Do you see how grand the title sounds? It sounds awesome right. You can almost visualize an important man walking around, earning respect from everything around him : trees, Ambassador cars, people and even mosquitoes. Infact, I used to think the POTSOI was just as awesome as The POTUS (President of the United States). I used to think that when K.R.Narayanan was President, when I was 10 years old.
I was a micro-citizen of India then, and pretty damn ignorant. I didn’t know shit. Then the NDA, led by the BJP, did the singularly awesome move of making Abdul Kalam President of India and my half-assed opinion was reinforced even more strongly. I became older and saw what an awesome person APJ Abdul Kalam was.
But all that came tumbling down, much like your Jenga tower when you play with that jerk you call your brother, when Pratibha Patil became President.
It didn’t happen immediately. At first I didn’t really care. Sure, she wont be as awesome as Abdul Kalam, but so what? I mean, no one can be as awesome as Abdul Kalam. I assumed she’ll probably do something different and try to set her own unachievable standard as President. And be fondly remembered by the Indian population just as he was.
I was 50% right : She set her own unachievable standard. Just off the top of my head, she tried to steal army land and she spent 220 crores of taxpayers money on trips abroad. No one can possibly surmount that. She’s not at all fondly remembered. If you Google around, you’ll see that she’s probably the most hated President India has ever had.
See, Presidents are supposed to be non-Partisan and above the day-to-day happenings of the Government of India. They’re supposed to be regal, almost royal people and just be…you know, not like those idiot politicians we vote into power. I mean, the President is the Head of State after all.
Now, do you know why Head, President and State are in caps?
Politics and History lesson time.
Because the President is the chief of the State of India. He/She is above everything in India. He/She controls the military. He/She can (technically) dissolve Parliament and tell everyone what to do. Not in an evil dictatorial way, but a responsible and wise-old man sort of way.
That is (possibly) why the President is one of the few people who cannot be prosecuted in India.
But do you know what constitutes the State of India? It’s not a tangible, physical term. State doesn’t mean province. It’s not a geographical term. It’s also not a philosophical term.
The State of India is the concept of India. It includes the population of India, the Constitution, the legislature, executive, judiciary, the military and even that dog you see walking around. Everything in India is the State of India. And the President is Head of State.
After Independence, the Brits assumed we’d be fine with having the Queen as the Head of State of India. But “NO!!!!”, said our freedom fighting forefathers.
Therefore the concept of having a non-British royalty as Head of State came about in India because India said that we wanted nothing to do with British Royalty. The guys in-charge got together and figured out the Queen/King had done enough to Indians for 300 years, what with taking our Kohinoor diamond and including it in the Crown and all. So they created the post of the President.
Then they laughed sarcastically while sipping chai and protested non-violently against the British the next day. Therefore India is literally the only (citation needed) member of the Commonwealth of Nations that chose to stay in the Commonwealth but not have the Queen as the Head of State.
History and politics lesson ends here.
Let me get to the current affairs lesson.
Most people think the President of India is a useless post, created by those evil politicians to get their things done. That’s not exactly true. That’s what has happened, but that wasn’t the original aim of having a President.
The President does have a bunch of jobs to do, but he does whatever it is under the advisement of the Council of Ministers headed by the PM. What do I mean? I mean to say that the Constitution gives him a lot of powers. But he can’t do anything with those powers except make the PM and his Council of Ministers execute those powers in lieu of him. I think.
This function/feature was created to have a checks-and-balances system in the highest echelons of the Indian executive. I think. This mean that neither the President can fuck around with India, nor can the Council. If this particular thing didn’t exist, then India would be a total mess like Pakistan, which has two very powerful people at the top who don’t get along very well at all. I think.
So what now?
I don’t mean to say that President is a useful post? No. Let’s say its a largely useful post. I’ll demonstrate why with an example.
Unlike other countries, Indian laws are pretty murky on whether a foreign born-Indian citizen can become the PM. In the US, in order to be President, the person must have been born in the US. That’s clear there, but not here in India.
It’s the Presidents job to appoint the PM after elections. So in the 2004 elections, it was Kalams responsibility was to appoint the PM. Sonia Gandhi stepped up to the plate, with 300 letters supporting her candidature.
Kalam glanced at her dubious record of not having been born in a single district of India or even to Indian parents. He took note of the situation – she’s not born in India, she married an Indian citizen and became Indian later – and said he will let the Supreme Court decide if she can be PM. Sonia Gandhi got the hint and let MMS become the PM.
It’s useful because you don’t have an Italian born lady who was a waitress, becoming the COO of our great country for 8 years. But it’s not always that useful. Sometimes the President can just be plain…rabbit-brained.
This happened during Emergency, when President Fakhrudin Ali Ahmed simply obeyed Indira Gandhis orders and created that blemish on Indian history known as “The Emergency”.
So if the President turns out to be a dis-interested sycophant of a powerful party, nominated by that party, then his post as useful as a bear that can poop 200 m into the air.
Naturally something similar happened in 2007, when Ms.Patil became President. Apart from spending 200+crores of taxpayers money on trips abroad, I do not know one good thing she has done for our country. Even if she has, I don’t care because she never really attempted to generate goodwill among the Indian citizens the way her predecessor did.
I can say, without a doubt, that she is and will be the worst president in Indian history. I’m not hating on her because of everyone else. I’m hating on her because of her.
Alright dude. What’s your point?
Well I don’t have a point.
Now it’s time again for another President. There were a number of candidates names being proposed : Sangma (the first tribal President) to Somnath Chatterjee (ex-Parliament speaker) to Meira Kumar (the first woman Speaker of Parliament) to Pranab Mukherjee to Abdul Kalam.
Today, it’s more than clear that Mr.Mukherjee will become President. Why? Because today Abdul Kalam announced he was quitting the Presidential race because his conscience doesn’t permit him to continue. As usual, the Congress, which had opposed his candidature anyway – they did it in 2002, in 2007 and again in 2012 – are secretly gleeful about this whole thing. So no surprises there. But why? Why didn’t India’s ruling party not see it fit to nominate a person who is loved by all?
Any politician who is atleast kind of in tune with people will know one of two things :
1) Most people don’t give a shit about who the President is, was or will be.
2) Those who do care want Abdul Kalam as the President because he’s awesome.
This means that either politicians are really out of touch with what people want (which is somewhat scary), or they don’t care (which is terrifying) or they can’t be bothered to care (which is downright annoying).
In an ideal Indian society, Abdul Kalam would have become President again unopposed because goodwill man. People love him. What could possibly be anyone’s glitch with that dude? But Indian society is not ideal. It’s nowhere close to ideal. The politicians don’t care what the people want.
And that’s bugging me. It’s really, really irritating me that a post that was supposed to be the highest and the most respected post in the Indian government has come down and gotten mixed up in all sorts of cheap yucky politics.
Just one example of the cheap, dirty, dirty, dirty, dirty politics : Consider Mulayam Singh. He made a complete fool out of Mayawati, by supporting her and her candidate (Abdul Kalam) one day and dumping her (for Pranab Mukherjee) the next. He has absolutely no ethics and is exactly the sort of Indian politician who must be banned. It’s disgusting.
Screw that, dude. No one cares.
Pranab Mukherjee is an active member of the Cabinet and the Congress. Since when is it ok to have an active party-person as the President?
It’s actually good that Mukherjee is becoming President. He’s the one good capable leader in the Congress who’s capable of thinking for himself. The rest are all sycophants. Once he’s put into a powerless situation, it paves the way for Rahul Gandhi to become PM in 2014. And he will because, unfortunately, the UPA will win. And the UPA will win because the NDA is too busy fighting amongst itself to have any hope of opposing the UPA.
So this is a pretty smart move by Sonia Gandhi. It’s several birds in one stone – yet another Gandhi as the PM in the future, his only competition as President, the President unprosecutable because he’s President, and the President sitting on so much valuable information of corruption in India. Not only that, but the President (if he’s an active UPA person) can also completely dissolve any State Government and send them packing.
I think there’s a great likelihood of that happening in AP, where Jaganmohan Reddy is posing some serious problems to the Congress. Then they create Telangana and win votes and..you get it.
No, I don’t get it. Are you going to stop your rant now?
All that I said won’t happen if the President is a person with a nanometer of honor in him or if he is independent. Chatterjee and Kalam posed a risk to the UPA here, and so they removed them from the race.
It’s unbelievable because this is pretty much the exact opposite of what our founding fathers had in mind when they wrote the Constitution. The entire Presidential race has been degenerated into a completely annoying political-mathematical spectacle by literally every single politician in India.
It’s a shame.
Are you done now?
Are you absolutely sure?