In March 2006, George W. Bush, President of the United States of America, visited India to finalize the landmark civil nuclear deal between the two countries. But far from the hum of expectations, the US negotiating team was hard at work in South Block—making every possible attempt to alleviate the concerns raised by Anil Kakodkar, Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), and Secretary, Department of Atomic Energy (DAE). Kakodkar’s firmness paid off and the US team conceded to the demands made in the interest of India’s strategic autonomy. Little wonder then that when Kakodkar was introduced to President Bush, he asked, ‘So you are that Kakodkar? Are you happy?’
It is this courage of conviction and firm resolve that has defined the remarkable life and times of Anil Kakodkar, one of India’s most respected nuclear scientists. Fire and Fury is a recollection of his profound journey—from humble beginnings in Madhya Pradesh to the highest office of the Chairman, AEC—through different events and watershed moments in the country’s atomic energy programme over the past forty-five years.
It chronicles the many inflection points of the programme as seen through the eyes of one of the chief architects of that journey.