The ancient Indian civilization was steeped in arts, culture, administration and most of all science and a great reserve of natural resources. What has been compiled in “Thoughts for Change: We Can Do It”, by two of India’s accomplished Missile-Men, is an important motivating reminder and a wake-up call to present day Bharat. Particularly, at a time when India’s political scenario brims with corruption and scams. But its achievements in information technology and aerospace engineering/rocket technology should inspire India’s large community of youth – to whom the book has been dedicated – and who, it is hoped, will influence India’s political leadership to straighten its spine and make the nation break out of its reputation of being a soft state and become a country to be reckoned with.
That means, a nation which has the requisite technology with economic clout and weapon systems and equally importantly, the will to use the appropriate conventional ones at least whenever necessary and not repeatedly hesitate to retaliate when attacked . In this book spread over five parts, the authors have covered a wide array of subjects not only related to their field, but also those under the gamut of science and technology The first part, “Dynamics of Change” begins with the scientific temper and specialization of a number of Indian sages and scholars of India’s ancient period of a prosperous and cultured civilization living in wellplanned cities and some of the discoveries and inventions of these great minds, which revolutionized science, beating the western world hollow by some centuries. This chapter also goes into the great obstacles placed before India by way of western regimes of denial of the fruits of the industrial revolution and the ensuing technological progress in the pre-independence era and sanctions in the post independence period , which Indian scientists circumvented by their ingenuity to indigenize.
Part 2, titled “Mission Mode Programmes and Technological Push”, covers science and technology which enabled the Green Revolution, Operation Flood (milk production), industry initiative, nuclear energy, space venture, missile projects, IT and the pharma industry.
Part 3 –“Futuristic Technologies” , is the longest one spread over 170 pages, which begins with Technology Through Ages, Bio and Nanotechnologies and their Convergence, Robotics, Sensors Technology, Materials and Processing, Nuclear Energy, Space, Missile Technology, Ballistic Missile Defence System (BMDS), Cruise Missile BrahMos, Hypersonics, Emerging Battlefield Tecnologies-C4I2SR and Green Technologies.
Part 4, Technology Spin-offs to Society, begins with a blurb of quotes by Dr. Abdul Kalam expressing his rising levels of elation following the successful orbit of India’s SLV-3 (satellite launched vehicle) in July 1980; test firing of intermediate range ballistic missile Agni in May 1989; India’s “five nuclear experiments” in May 1989. His last quote is indeed touching: “When I saw happy tears rolling out from the eyes of the parents of a polio-affected child, on seeing him walking after the fitting of lightweight caliper developed from missile technology-it gave me bliss.” The spin-offs covered in this part are from nuclear, space and defence technologies. And some of these spin-offs have proved to be invaluable to medicine, particularly like orthopedic and dental implants, prosthetic devices, acoustic detector for detecting noises from debris and many others.
Part 5, begins with the English translation of a verse titled Youth by Jalaluddin Rumi, the 13th century Persian sufi poet, followed by observations on India’s growth and appropriate recommendations for what India should become by 2020 and beyond. However, all the desirable aims will be achievable only if corruption can be considerably reduced, as its total elimination does not seem possibleworldwide – as it is an old virus of human nature.