Wings of Fire

wings of fire

Wings of Fire: Autobiography of A.P Abdul Kalam (1999), former Indian president. It was written by dr. Kalam and Arun Tiwari. [1] Kalam examines his early life, endeavor, suffering, bravery, fortune and chance, which eventually led him to conduct Indian space research, nuclear and missile programs. Kalam began his career after graduating in aerospace engineering at MIT (Chennai) in India at Hindustan Aeronautics Limited  was commissioned to build a hovercraft prototype. Later he moved to ISRO to help set up the Vesram Sarabhai Space Center and promote the first space program. 

Wings of fire says During the 1990s and early 2000, Kalam moved to DRDO to lead India’s nuclear weapons program, with particular successes in the development of thermonuclear weapons that culminated in Operation Smiling Buddha and ICBM Agni (rocket). Kalam died on July 27, 2015 during his appearance at the Indian Institute of Governance in Shillong, Meghalaya.

Wings of fire The autobiography, which was first published in English, has so far been translated and published in 13 languages, including Hindi, English, Telugu, Tamil, Canadian, Malayalam, Odia, Marathi, Gujarati. Outside the major Indian languages, Wings of Fire was translated into Chinese (called Huo Yi, Ji Peng)  translated into French. [3]

Wings of Fire unfolds the story of Dr.A.P.J.Abdul Kalam from his childhood in the following seven sections:
  • Preface
  • Introductions
  • Orientation
  • Creation
  • Propitiation
wings of fire


Kalam was born in 1931, the son of a small educated shipowner in Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu. His father was also the imam of a small mosque in Rameswarame. He had an incomparable career as a defense scientist who culminated in India’s highest civilian prize, Bharat Ratn. As the Chief Program Officer of the Kalam Defense and Research Area, he has shown great potential for the dynamics and innovations that existed in seemingly dying research facilities. 

This is the story of Kalam’s own rise from confusion  his personal and professional struggles, as well as the story of AGNI, TRISHUL and NAG missiles, which have become household names in India and have elevated the nation to the level of missile power by international counting. Since independence, India has been striving to achieve self-realization and admiration and success in various ways.


The book wings of fire begins with the childhood of Kalam’s life. At the beginning, he introduces us to his family tries to introduce us to the birthplace of Rameswaram. In his childhood he was a great admirer of his father Jainulabdeen. He was a man of great wisdom and kindness, and Pakshi Lakshmana Sastry, his father’s close friend and chief priest of Rameswaram Temple. He had an ideal assistant in Mother Ashiamme. He was also influenced by his close friend Ahmed Jallaluddin; was about 15 years older than Kalam. He talked to his friend about spiritual things. This shows that he believed in spirituality and also in God or Khudah. He always went to Lord Shiva’s temple with his friends.

In the later part of the introductory chapters (wings of fire), he presents his cousin Samsuddin, his school teachers and all the people who felt any difference between them. He expresses one incident that happened during his school days: “Rameswaram Sastry, the new teacher of his school, could not stomach the son of a Hindu priest who is sitting with a Muslim boy. In accordance with our social status, as the new teacher saw, I was asked to sit on my back bench. I felt very sad, as did my parents about the incident. Lakshmana Sastry summoned the teacher and in our presence told the teacher that he should not spread the poison of social inequality. and common intolerance in the minds of innocent children ”.

He graduated from elementary school in Rameswarame and from secondary school in Schwartz, Rameswarame. In 1950 he joined the College of St. Joseph in Trichi to study the B.Sc field of study, realizing that physics is not his subject. He eventually enrolled at the Madras Institute of Technology, [MIT]. 

He or his family couldn’t afford to spend so much money on the MIT course. Zohara, his sister, stood with him. When he had a particular field of aerospace engineering, the goal at that time was very clear in his mind. And he tried to communicate with different kinds of people. At MIT, their teachers shaped his ideas; Sponder, Prof. Kal Pandalai and Prof. Narasingalu Rao. Each had distinct personalities. Last year, MIT was a year of transition and had a big impact on his later life. He left MIT as a trainer for Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) in Bangalore. 

There he worked on overhauling the engine as part of the team. He trained in radial motor-kum-drum operations. After completing engineering, he applied to the Aviation and Technical Development and Production Directorate – DTP and PC (Air) of the Ministry of Defense. However, he was not selected for aviation because he did not meet the standards of physical fitness. Later he was appointed to DTP, PC (Air) as a scientific assistant on the base plate only R. 250 per month, in 1950. He had to create opportunities himself. At the stage he attended, he completed 32 potential years of his life when he was at the threshold of his career after graduation.


The “Creation” section goes through seven chapters, from chapters four to ten; and covers Kalam’s life and work for 17 years, from 1963 to 1980. It begins with recalling works at Langley Research Center, NASA, Houston, Virginia, USA, and other US facilities including Wallops. Flight equipment on Wallops Island on the east coast of the United States, Virginia. On a NASA device, he remembers seeing an image visible in the lobby. The image depicted a battle scene with a rocket flying in the background. Upon closer inspection, he found that the picture depicts Tipu Sultan’s army fighting the British. Kalam felt happy to see an Indian celebrated at NASA as a hero of military weapons.

Its connection with Thumba and the satellite carrier and related projects are vividly presented in the “Creation” section. During the period covered by the “Creation,” Kalam lost his father, who lived under 102, in 1976. With courage, Kalam remembered these words written about the death of William Butler Yeats to his friend Auden and his father:

Earth receive an honoured guest;
William Yeats is laid to rest:
In the prison of his days
Teach the free man how to praise.


ection Propitiation covers the period from 1981 to 1991. This section in wings of fire discusses the path of scientists to become an Indian rocket man. In this section, his outstanding leadership qualities are clearly visible when he has taken responsibility for developing a missile development program. At this stage of his life, Kalam was responsible for the development of five missiles – Prithvi, Trishul, Akash, Nag and Agni.

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