India’s Presidents should be Epitome Of Dignity
The President of India represents the sovereignty and dignity of the Indian Republic. India is passing through extraordinary political times where in Indian public perceptions, Indian political leaders and the polity have lost respect. In such a parched political landscape the Indian Republic needs towering intellectuals as Presidents and who are epitomes of dignity. So far only Presidents Dr Rajendra Prasad, Dr Radhakrishnan, Dr Zakir Hussain and Dr A. P.J. Kalam can be termed as such.
India has weathered all sorts of nine other Presidents in the history of our Republic. Most of them were politically conniving or gave in to political pressures from the quarters that installed them in office. As political creatures nothing more could have been expected from them other than to act as rubber-stamps of the Government to which they were beholden.
In my Column of 21 July 2007, entitled “India’s People’s President Bows Out” I had expressed my reservations on the Congress Party imposing political no-bodies as Presidents. At that time there was thousands of SMS s in circulation, all seeking a second term as President for Dr Kalam. The political retort contemptuously then were that Presidents are elected by the political representatives and not by SMSs.
When the Indian public today has scant high opinion of the capabilities and inclinations to do well for India, how visionary they would be in selecting good Presidents?
Maybe in hindsight those who installed the present President in office may revise their opinions viewed strictly from the prism of controversies that have broken out in the public domain regarding exorbitant expenditures on the President’s foreign trips with out-sized entourages and the unseemly controversy, unprecedented in nature, of appropriating two huge bungalows in Khadki Cantonment for “constructing” a palatial mansion for her post-retirement stay.
Contextually, therefore as the next presidential contenders’ names are being discussed, it is imperative that the Office of The President of India be restored to its pristine glory and dignity as the Presidents named above imparted to it.
Fractured mandates of General Elections 2014 and presidential connivance for questionable political coalitions to assume power in New Delhi should not be the over-riding priority in selecting the next presidential candidate.
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Dr. Subhash Kapila
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