The DMK, said the headlines, feels that Pratibha Patil‘s election as the President will be the first step towards 30 percent reservations for women. Pranab Mukherjee, who was the UPA’s first choice for President, said in a statement that he hopes all parties will come together to elect India’s first woman President.
And that’s exactly what I’m against: electing someone, anyone, the President of India primarily because they’re a scientist, a dalit or a woman. The focus should be on issues, on past performance and current beliefs. The party nominating Patil for President shouldn’t be using her being a woman as a peg – but then again, it’s a sad reflection of the politics of our times.
At the same time, petitions have been doing the rounds on the Internet for the last eight months to re-elect Abdul Kalam as President. I’ve received several mails from friends to sign this petition or that. Nowhere does anyone tell me why Kalam ought to be re-elected.
I’m of the opinion that he’s been a rubber stamp, and on only one issue has he stood his ground – the office of profit bill. Even there, he eventually gave way, though not all of his recommendations were implemented. His PR people and advisors have done a great job in creating a “Chacha Nehru” type persona for Kalam, and most people seem to have bought that.
But then again – this is India, the sycophantic Congress is in power, and the media is wagging its tail. Democracy, of course, runs on alcohol.
Update: A couple of interesting posts on the same issue:
“The point wasn’t to send a woman to Raisina Hill. The point was to elect the best person for the job – caste, religion and gender no bar…
…Tell me how she’s the best person for the job, tell me why she deserves this honor, tell me why I should be proud of her for things she did rather than something decided in her mother’s womb. Tell me why she represents me and my country. Don’t try to guilt me into accepting her as the face of my country.”
However, I don’t agree with her support for Kalam, as mentioned in the post above and the comments.
“So what am I trying to say? Let us see the sham that this nomination of a woman president really is. Like Kalam earlier, it’s a political move that is meant to pay divides for the party stock (even today BJP claims credit for appointing Kalam as a ‘good’ president). And in India, where politics is linked to identity of the candidate, the President is the ultimate symbol of a parties vote aspirations (trying to woo a section of people) while following it’s own agenda within closed-doors without actual desire for the upliftment of the people they are claiming to care about.”
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— We shouldn’t forget that…
— Reservations about reservations about reservations about…
— The Importance of Numbers