Grandma's Tales

July 23, 2007

New info on Kalam

Filed under: Games People Play,Government — Geeta Padmanabhan @ 9:17 am

This information came to me from a friend. The writer quotes The Indian Express as the source, so I guess it is authentic. Read on…

Now another revelation — so far kept under wraps at Rashtrapati Bhavan (under presidential orders): In May 2006, President Kalam’s relatives from the south decided to descend on him (as relatives tend to often do). On instructions of the president they were welcomed by his staff at the railway station, and were looked after right up to the time they departed. But the Controller of Household was under strict instructions to keep a meticulous account of all the expenses incurred on behalf of the relatives — all 53 of them. Not once was an office vehicle used for any of them.
It was made clear by the president that he would pay — not only for the transport of all his relatives to and from Delhi, and also within Delhi, he would also pay for the various rooms occupied by them at Rashtrapati Bhavan and the food that was consumed by them — the rooms at the prescribed rate, the food on the basis of expenses actually incurred.
When his relatives left after a week’s stay, the president was of course sad to see them all go, but he was also lighter in his pocket: the total expenses debited to his personal account was Rs 3,54,924! As we practising lawyers often say in court “the facts speak for themselves”: President Kalam has set a high benchmark of rectitude in public office — worthy of emulation. And as a living embodiment of ‘Transparency-National’, his parting words of advice were: “Don’t accept gifts.” Delicately put: what he meant to say of course was: “Don’t accept gifts for favours in return.”
Of him it can be said, as Winston Churchill once said about his departed king: “He nothing common did, or mean, upon that memorable scene.” Memorable scenes are rarely re-enacted, but they are always remembered.

– Source: Indian Express
In this context, I remember a conversation with some friends. One of them asked, “The Prez nominee (at that time) is travelling all over the country to canvass votes for her election. Who pays for her travel and stay?”



  1. Great post, Geeta. My hats off to President Kalam!

    Comment by VSu — July 23, 2007 @ 9:52 pm | Reply

  2. FYI, I have quoted this post in another forum:

    Here’s some basic introduction to the forum “another subcontinent”:


    Comment by VSu — July 23, 2007 @ 11:13 pm | Reply

  3. Thanks for this post. I wish some publisher grabs all his speeches, and publishes them as a book, and also includes some slides, speech recordings etc as a CD. I would stand outside Odyssey Adyar overnight in rain or storm to buy the first copy.

    Comment by Rajesh Kumar — July 24, 2007 @ 3:50 pm | Reply

  4. You will find a long queue ahead of you, Rajesh!

    Comment by Geeta Padmanabhan — July 25, 2007 @ 1:39 am | Reply

  5. This anecdote has to go down in the history of Indian politics! Wow!

    Comment by Karishma.D.Dodeja — July 29, 2007 @ 10:11 pm | Reply

  6. So true, Karishma!

    Comment by Geeta Padmanabhan — July 30, 2007 @ 8:33 am | Reply

  7. Hmmm…I wonder if Ms.Patil would do something of this sort.

    Comment by Karishma.D.Dodeja — July 30, 2007 @ 5:03 pm | Reply

  8. let’s wait and watch!

    Comment by Geeta Padmanabhan — July 30, 2007 @ 8:30 pm | Reply

  9. let god bless us with another kalam.

    Comment by srilakshmi — August 15, 2007 @ 6:53 pm | Reply

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