NILE edited the summary of Ignited Minds Saturday, October 8, 2011.
The book begins with a sad note. On 30 September 2001, Kalam’s helicopter, while on its way from Ranchi, Jharkhand state, India to Bokaro crashed, but all aboard miraculously survived. He was administered that night a tranquilizer, and he recalls having seen a very vivid dream. He writes in the book that he saw himself in a desert “with miles of sand all around,’ and there stood five men, namely, Emperor Ashoka, Mahatma Gandhi, Albert Einstein, Abraham Lincoln and Caliph Omar. Kalam felt dwarfed by their presence, and recounts the words of these great personalities.The next chapter emphasises the importance of mother, father and elementary school teachers as role models.The third chapter tells that "Vision ignites the minds", and talks about the modern Indian visionaries like J. R. D. Tata, Vikram Sarabhai, Satish Dhawan and Dr. Verghese Kurien.The next section of the book deals with the spiritual heritage of the Indian nation and talks about developing a model of development based on India's inherent strengths.The fifth chapter of the book exhorts the Indians, constituting a nation of one billion people "with multitude faiths and ideologies" to develop a "national vision" and amalgamate into one "national forum."The next chapter begins with a Thirukkural, which states:"Wisdom is a weapon to ward off destruction;It is an inner fortress which enemies cannot destroy".This chapter reminds the readers that Ancient India was a "knowledge society that contributed a great deal to civilization."The caption line of the seventh chapter is followed by the following inspiring words of Abraham Lincoln:"Determine that things can and shall be done, and then we shall find the way."The eighth chapter exhorts for a change in the mindset and to take pragmatic risks, which shall result into success.The ninth and the last chapter, with the caption line of "To My Countrymen" begins with few words of the Nobel laureate, Rabindranath Tagore - "let my country awake."The book ends with a "Song of Youth", with these opening words:"As a young citizen of India ,armed with technology and love for my nation,I realize, a small aim is a crime."