books, this one live right up to the expectations.  A must read for every Indian, especially the young generation.  He is the people's president indeed.



BOOK:  Turning Points: A Journey Through Challenges

AUTHOR:  A. P. J. Abdul Kalam

PUBLISHER:  Harper Collins


LANGUAGE:  English

PRICE:  Rs. 199

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