Turning Points : A Journey Through Challanges

Turning Points : A Journey Through Challanges


It was like any other day on the Anna University campus in Chennai. I had delivered a lecture 'Vision to Mission' and the session got extended from one hour to two. I had lunch with a group of research students and went back to class. As I was returning to my rooms in the evening the vice-chancellor, Prof. A. Kalanidhi, fell in step with me. Someone had been frantically trying to get in touch with me through the day, he said. Indeed, the phone was ringing when I entered the room. When I answered, a voice at the other end said, 'The prime minister wants to talk with you ...' Some months earlier, I had left my post as principal scientific adviser to the government of India, a Cabinet-level post, to return to teaching. Now, as I spoke to the PM, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, my life was set for an unexpected change. Turning Points takes up the incredible Kalam story from where Wings of Fire left off. It brings together details from his career and presidency that are not generally known as he speaks out for the first time on certain points of controversy. It offers insight not only into an extraordinary personality but also a vision of how a country with a great heritage can become great in accomplishment, skills and abilities through effort, perseverance and confidence. It is a continuing saga, above all, of a journey, individual and collective, that will take India to 2020 and beyond as a developed nation. Summary Of The Book This book, Turning Points: A Journey Through Challenges, takes up the story from when A.P.J Abdul Kalam became the President of India. It covers his acceptance of the post of the President of India, his term in office, his efforts to make his term meaningful, and the challenges he faced. His term from 2002 to 2007 was an eventful one. The President of India is just a titular head with minimal powers. But, the office is one of great influence and Kalam used it to best effect. He got the government and the public to focus on issues that were relevant to the country's all round growth. He initiated programs like PURA to try and integrate rural areas into the general economic and technological growth of the country. He dreamt of taking the whole of India on his vision for the country in the new millennium, and he saw no reason why the villages should be left out in this vision. Turning Points: A Journey Through Challenges is more about Kalam s vision for his country rather than about himself. He tries to provide a blueprint for development, and for reforms in the government and judiciary. Dr.Kalam is a strong advocate for the use of technology and a proponent of e-governance. Even the little bits of personal experience during his term that he gives, he links with these ideas. For instance, he mentions the controversial dissolution of the Bihar assembly for which he later offered to resign. But, he does not focus on the political or personal implications of this decision, instead, he chose to highlight his use of electronic communication in lending his approval to this move, for he was in Moscow at that time. He made the office of the President accessible to the public. He used his popularity and high visibility to inspire the youth of the country and convince them to believe in his 2020 vision for India. He urged the young people to dream big, and to believe in their country's destiny. Turning Points: A Journey Through Challenges describes the term in office of one of the most charismatic Presidents of the country.

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