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Extraordinary authors, extraordinary book

Mandira Nayar

This book about spirituality highlights a different side of President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam



FROM A SIMPLE MAN: President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam receiving the first copy of his latest book `Guiding Souls' from his co-author Arun Tiwari and publishers Shyam Sunder and Shishir Bhushan of Ocean Books, at Rashtrapati Bhavan on Wednesday.

NEW DELHI: These are words of wisdom from the "monk of machines". Bringing to the fore a different side to President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam than his usual scientific style, his new book "Guiding Souls" with co-writer Arun K. Tiwari is about spirituality.

"The book is a product of two years of interactions. At first we didn't know that it would be a book, but about a year ago Mr. Kalam thought there was something substantial and it could be a book. I asked him: What is the meaning of life? We often leave these questions to people living in ashrams or religious people. We think that as journalists or even as scientists, the meaning of life is not our business," said Mr. Tiwari at the release of the book in the Capital on Wednesday.

Sitting under a banyan tree in the sprawling lawns of the grand old Rashtrapati Bhavan during some of the conversations, it is this aspect of the President's character that usually never comes out in his official functions.

"He is a simple man. But he has excellent spiritual qualities of success. He has made Rashtrapati Bhavan a spiritual abode. There are medicinal plants, peacocks and rabbits. It is a divine atmosphere out here," he said.

Having co-authored "The Wings of Fire" with the President which has become a bestseller, this book which aims to give the youth a little direction about life will be published in more than just two languages. Apart from English and Hindi, the book will be published in the President's mother-tongue Tamil as well as Assamese, Gujarati, Kannada and even Bengali.

While the book explores the guiding souls of the President's life, in a way it is written by one that has been guided by him. In this exploration of spirituality by two men of science, Mr. Tiwari and Dr. Kalam have had a long association with each other.

"I have known the President since his DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organisation) days. He was a teacher to me. He helped me when I had health problems and I think that it is very difficult for me to say how much he has influences me,'' said Mr. Tiwari with a smile.

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