Grandma's Tales

June 27, 2007

Oops, she did it again!

Filed under: Government,Society — Geeta Padmanabhan @ 12:26 am

First it was the purdah. Now it is the spirit (some would say ghost) of a Baba she had communed with. Prez nominee Pratibha Patil definitely knows how to keep herself in the news.  She goes to Mount Abu, has a session with the Brahmakumaris there, comes out and says, “”I had a very happy experience here. The Baba came into the body of Hriday Mohini Dadiji. I did not know that he still talks. I thought he will say something and I will listen. But he had a chat with me and put me into difficulty. He also made me very lucky.”
You can see how this is totally in contrast with the way we have been trained to think by Kalam, the outgoing Prez who has spent considerable time and energy promoting Science and progressive thinking.
Don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against faith. I think one’s faith (or religion) is a very personal choice. To be able to pin our faith on whatever we choose to – temple, Baba, guru – is an inalienable right. It is uncultured, even boorish to make fun of people for what they believe in. If you find comfort in Irsha Yoga, I feel better listening to jazz and blues. To each, his own.
But PP is not you and me. She will soon represent a very important part of the world map. She will be anointed as the first citizen of the country. She will be seen as the model for the billion + of this country and as its representative abroad. When Kalam went out and spoke to world leaders about emerging technologies and India’s pre-eminence in rocket science, what did the world leaders think of India?
I’m not saying the Prez of India has to be standing on the cutting edge of technology. All I’m saying is that Kalam is a right-thinking person. From his position as President of the country, a position that would get him publicity and wide coverage here and abroad, he talked of:
[1] Good, well-rounded education for children.
[2] Hard work and encouraging achievement in fields that matter.
[3] A scientific temperament – the need to question things before accepting them.
[4] The importance of encouraging fine arts – he plays the veena.
[5] Pride in what is truly Indian – he grew a herbal garden.
[6] Total inclusion – in education and employment. A lot of disabled people met him and came away feeling he was their friend.
In the five years he occupied the Rashtrapati Bhavan, Kalam created certain benchmarks for what a Prez is all about. He stood for probity in public life, he stood for using power with responsibility, he stood for an India that was technologically clued in, an India in with the world without giving up its best practices. An India proud to join the world ranks without compromising its values. His insistence on interacting with kids wherever he went sent a clear message – this is where the future lies. Oh, yes, he was a people’s President.
Now we have PP.
How come we hear so many negative stories about her? She’s involved in shielding a relative charged with murder, said one report. She ran co-operative banks that folded without repaying creditors, says another. Her own pronouncements at public functions are not stuff that would endear her to all.
What bothers me most is this: After centuries of being thought of as a country of snake charmers, rope tricksters, oppressors in the name of caste and creed, we have emerged as a people who can take on the world. Our ability to learn, to adapt, to do business and be a part of the world community are all being recognised now. Our ancient systems, be it Yoga, the ayurveda or the Vedic chanting, our emphasis on mental equanimity and the need to live a detached life are all being appreciated. 
The world now sees India as a country of energetic, young people who are raring to make a mark no matter what the field is – tech, art, movies, cuisine – you name it.  We’ll soon have the maximum number of young people proportionate to the population. We are ready to take risks and go out and prove ourselves. Wherever they are, our young people are doing well.
Who should be our spokesperson now?



  1. This post should have been on the front page of our leading newspapers.

    Very well said!

    Comment by -- R — June 27, 2007 @ 11:41 am | Reply

  2. Thanks, R, thanks for those words of appreciation. I said all this to my daughter and she said, “Mom, just blog it!” and there I wrote it. I sincerely wish as many people as possible will read it!

    Comment by Geeta Padmanabhan — June 27, 2007 @ 9:23 pm | Reply

  3. Ma’am that was mind-blowing!

    Comment by Karishma.D.Dodeja — July 9, 2007 @ 7:25 pm | Reply

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