Turning Points (A Journey Through Challenges) by A.P.J. Abdul Kalam is a beautiful sequel to his classic, Wings of Fire that continues to remain a bestseller till date. Like everything Kalam has ever written or spoken, this is an extremely meaningful book and very easy to read, and it is also enjoyable and inspiring. It has stirred a controversy because of references to his visit to Gujarat in the wake of the post-Godhra riots of 2002. Not surprising since we have ended up being a nation that pillories PM Manmohan Singh when Time magazine calls him an Underachiever, but felt affronted when Atal Behari Vajpayee during his tenure as PM, got described by the same magazine as ‘being asleep at the wheel.’
If you are wondering what can be done to take this country forward and you do not have your own blue-print for it ready, this is a spectacular book. You can share and promote its vision.
It starts with reference to the last day of Kalam’s presidency, July 24, 2007, and you can picture him getting ready to take his leave, with all his belongings packed into just two suitcases. A very rich five years spent in the service of the nation, head of the nation and a commander-in-chief, approachable and available to the common man like no other, a president who flew a sortie in a Sukhoi-30 fighter aircraft at 25,000 feet at a speed of 1,200 kmph. One may also recall that a lot of advances in the IT sector took place during his tenure.
In his farewell address he had said, “Let us resolve to continue to work towards realizing the mission of a country that is prosperous, healthy, secure, peaceful and happy and continues on a sustainable growth path, where the rural and urban divide has been reduced to a thin line and where the governance is responsive, transparent and corruption-free.” No wonder they are too frightened to give him a second term.
His dream, achievable through ten-pillars he posits, is to see India as a developed nation before the year 2020, where there is equitable distribution of wealth and adequate access to energy and quality water, where agriculture, industry and the service sector work together, with where talented scholars, scientists and investors, where best healthcare is available to all, poverty eradicated, illiteracy removed, crimes against women and children absent.
By A.P.J. Abdul Kalam