Friday, May 16, 2003
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By T. Lalith Singh
The e-version of `Wings of Fire', the autobiography of Dr. Kalam done with Arun Tiwari, is set to be launched in the next couple of weeks. Once posted on the Internet, readers across the globe can browse the book and even download it. Targeted mainly at overseas readers and Non Resident Indians (NRIs), the entire autobiography, which surged on the popularity charts after Dr. Kalam assumed the highest office of the nation, can be downloaded at a cost of $3.
``The website is almost ready and we are looking forward to have N.R. Narayana Murthy, chief of Infosys, launching it,'' says Madhu Reddy, Director, Universities Press which published the autobiography.
The Chinese edition of `Wings of Fire', titled `Huo Yi' and translated by Ji Peng, was launched last month in Beijing and the Korean edition is expected to be released in the coming months. The Universities Press is also working on an audio version of the popular autobiography apart from an exclusive children's version.
Mr. Reddy says an agreement was reached between the publishing house and the National Council for Promotion of Urdu Language for an Urdu translation of `Wings of Fire' as well.
The autobiography first published in English in 1999, has so far been translated and published in 13 languages including Gujarati, Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam, Oriya, Marathi apart from Braille.
``We sold 1.25 lakh copies in English, around 60,000 in Tamil and another 40,000 copies of the Malayalam edition during the year 2002-2003 after he took over as the President,'' says Mr. Reddy. This, in sharp contrast to the sale of around 25,000 copies each year since the autobiography priced at Rs. 200 was published in 1999.
It is not just the book sales that are soaring, but more ideas too. Arun Tiwari, co-author of `Wings of Fire' and long time associate of Dr. Kalam, is currently working on a book titled `My Country, My People, My Leader'.
``I accompanied the President to some remote places in Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Pondicherry. What I saw during those visits spurred me to come out with a new book,'' he says.
The book will focus on the `real India which has been marginalised by archetypes and stereotypes'. "There is more to India than those symbolisms of Aishwarya Rai as a representation of Indian beauty and Sachin Tendulkar of Indian youth. This neglected essence of our contemporary times is what I intend to focus upon in my new book,'' Prof. Tiwari, a missile technologist-turned author, says.
The book, as the title suggests, is about India, Indians and Dr. Kalam. "It will try to give more insights into the personality of Dr. Kalam and his dreams for India and Indians,'' he says. This, he hopes, could well become a sequel to the "Wings of Fire.''
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