Excerpts from the book ‘Ignited Minds‘ Written By A.P.J. Abdul Kalamji


The next morning I kept sitting for some time drinking my tea and pondering about this strange dream. What if the helicopter had lost power at some more height? Just a few hours before my own mishap, a plane carrying a promising leader and a team of young and talented journalists had crashed, killing all. I had been lucky to survive and now there was the night’s experience that seemed to hold a message for me. What should I do? 

I looked out of the window. The sun was well up in the sky and there was a soothing breeze. I have always lived in close touch with nature and have always found it a friend, giving without reservation, like the mango tree–people throw stones at it, break off its branches, but it still offers its shade to the weary traveller, and its fruit to the hungry. Whether it was the sea at Rameswaram, Thumba and Chandipur; the desert at Pokhran; or the gigantic boulders in Hyderabad, nature has always made its presence felt wherever I have worked. It has helped to remind me of the divine force that pervades all of creation. 

I kept on pondering over my dream. And yet, the history of the world shows the forces of good struggling hard to make life better for mankind while the human race also shows a terrible capacity for destruction. Thus we have Gandhi, and other great saints and teachers who lay down the precepts for a happy and virtuous life, on the one hand, and on the other the death of millions in the Second World War and the dropping of atomic bombs that destroyed entire cities. Thousands have died in the Bosnia conflict, the Israel—Palestine conflict continues to take lives, and on 11 September 2001 terrorists used a new tactic to take lives when they struck at the World Trade Center in New York. At home, in the Bhopal gas tragedy, 30,000 people died as the result of the carelessness of a multinational company, and thousands more have died in the Kashmir Valley violence. On 13 December 2001, when the leaders of India were in Parliament, an attempt was made by the terrorists to paralyse the country. Where will it all stop? Are we doomed to destroy ourselves? No, we have to find an everlasting solution. 

I recall a poem I wrote a few years ago, ‘The Tree of Life’. 

‘You, the human race are the best of my creations 

You will live and live, 

And give and give till you are united, 

In happiness and pain! 

My bliss will be born in you, 

Love is a continuum, 

That is the mission of humanity, 

You will see every day in the Life Tree. 

You learn and learn, My best of creations.’