I rarely write about such stuff because it includes politics and I consider myself to be as dumb as Joey about it. But, here goes nothing.
Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam
Our favourite president.
Or is he our most famous president? I personally can't name more than 4 and I will never forget the name of two of them. APJ and Pratibha Patil. Lets say this post is devoted to the two of probably the most famous presidents of our time, for very different reasons.
Everbody loves APJAK. No one has a reason to hate him. He's super-intelligent, super-nice and talks about including youth in the movement for the nation's growth. Why wouldn't you love him? There are videos of his speech's standing ovation in the UN.
His 10 books sell like hot cakes. 6 people have written his biography. He's the first Asian to get the Hoover Medal, which has been awarded to the likes of Alfred Sloan Jr., Dwight Eisenhower as well a couple of other US Presidents.
But, really what all this brings to light is how many years it took the Government to include a scientist in office. And only 2 presidents have gotten the Bharat Ratna before him. Aren't presidents supposed to have it by default?
So, there is a wonderful sentiment in the air about our APJ. He always laughs. He always impresses. He got us into space and gave us the power to kick Pakistan's ass. But then, suddenly, just like a hot shower suddenly spewes cold water on you, his tenure gets over. Is he going to be there for the next 5 years?
Along comes Pratibha Patil, from godknowswhere, reeking of univocal support for Congress. The late Bhairon Singh Shekhawat had no chance whatsoever and she won with almost double the number of votes. So, did APJ not contest? Well, he was advised to do so by AIADMK, SP and TDP combined. He needed assurance to win, which he couldn't get. So, he never tried.
So, Pratibha Devisingh Patil becomes the 12th and the first woman to do so. She claims to have spoken to the spirit of a deceased leader in Mount Abu. But, that's ok. She apparently forgot speeches. But that's ok. She is embroiled in countless controversies regarding banks, sugar and purdah, dating back to 1975. But that's ok.
A self-confessed hippie and an associate of Bob Dylan (So writes Wiki) is now our President.
I am not against woman becoming Presidents. Lets get this fact straight first. Phew...
Now, what image comes into your mind when you hear Patil's name?
An old lady in a silk saree, slow to move. Slow to talk. Figure of enough prominence to represent us in front of 190 countries? I think not. Rather, I expect Her/His excellency The President Of India to look, talk and walk like the name sounds - The Supreme Commander. Honorary, heavy and capable of sweeping the meeting off its heels in one go with sheer intelligence and humility, with so much as a smile on the face. That was APJ for me. I failed to be ignited by Pratibha. I failed to feel proud when she delivers the message to the nation on 15th August. I failed to listen to that message anyway. :P
Personally, APJ being President again would have been a response to the popular demand and the assertion of the national sentiment and pluralism on the face of the UPA. Did UPA want Pratibha to be President or did it need her to be? We'll never know.
What we do know, for a FACT, is that the highest office has been devalued, robbed of its sincerity and austerity. Sha!