Friday, June 14, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Kaun banega Rashtrapati: why not someone with good track record?

Apropos of Mr Hari Jaisingh's article “Kaun banega Rashtrapati: why not someone with outstanding track record?” (June 7), it seems this piece has played a significant role in the NDA’s nomination of Professor A.P.J. Abdul Kalam as its candidate for the presidency. This article has perhaps convinced our politicians that outstanding and successful persons can also be considered for the high office.

Professor Kalam is non-controversial and apolitical. He has also been honoured with Bharat Ratna. He has contributed a lot to science and technology.

You have very rightly mentioned that what is needed today is the ability to think Indian and act Indian — beyond the majority and minority syndrome. And this is where Professor Kalam stands out as among the few tallest Indians. He is a true son of the soil.

We would be very happy if Dr Kalam is elected as the next President unanimously.

Gurdershan Singh, Chandigarh

HITTING THE NAIL ON THE HEAD: I have read with great interest Mr Hari Jaisingh's article entitled "Kaun banega Rashtrapati": Why not someone with outstanding track record?" (June 7). He states that he would prefer a President "Who is cent percent Indian at heart and Indian in his outlook". I think he has hit the nail on the head. What more could any Indian want?


However, the difficulty arises when we look for a model of Mr Jaisingh's dreams. Who is to judge that an Indian should be one, as described and desired by Mr Jaisingh? We have seen in recent history that leaders and scientists have tried to create the perfect man and woman. Hitler tried to breed the Nordic-cum-Aryan race which would be tall, blond, blue eyed and longheaded. He excluded all other races, specially the jews, the Gypsies and invalids from this category and sent them to the gas chambers. He committed the biggest genocide in history trying to create a "cent percent" Nordic and Aryan race.

Mr Jaisingh describes past Presidents — Fakharudin Ali Ahmed as signing the Emergency proclamation of 1975 while in a bath tub and Giani Zail Singh sweeping the floor at Indira Gandhi's behest. How will we be sure that the father of the Indian missile system Mr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam won't be any different? Hasn't he compromised with the forces of Hindutva by allowing all the missiles he has created being named after Hindu gods and goddesses — Prithvi, Agni, Nag, Dhanush, Trishul etc? should he have been allowed the forces of Hindutva to hijack his inventions in this manner?

In a secular country like India, missiles and weapons should not be named after gods, goddesses and symbols of a particular religion. I'm afraid, he may be "cent percent" Indian as per Mr Jaisingh's perceptions but he certainly is not my cup of tea. He's a good scientist but a weak Indian.

Then what about the main opposition party in India, the Congress? Their party president is an Italian-born lady. Certainly by creating a "cent percent" Indian, Mr Jaisingh has left Congressmen offended.

Only genetic engineering can create a master Nordic-cum-Arya race, a cent percent Indian, a super-cop, a good Akali and, that too, not to the entire satisfaction of the people who have toyed with such ideas. Morally and ethically, I am against genetic engineering.

Simranjit Singh Mann, MP (Lok Sabha) New Delhi

THE BEST CHOICE: Dr. Kalam is the best choice for the presidency. He possesses the calibre and stature of Dr. Radhakrishnan and Dr. Rajendra Prasad. India needed a man of his ability, vision and character to be the President. It would be appreciated if all political parties endorse his candidature.

It reminds me of a piece in “In the News” feature on this page (The Tribune, January 24, 2002) under the title “How academics treat India’s Missile Man”. It highlighted that the father of the Indian missile system, also decorated with the highest civilian award, Bharat Ratna, and the former principal scientific adviser to the Prime Minister, Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam has unfortunately been rejected for the post of a professor in the Indian Institute of Science, Banglore. The Tribune condemned it and stated that it was a sad commentary on the state of affairs in the country’s academic institutions. It further stated, “In the USA or any other developed country an institute of science and technology would have been more than willing to invite a person like Dr. Kalam to serve as its faculty member on his own terms and conditions”.

I wrote ‘Shocking, Shocking’ on this clipping and got it displayed on the notice board of the Management Department in our university. The academics’ response to this ranged from being indifferent to lukewarm. On March 8, 2002 at the University Grants Commission-sponsored seminar on “Challenges before higher education in new millennium”, UGC Vice Chairperson Dr. Nigvekvar, saw the clipping on the overhead projector (OHP) and said “we are aware of such degradation in higher education.”

The news about Dr Kalam has provided me the strength to share this piece of information with you with the hope that he will be a great boon to the country.

Dr G.S. Bhalla, Reader, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar.

IMPECCABLE CREDENTIALS: The impeccable credentials of Professor Kalam should make him the best candidate for the presidency to date. He is apolitical, highly qualified and committed person who has risen to this level through sheer hard work. These are the qualities which should be put foremost whenever any candidature is announced for any high office. But our political parties suffer from ultra pro-minorityism and will go to any length to put forward a name as long as the person belongs to a minority.

A common man wants to see his President to be an honest person, apolitical and above all a true Indian. But not our political parties. The Congress will have to be blamed for such a situation where every decision is taken from the communal versus secular angle. The Mulayams and the Laloos are surviving on their anti-Hindu stances. The less said the better about the leftists who have the media by their side and 90 per cent of Indians vote against them.

When are we going to judge candidates, policies, decisions and above all governance from the point of view of India as one entity?

Radhesh Chander, New DelhiTop


Awakening in Indian polity

Once again, your efforts have borne fruit and we are going to have a gem as our President i.e. Professor Abdul Kalam. I convey you my sincere good wishes for having advocated the cause of democracy so vociferously. Even today, there is no dearth of good people. The only problem is that they are disorganised.

The Tribune, as a team, is doing an excellent work in conveying the feelings of civil society and this effort is reaping fruits. Be it the scam-tainted and suspended PPSC chief Ravi Sidhu or universities or now the Presidential elections, your write-ups evoke tremendous response from all those who have concern for society.

The makers of the Constitution could not even think in their wildest dreams that one day there would be a debate on choosing the President. It is an office that must maintain its grace and dignity and should be kept above petty politics.

The President is a symbol of the nation’s prestige and he must be a person of exceptionally high calibre. Professor Kalam is the most suitable person for Rashtrapati Bhavan. He has truly served the nation, putting his heart and soul into his profession and achieving results, unlike our politicians. He is an intellectual and an academic of high esteem. He has made India self-sufficient in nuclear power, without which the world would not have considered us seriously today.

All enlightened people are delighted to hear about Professor Kalam’s nomination as the NDA candidate for the presidency, which other political parties can ill-afford to oppose. Let us look upon Professor Kalam’s elevation to the post of the President as an epitome of new awakening in the Indian polity and strengthening of our civil society. May India reach greater heights under his leadership.

Tejinder Sharma, Lecturer, Commerce, Kurukshetra University, Kurukshetra


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