Wings Of Fire Summary-A Short summary On The Biography Of Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam

Wings Of Fire Summary

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The sides of the mountain sustain life, not the peak. This is where things grow, the experience is gained, and technologies are mastered. The importance of the peak lies only in the fact that it defines the sides.
A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, Wings of Fire

About the author

Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam was a leading scientist in India. He was not only a scientist but a professor as well as an author also. He is known as the Missile Man of India. He was the leader of the Pokhran-II nuclear tests since the original nuclear test. He was also elected as president of India once in 2005. He also achieved the Bharat Ratna award, the most prestigious civilian honor in India. He died in Shillong while delivering a speech towards the students. He died due to cardiac arrest. He was 87 years old at that time.


The Wings of Fire is the autobiography of Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam. This book tells us the life history of Dr. Kalam. Actually, this book proves the fact that ‘if there is a will, there is a way’.
Now let's see how this book proves this fact briefly. 

Wings of Fire Summary

The book, Wings of Fire has seven  sections, they are as follows :
  • Preface
  • Introductions
  • Orientation
  • Creation
  • Propitiation
So, we will see these sections one by one and will try to understand what these sections tell us about Dr. Kalam.


Dr. Kalam was born in Rameshwaram, Tamil Nadu, India,  in 1931. His father was not only a boat owner in Rameshwaram but Imam of the Mosque also. He had a very successful career. He was the chief of the defense and developmental program of India. As a chief, he gave gifts to India from his genius brain like AGNI, TRISHUL and NAG missiles. It was him because of whom India has become one of the international missile reckoned countries. This book tells us the story of his life and how he had achieved all those remarkable achievements within his short period of life.

wing of fire


This chapter begins with the childhood of Dr. Kalam. From his childhood, he respected both of his parents. He respected his father, Jainulabdeen because of his great wisdom and kindness and he respected his mother Aishamma because she was his constant companion or maybe more like a friend less than a strict mother. He also introduced us to his friend Ahmed Jalaluddin, who was about 15 years older than Kalam but he liked him because of his spiritual nature. Both of these friends were highly religious and both of them visited the shiv temple regularly.

Later in this book, he introduced us to his cousin, Samsuddin. He felt very different around the school and his family members as well. Actually, he described an incident that took place in his school. That day everything was going normal until a new teacher came to class. His name was Rameswaram Shastry, he was so orthodox that he could see a Muslim child sitting next to a Hindu one. As he himself was a Hindu, he told Kalam to sit at the back of the class. This incident made Kalam’s parents so angry that they summoned Lakshmana Shastry, who was a family friend of Kalams’ and the head priest of Rameshwaram Temple. Later, Lakshmana Sastry scolded Rameshwaram and told him that he would not tolerate this type of religious prejudices in society and he needed to stop this poison from spreading rather than spreading it.
To succeed in life and achieve results, you must understand and master three mighty forces— desire, belief, and expectation.
A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, Wings of Fire

In this section, he also mentioned about his academic life. He took his elementary education in Rameshwaram Elementary School and Schwartz High School. Later he went to St. Joseph College at Trichy to pursue a B.Sc degree. But there he realized that physics was not his cup of tea. He left that college and applied to the Madras Institute of Technology (MIT). There he chose aeronautical engineering as his subject. But his family was not financially okay for him to pursue his education. At that hard time in his life, his sister Zohara helped him a lot financially. At MIT, Prof. Sponder, Prof. Kal Pandalai, and Prof. Narasingalu Rao, these were the three professors that shaped his mind. After MIT, he joined Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). There he joined as a trainer. He was a part of an engine overhauling team. He also trained radial engine cum drum operations. After engineering, he applied for the Air Force and Directorate of Technical Development and Production of Ministry of Defence. Well, unfortunately, he got rejected due to physical examination. Later he was appointed in Directorate of Technical Development and Production as a senior scientific assistant with a salary of about Rs. 250 per month. Yeah, we all are surprised that Rs. 250 per month, that really ridiculous but let's not forget that the year was 1950, at that time Rs. 250 was really a lot of money. 


This section of the book covers his life works from 1963 to 1980. It also includes his achievements during these 17 years. During these years he worked for Langley Research Center, NASA, in Houston and in Virginia. He also worked for the Wallops Flight Facility located on the East Coast of Virginia. 

Let not thy winged days be spent in vain. When once gone no gold can buy them back again.
A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, Wings of Fire

He described that when he was in NASA, he saw a painting that was displayed in the lobby. Later, after his close examination, he saw that there was a battle going on between Tipu Sultan’s army and British Army and in the background rocket was flying around. This painting made him feel very proud that even in the USA, they respect Indian history and culture. 

In this section, he also mentioned the death of his father. He lived 102 years of age. It was the year 1976. He got so emotional at that time. He remembered the few lines of a poem that Auden gifted his friend William Butler Yeats at his death. The lines were:

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

 In this section, Kalam covered his national achievement and his national recognition. In this section, he mentioned that on the republic day of 1981, he got the Padma Bhushan award.


This section covers his outstanding performance in the establishment of India as a missile sounded country internationally. In this section, he covers why he was called ‘Missile Man of India’. This section covers his achievements from 1981 to 1991.

He did an excellent job in developing the Guided Missile Project of India. He was the leader of this project. He was the one who developed five deadliest guided missiles of India:
  • Prithvi
  • Trishul
  • Akash
  • Nag
  • Agni

God, our Creator, has stored within our minds and personalities, great potential strength and ability. Prayer helps us to tap and develop these powers.
A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, Wings of Fire

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