Wings of Fire

29 09 2008

Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam, or simply APJ Abdul Kalam, is one of the most well known defense ‘scientists’ that India has seen in recent decades. I have been an admirer of his thinking and contributions to the nation since mid 1990s. That was the time he was regularly cited, quoted and interviewed by Indian newspapers and TV channels after and in between successful test flights of indeginously developed missiles under the Integrated Guided Missile Development Program (IGMDP), of which he was the chief architect and thus he is and will be remembered as Missile Man of India for the posterity. He was granted multiple extensions in service.

In early 1998, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, just after becoming Prime Minister of India for the second time, appointed Kalam as his Adviser on Scientific Affairs as he had special plans. The plans came out of fold soon when on May 11 and 13 of 2008, Lord Budha smiled once again. With the green signal from the government of nationalists in New Delhi, a Indian nuclear scientists planned and executed explosions of five nuclear devices in Pokhran and changed the world view of India for ever. APJ Abdul Kalam was at the vanguard of Committee of Experts which spearheaded the project. Later on, in 2002, he was elected President of the Union of India with an overwhelming vote.

Though at times a bit contentious, while his stay at Rashtrapati Bhawan, he was truly people’s president and actively pursued dialogue with student and research community and thus shed the image of Union’s President being ceremonial. He championed in his ways, making people realize the value of education.

Above written words are not description of the book as the book covers his life till 1993. But the book tells all about the making of Kalam. Two golden concepts that I gained from this book are:

  • Difference between Science and Technology: He repeatedly calls himself a technologist and not a scientist, against the popular perception of people, because a technologist is bound to produce desired  results in a certain time frame whereas Science is an endless exploration which scientists pursue to achieve something that is undefined yet.
  • Dilemma regarding measurement of one’s performance: He states that a person judges his acts or performance on the bases of his intention behind that whereas he is judged by others on the bases of output. This mismatch sometimes negatively influence the moral of the person being judged. He observed this phenomenon while he was Project Director of IGMDP and thus faced similar circumstances.

So simple but so true.

This autobiography was one of the most inspirational pieces of text that I have read so far and thus I recommend it for every Indian.

The Afghan

1 03 2007

Peshawar, Pakistan, post Taliban era, anti terrorist forces intercept a phone conversation and then tracing that they reach one of the top Al Qaida financer. But he suicides. They retrieve two documents from his smashed notebook computer one of which contains reference to Quranic phrase, ‘Al Isra’. This creates havoc in intelligence community and they decide to pass a British spy into Al Qaida camp. American Security Forces have a prisoner in Guantanamo Bay who is being called, ‘The Afghan’. The spy enters the Al Qaida network by disguising as The Afghan. He manages to be on board with the terrorist team to go for ‘Al Isra’ and then a series of events unfold. In the end he successfully averts the terrorist at the cost of his own life.

Story sounded casual? But it is not. I am not writing this post as a substitute to the book thus I will restrict myself from revealing ‘the curves’ of the script.

The work depicts great details about ‘The Afghan’ and the spy and also run a time line explaining the crests and troughs of Afghanistan’s political history. The author portrays times of Soviet, warlords, Taliban and their effect that indented the social and economic setup of Afghanistan. Interestingly, he spins the story revealing the Pakistani role and the activity of Pakistani people in the ongoing fight. Links connecting Pakistan, Al Qaida and Taliban are meticulously pointed and the worldwide infrastructure of terror, including finances, logistics and their unique ways of communication, is discussed.

All in all, it’s a worth reading piece and I am glad that I read it.

Confessions Before House of Representatives

6 01 2007


This event actually happened in the Opening Session of the Kansas House of Representatives in Topeka on January 23, 1996. Joe Wright is the pastor of Central Christian Church in Wichita and was guest chaplain that day. He prayed a prayer of repentance.

“Heavenly Father, we come before you today to ask your forgiveness and to seek your direction and guidance. We know Your Word says, ‘Woe to those who call evil good’, but that is exactly what we have done. We have lost our spiritual equilibrium and reversed our values.

We have exploited the poor and called it the lottery.
We have rewarded laziness and called it welfare.
We have killed our unborn and called it choice.
We have shot abortionists and called it justifiable.
We have neglected to discipline our children and called it building self esteem.
We have abused power and called it politics.
We have coveted our neighbor’s possessions and called it ambition.
We have polluted the air with profanity and pornography and called it freedom of expression.
We have ridiculed the time-honored values of our forefathers and called it enlightenment.

Search us, Oh, God, and know our hearts today; cleanse us from every sin and set us free.

Guide and bless these men and women who have been sent here by the people of Kansas and who have been ordained by You to govern this great State. Grant them Your wisdom to rule and may their decisions direct us to the center of Your Will. I ask it in the Name of Your Son, the Living Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen!”

The prayer did stir controversy and one member of the house walked out. Others criticized the prayer. The controversy didn’t end there. Later that year in the Colorado House, Republican representative Mark Paschall angered lawmakers by using Joe Wright’s prayer as the invocation.

This is an utmost revelation of how the ‘modern society’ is becoming self-centered and relinquishing their moral senses. The all new and evolving so called professional society is proclaiming their morally deprived acts as professional. They are least concerned about the social atmosphere enveloping them. The most drastic face of this whole story is that these ‘crimes’ can not even be booked under law!! WHO will save this earth?

The Truth of Life

6 05 2006

Just two days earlier, combating with my own intellections, I was occupied with the emptyness from inside where there were sounds hollering,

Where am I headed to? Where do I want to go? Will I be able to make it there ?

I was tenanted with these mentations when I came across a News that traumatized me. A very very senior and popular politician of India met with death. He was a Prime Minister material for the country but before he could have got there, portion took him off his battle field. That news reminded me of however mighty one may be but it’s the death which is invincible and ultimate truth of life. Soon the disarray within me was parted as I got the answers for my oppugns.

"If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right."

– Anonymous                   

One just need to remember that whatever we are stacking is immaterial to the cause of our lives. Its the persuasion of our dreams that make our life a success. We can meet the inevitable death at any day. May be we would not have achieved what we wanted to. Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important thought that can help us make the big choices in life and to pursue them. Because almost everything – all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.

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Life Goes On !!

2 05 2006

Life is not about knowledge gained, it’s about the action involved.

                                                                                       – Anonymous

Another day passed with lot of hopes seting down along with the sun and lot more self confessions coming up with the moon. Sun will again come to meet me and to give me new desires and this moon will remind me to not to repeat the same confessions again. This is life and the only thing true about it is, it goes on.

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