Title of the Book: The Guided Missile: Memoirs of An Air Warrior; Authored by: Dr Suman Kumar Kasturi;Published by: Wisdom Press, New Delhi; 2022;ISBN: 978-93-92407-03-1; Pages: xiv+202; Price: ₹350/-
The Guided Missile is the story of an unguided youth, who chanced upon the opportunity to join the Indian Air Force, unwillingly, accidentally and of course blindfolded — took the plunge into the application process for a technical trade career in Air Force along with a common friend. For a boy, who dreamt of a stint in IITs of India, a dream nurtured by most youngsters in India the services are the least of the priority. But the divine destiny and his family contexts prompted the aspiring engineer to chance upon a career with the Indian Air Force.
With a remarkable memory and a meticulous eye for records and filing, a trait which I observed in the young communication scholar in his later years as a colleague, the book is a reflection of a carefully narrated and factually described chronology of events in an air warrior’s life that runs like a novel than autobiography.
The author candidly depicts the social and material contexts of his life at the time of taking his tests and selection trails that I am sure many a soldier in India will readily not only empathize with but also correlate with their own life experiences. The value of friendship and later comradeship that the young man cultivates during the selection trials at the school, later in the training academy and throughout his Air Force career and beyond is a testimony to his warmth and emotional nature.
The typical young mind of the author exploring fun and frolicking on the Railway journey and at the training centre in Bangalore lightens the reader’s mind and at the same time the details of the righteous training methods coupled with the competitive spirit instilled in the young minds is a testimony and a remarkable feature of our Armed Forces, and the author deserves to be congratulated for lucidly encapsulating the details at his training centre at Bangalore.
Meanwhile, it is a remarkable trait of the young boy, who had a great appetite and urge for learning and qualifying himself at every stage of his life from a mere Intermediate to a PhD (Doctorate) in Media and Communication certifies the industrious and untiring perseverance of the veteran air warrior turned Communicalogist Dr Suman Kumar Kasturi, whose story is “The Guided Missile,” is all about.
It is often imprinted in the Civilian Minds, the hardened and harsh postures of the Military Personnel and the picture print of a Military Man is that of an inflexible complex and hard-hearted soldier. However, the tender and emotional side of the Service Men often receive greater attention and the narration is of the first-person accounts of the young author during his stint at Bathinda and the life intimidating accident that gave him the bondage and blossoming of the emotional connect with his young married wife and the affection showered on him by his superiors is all unique to Indian Armed Services, and the author portrayed it vividly.
The “Guided Missile” is not just a narration of the young author and his journey but the call for duty and serving the nation comes before every Army personnel. This has been so gloriously portrayed by Dr Suman Kasturi in his book. And in the midst, how service men meticulously, timely and carefully plan their actions and untiringly work to troubleshoot any problem that emerges in the field is testified during his stint at Bathinda, Srinagar, Pune and Delhi. Probably his training and orientation disciplined the young mind to blossom into one of the prolific writers of media literacy among the contemporary media scholars in the country.
In most cases, one hears of the close-knit connections that the army men keep with their family, the only source that keeps them brave from all odds. The young Suman is not an exception but also a fortunate air warrior to be blessed with a beloved wife and children and wise parents and family. The book details the trivials and turbulences that roused their life from their married days to their second son and every trial and tribulations that brought about lasting love and affections between them. A sample of note that can be cited is the way the author describes the arrival of his first son with more than cinematic drama as “overwhelming, exhausting and terrifying.” But, he went on to add the newborn is a magic wand and the fresh hope of a different beginning.
To sum up, it is the story of the brave hearts of the Indian Air Force and also an inspiring narration of a young Air Warrior who turned into a media scholar, journalist and writer that every youth in the country should emulate. In my personal opinion, the Defence Ministry in India should prescribe this autobiography of Dr Suman Kumar Kasturi as a text in all Defence Training academies to inspire the young brave hearts.
Prof. Chinnaswamy Pichandy
(Founder HoD of Journalism and Mass communication at PSG college of Art and science)
Dr Chinnaswamy Pichandy specialised in Mass Communication from the University of Madras. His career spans over 34 years as an Academic, Researcher, Administrator, Teacher, Leader and social worker, reflecting his commitment to higher education and society in general. He has made a significant contribution in the field of Mass Communication and Journalism, and Higher Education in particular. He is the founder and Head of the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication at PSG college of Art and science and made it into a centre for higher learning.
He has brought in innovative UG and PG Programmes such as visual communication and Electronic Media. Besides, the research Programmes (M.Phil. and PhD). He has got many firsts to his credit and as a lead person established the state-of-the-art multimedia and broadcast studio, a first of its kind in an academic institution and the first-ever Industry Institute interface (III) with Kavithalaya. He was fortunate to be a Member of all the curriculum restructuring committees for UG and PG programmes of the Bharathiar University. Besides, he served the Bharathiar University as a member and chairman of various statutory bodies like the Academic Council (SCAA), Board of Studies, Research Committee and many other sub-committees. He has served on various committees and boards as chairman and member. He is associated with more than 30 universities in India and abroad and delivers regular UGC lectures. He is an adviser to UGC. SAP Programme and serves the Doctoral Committees of various universities in the South. He was instrumental in Bharathiar, Periyar, Manonmanium Sundaranar and Andhra Universities starting a media programme and research initiatives.