If I had to name one celebrated personality who has motivated me the most for ages now, I’d straightaway name Dr A. P. J. Abdul Kalam. Hence I couldn’t resist picking up the book based on his life when I saw it. Pupils’ President, the book that brings to life a detailed caricature of the late Dr Kalam, is edited by Satyam Roychowdhury. Don’t be mistaken in treating this book as a biography. It’s rather a compilation of multiple interviews, speeches and even some poems by Dr Kalam. Additionally, it also has tributes made to (and by) him, articles written about him across multiple forums and even the eulogies written for him. Clearly prepared with a lot of hardwork, it contains well-researched matter, put together in a way as to give the reader a proper overview into the way Dr Kalam had led his life.
Starting with an Oath for the Youth, The Student’s Prayer and an Oath for the Teacher, the book gives the reader a head-start with all the elements that speak loud of Dr Kalam, for these have been delivered by Dr Kalam himself at numerous interaction sessions that he had conducted during his lifetime. Thereon, post the Prologue by the editor, follows the story of a boy who becomes the Dr Kalam we admire. At the beginning of every chapter, a quote by Dr Kalam has been put, and within the chapters are the pictures of events, objects, places and people related to Dr Kalam. Those have to be my favourite things about the book, for the fact that Dr Kalam’s quotes happen to be really motivating and also, it’s my belief that the addition of pictures goes on to increase the appeal of any narration.
The core idea of the entire book seemed to be to highlight the fact how fond Dr Kalam was of teaching. This detail establishes how aptly the book is named. While I cannot comment on the writing style of this book, for it is not exactly a narration but instead, a compilation, I can definitely say that it helped me gain quite some insight into Dr Kalam’s personality, for it’s the articles on him and the interactions people had had with him that did the talking using multiple, unbiased voices.
The only slight grudge I had with the book has to be the lack of further effort by the editor in getting some additional content for the book. While the book is definitely a well-researched one, it just stays to be that, with the lack of additional, lesser-explored facts on the life of Dr Kalam, that might’ve been some major triggers in his life, and hence, all the more inspirational.
In an all, this book goes on to show how Dr Kalam himself has been the Indomitable Spirit (a song by him under the Tunes And Verses of Immortality section of the book), which he always preached to the youth to be too:
I was swimming in the sea,
Waves came one after the other
I was swimming and swimming to reach my destination.
But one wave, a powerful wave, overpowered me;
It took me along in its own direction,
I was pulled long and along.
When I was about to lose amidst the sea wave power,
One thought flashed to me, yes, that is courage
Courage to reach my goal, courage to defeat the powerful force and succeed;
With courage in my mind, indomitable spirit engulfed me,
With indomitable spirit in mind and action,
I regained lost confidence
I can win, win and win
Strength came back to me, overpowered the sea wave
I reached the destination, my mission.
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