'Advantage India' book Kalam's last bequest to the nation

New Delhi, July 28: "Advantage India", a book that throws light on the country's opportunities and the key challenges in the next five years, will be the last bequest to the nation by former president APJ Abdul Kalam who died on Monday evening.

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Co-authored by Srijan Pal Singh, a social entrepreneur, and to be shortly released by its publisher, Harper Collins, the book exemplifies how Kalam's heart ticked for the nation till his last breath.

Kalam's last bequest to the nation

From Make in India, Digital India and Smart Cities to rural development policies, the book illustrates how India could have a winning edge.

"India is witnessing a new thrust in policy and planning since 2014. As a run up to the landmark year of 2020, the parliament and the people have endorsed many new missions like Make in India, skill development of youth, hygiene and health for the nation, smart cities, digital India, new energy policies and new rural development models. What are the opportunities for the nation for the next 4-5 years. What are the key challenges to address?" says an excerpt from the book.

Talking to IANS, Harper Collins editor and publisher Krishan Chopra said that the new book will round off Kalam's previous book "India 2020", drawing upon his personal experiences.

"Exhaustive research has gone into the book and it has lot of human elements in it. 'Advantage India' will round off 'India 2020' where he predicted that India is going to be a super power," said Chopra, who had a long association with the former president, adding that Kalam was always in mission mode and was a perpetually positive person.

The publisher has brought out five books of the former president. "We had also started off a big project called 'Nation building' with Dr Kalam. Now it will remain unfinished," Chopra rued.

Srijan Pal Singh had earlier co-authored "Target 3 billion" with Kalam that was a best-seller.

Though Kalam would be remembered as a president, a scientist, an educationalist and the many more hats he wore, his reputation as a writer will remain undisputed. He wrote several books, including an autobiography, "Wings of Fire" (1999), that was a runaway success. It has been translated into 13 languages including Chinese, French and braille.

Working with him was enterprising and exciting, recalled Puffin publisher Hemali Sodhi, who collaborated with Kalam on "Reignited".

"He was always forward looking. He had abiding interest for new things and always furthered the curiosity of children whenever he interacted with them," Sodhi told IANS.

Sohini Mitra, senior commissioning editor of Puffin, echoed similar sentiments. "He knew how to connect with the children through his writings. He was a visionary and through his boosk, he told us how science is important and that it can be an exciting career," Mitra said.

Kalam also left behind an unfulfilled agenda - a book on Tamil Nadu that was an ode to his home state. A prolific writer, Kalam had completed seven chapters of the book in Tamil, according to V Ponraj , co-author of the work and scientific advisor to Kalam when he was president.

"We had a final discussion on the book on July 23. He had a strong vision for the development of Tamil Nadu and the book envisaged a better future for the state," Ponraj told a private Tamil news channel.

The last book released by Kalam across the country last week, "Transcendence - My Spiritual Experiences" with Pramukh Swami of the Swamynarrayan faith, reveals the spiritual and secular side of the missile man. The book talks about Kalam's interactions with Pramukh Swami and the correlation between science and spirituality.

In the book, Kalam describes how he imbibed lessons of secularism from his father Jainulabdeen, an imam in a mosque who would invite head priests of temple and churches for healthy debates.


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