IGNITED MINDS – Unleashing the power within India


Author ​​-Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam

Language​ – English 

Copies sold-​ Over 1 Million 

No. of pages – ​​189 

Publication -​​Penguin books 

Year of publication ​- 2002 

It’s been three years since we lost the Missile Man of India, one of the most celebrated Indian scientists of this era. Even though the man himself, Dr. A P J Abdul Kala​    m, left us, his works​    and his writings are still present with us to guide and re-shape this rising India. 

Dr.Kalam is a man who needs no introduction. He spent the bulk of his career in the prestigious Indian government organizations ISRO,​ and DRDO and also served as the 11th President of​    India. 

So in his book ‘IGNITED MINDS’, he has talked a lot about it. “Ignited Minds” revolves around the topic of transforming India’s mentality by inciting the blossoming youth to take action. The book ruminates on a lot of topics but starts with the most important one – peace of mind. Without it, no country can soar to new heights, and as a result, stagnation will prevail. 

He has dedicated ignited minds to an intermediate school child, named Snehal Thakkar, whom he met at a school and while talking to the students, a question had come up: ‘who is our​    enemy?’ He recalled that many answers came up, but the answer on which all agreed came from​    her ‘our enemy is poverty​. It is the root cause of our problems and should be the object of our​    fight, not our own. The small book contains dynamic and original ideas, examines attitudes afflicting the Indians and presents prescriptions for the rapid growth of India to enable the country to emerge as a developed country. 

Big Picture, Coordination, and Inclusiveness- an aspect that was heavily and regularly cited in the book was that Dr.Kalam felt a lot of institutions work separately instead of moving together with a common goal in mind. He cited several examples for this. One of them was the lack or absence of any industries, which can use steel as the input material and convert them to finished products, around the Bokaro steel plant in Jharkhand. If the State and Central governments could have coordinated and industrialized this area in a coordinated manner, the created steel can be transported to nearby industries in a quick time, for a cheaper cost and overall, give us a finished product with a quick turnaround. It helps in the development of this area and also with getting a finished product at a better price. The lack of this inclusiveness is not doing India any favors. 

Connectivity - expanding on the idea that India should look to achieve the status of a developed country with urgency, he looks at the current rate of urbanization. He says that the way to become a developed country is not via its populace abandoning villages and migrating to the cities. He says that we should try to emulate and provide similar facilities, like those available in the cities, in the villages. The biggest problem for overcoming this obstacle is the lack of connectivity or transportation facilities between the villages and their nearby cities. He suggests that nearby villages must be pooled up and roads or highways should be built between this pool and the nearby city. He goes on to say that once this problem is solved, and once people get similar facilities as cities at their doorstep, no one will be interested in migrating away from their original homes. 

Determination​ -Dr. Abdul Kalam explained that the conviction, the drive to live with freedom is what energized an entire generation of Indians. He says that the current generation of Millennials should yearn to live in a developed nation with a similar zeal. He feels that this is what will provide the acceleration for the country’s development. 

Education - For India to become the next superpower that it is expected to be, manpower is the biggest requirement. Dr.Kalam believes that it is possible only by achieving 100% literacy. He feels that at the same time that India improves her higher education facilities by establishing more research-oriented organizations, she should also improve her primary school facilities which will enable and give a direction to the younger generation during their initiation itself. 

Value Addition- Dr.Kalam says that India is a country that is blessed with so much variety w.r.t. minerals and raw materials. But as long as India concentrates on just extracting and exporting the low-income raw material, he says that India is not going to take huge steps w.r.t. development. For this, he gives us the example of beryllium diaphragms which are used in missiles. When India was taking its baby steps towards missile development, a committee was formed to procure the necessary beryllium diaphragms. For this, the committee approached a certain company from the US but they had backed out at the last minute citing the US government’s objection to the export of any parts which can be used in missiles. The startling observation that Dr.Kalam’s team made during this phase was that the raw material, Beryllium was being mined in India and exported to Japan. Japan purifies it and later sends it to the US where the final product is being manufactured. The difference in the price of the finished product to the price of the raw material is huge and due to the absence of the industry making the final product, India is losing a huge amount of income. So, without any value addition, India is just exporting all the raw materials for a dead cheap price and making a net loss when they are importing the final product. 

The above are only a few points made by Dr.Kalam in this excellent book. It’s not a very long read and something that should be picked up by all non-fiction book lovers who want to understand the current challenges that India as a country is facing. 


The nation consists of people and with their effort, a nation can accomplish all it​ could ever want. Motivating India’s youth especially is the central theme of Ignited minds. 

Ignited Minds is all about breaking away from the forces that would prefer selling cheap labor and raw materials and providing a large market for goods and services of other nations. It is about developing that conviction in ourselves and discarding the things that hold us back. 


Dreams are the raw materials of actions. Dreams initiate thoughts and thoughts result in actions. Children are the architects of the future of our country. They can transform dreams into realities through hard work and determination. The outcomes of these realities will bring peace, prosperity, strength, and bliss to our nation. 

To ignite the minds of the children of our country, APJ Abdul Kalam has emphasized motivating them by giving examples of great minds that had worked hard in their respective fields to transform their dreams into realities. He has met thousands of teachers, school children, scientists, saints, and industrialists to take up different issues and themes. 

His main focus lies in education. He has urged the children to integrate spirituality with education. Education without spirituality is like a man without ambition. Each one of us must become aware of our capabilities. One should try to achieve one’s higher self to achieve in life. 

Vision ignites the mind. This Abdul Kalam has successfully explained by citing examples of a few great scientists and teachers such as Dr.Vikram Sarabhai, Aryabhatta, Prof. Satish Dhawan, and Dr.VergheseKurien who have excelled in their respective fields of science and academics and have made our country achieve great heights. 

Kalam has urged the Indian people to unite and work together to take our country to soar heights. He has cited examples of great leaders who irrespective of their religion work hand in hand with people of different faiths for the development of our nation. 

To progress in life one should work in a planned and systematic manner. Kalam urges the people to use the resources efficiently and implement their policies and programs into a mission mode to succeed. He has, in his book, emphasized motivating the youths to unleash the powers of their minds to transform their dreams into realities. 

The beauty of this book lies in the fact that, while emphasizing the technology development​    of the nation to make India stand in the elite group of developed Nations of the author also drew attention to the social and cultural aspect. The author mentioned how spiritual education along with knowledge can create wonders.  

The book talks about how one should Integrate our cultural and social values with modern​    thinking. The enthusiasm of youth. This integration will produce potential leaders, role models for tomorrow who will have integrity, respect, and the thought of “Nation comes first” embedded in their hearts and minds.  

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