கலாம் மீண்டும் வரலாம்!

பேராசிரியர், டாக்டர் அப்துல் கலாம். சகக் கல்வியாளர், விஞ்ஞானி, ஏழைப் பங்காளன், தமிழ் ஆர்வலர். இரண்டு முறை நேரில் பார்த்து நீண்ட நேரம் பேசிய அனுபவமுண்டு. சமீபத்தில் கொரியா வந்திருந்தபோது நான் ஒரு மாணவர் மூலமாக அனுப்பிய கடிதத்தை யார் அனுப்பியது என்பதைப் புரிந்து கொண்டு வாங்கிக் கொண்டார். இக்கட்டுரையில் சொல்லப்பட்டிருப்பவை அனைத்தும் உண்மை. அவரைப் பற்றிய மிகத்தெளிவான கட்டுரை இது. அவரை மீண்டும் இந்தியாவின் உயர்ந்த பதவில் வைப்பதன் மூலம் இந்தியா தன்னைப் பெருமைப் படுத்திக் கொள்ளும்.

கண்ணன்


Ooh, aah, Kalam... aye, aye, Kalam - Sachidananda Murthy

Three out of four Indians root for a second term for the President, in THE WEEK/C-Voter all-India survey

There shall be a President of India.
Article 52 of the Constitution of India



At seven words, it is the shortest Article of the Constitution. The President is elected by less than 7,000 voters (Members of Parliament and state legislators). But already more than 70,000 emails have hit the President's Web site telling the 11th President of India A.P.J. Abdul Kalam that he should not say no to a second term. More emails have gone to the Web sites of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi, urging them to nominate Kalam for another five-year term on Raisina Hill. As the election-to be held in June next year-approaches, the pressure would build up favouring Kalam.

Not just ordinary citizens, but eminent lawyers, administrators, scientists, young politicians, academicians and industrialists are rooting for the President who speaks the language of progress, positivity and positive secularism and dreams constantly of a "happy and safe India". Never before has there been such outpouring of public support for a President.

There have been scholars as Presi-dents before, but Kalam is the active President, who has touched the hearts of a large number of people. He has communicated on national issues with as much emphasis as he has on local issues. He has spoken about turning around some of the worst administered states in the Union.
An opinion poll by THE WEEK showed that three out of four Indians favoured continuation of Kalam as President. Compared to his predecessors, he emerged the most popular. He had three times bigger lead than his nearest rival and Vice-President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat. If there is a direct election, he would be streets ahead of not only the political alternatives but even other icons like Sachin Tendulkar and Amitabh Bachchan. Interestingly, former Prime Minister Vajpayee, whose Bharatiya Janata Party reluctantly nominated Kalam for presidency, came second. Kalam is seen as the right man for the right job by an overwhelming majority.

The political class is yet to decide on a second term for Kalam (see accompanying story). Only Rajendra Prasad, the first President of the Union, was given a second term and that too after opposition from the charismatic Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. The political equation is such that no single party can push its nominee as the Congress could do in the case of eight Presidents.

What has made Kalam tick? His reply to a group of American and European scientists last month gives the clue. When asked what was India's core competence, he said: "Finding the leadership to handle a billion democratic citizens with a multireligious, multicultural and multilingual mix." He and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh are shining examples of this 'core competence'.

Kalam's core competence is evident on several fronts. First is the tremendous rapport he has built with both the haves and the have-nots of society. Kalam has reached out to the poorest of the poor even as he goads the rich and the fast-expanding middle class to take care of public interest. From orphanages to Rotary Clubs to chambers of commerce, there is a great demand to deliver his message. Kalam invites police constables, disabled persons, panchayat presidents and award-winning postmen to rub shoulders with the high and mighty of the country at the Mughal Garden receptions hosted by the President on Independence and Republic Days. His passion is for inclusiveness and not excluding anyone. Thus, when Delhi was rocked by the reservation agitation, Kalam found time to meet both the pro- and anti-reservation groups and counselled synthesis. He is a natural role model.
Second is the tremendous number of initiatives he has unleashed-setting up the Africa Satellite to provide distant education to 50 African countries; PURA (Providing Urban facilities to Rural Areas), which is now incorporated in the Rs 1,75,000 crore Bharat Nirman programme of the United Progressive Alliance government; emphasis on new frontiers of research like nanotechnology; providing mission models for development of 12 states through special address to the state Assemblies, which can be implemented in a bipartisan manner; and the prodding of the government to improve educational facilities to make India a Knowledge Superpower.
Third, he has avoided the extremes of Presidential activism on one hand and rubber stamp meekness on the other. He has not rocked the boat of governance by any acts of peevishness or pettiness. Being a scientist and then a bureaucrat, he knows the processes of governance thoroughly.

His finest hour came when he refused to sign the Office of Profit Amendment Bill because he thought it was patently unfair and against the spirit of the Constitution. Yet, he relented when Parliament agreed to set up a joint committee to examine his suggestions. Parliament knows that he does not delay decisions, but takes his decisions carefully.

Like his predecessors Rajendra Prasad, S. Radhakrishnan, R. Venkataraman and K.R. Narayanan, Kalam, too, takes the constitutional role of aiding and advising the government seriously. On at least three occasions he sought clarification on recommendations made by the Supreme Court for appointment of Chief Justices of High Courts and ensured that the Collegium of Judges which appoints judges of High Courts and the Supreme Court realise that the President was extremely watchful. And he has maintained cordial relations with the three organs of state-parliament, executive and judiciary.

The only time he turns a deaf ear is when a visitor tries to gossip. Yet he rarely displays bad temper and adjusts to the pomp of the Rashtrapati Bhavan with ease.
Fourth is the tremendous rapport he has built with the armed forces as the supreme commander-by flying to the Siachen glacier, flying in a Sukhoi bomber and going undersea in a submarine. His long stint with the Defence Research and Development Organisation and the defence ministry helped, but it was a bond which helped nudge the government to remember the soldier and the scientist.

Kalam's rectitude and accountability are now legendary. In Rashtrapati Bhavan, some officials gaped when Kalam said a coach full of his relatives would be coming from Rameshwaram. He said he would be paying for their accommodation, transport and food. Not a single official car went to the railway station; instead there were two hired buses. As the relatives left after visiting Delhi, Agra, Jaipur and Ajmer, Kalam issued a cheque for over Rs 3 lakh to pay their bills. During major festivals like Ramzan and Deepavali, orphanages and homes for the elderly will get gifts of clothing and provisions from Rashtrapati Bhavan. Part of the donation would be from the salary of the bachelor president, whose purse has many charitable demands.
His motto is 'nothing is unimportant'. When a schoolgirl from a small town in Uttar Pradesh complained the see-saw was not functioning in a public playground, prompt went a letter to the district collector.

He tries to meet as many people as possible during his 15-hour working day. The inexhaustible energy tires the younger members of the President's staff, but his bubbly sense of humour keeps them on their feet.

Amid his hectic schedule (137 tours in 242 days in a little over four and a half years, involving more than 1,500 hours of flying by aeroplane and helicopter), Kalam has time for the finer sensibilities of life. He finds time for listening to music, and this year has resumed learning veena. The Indra Dhanush initiative has seen 24 top performers come to Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Gardening is another hobby. After setting up a herbal garden, he has now commissioned a tactile garden, where the visitors, especially the blind, can feel and smell plants.

As the groundswell builds up for Kalam, the man himself has not indicated what is on his mind. He would go by what his conscience tells him. Once he had said he would love to go back to teaching after his work as President is over. And if he is not elected President, in all probability he would be taking a class at Chennai's Anna University on July 26, 2007, a day after laying down his office. But that is what his countless admirers don't want him to do. They feel he is needed as the President for another term. He is the choice of the people.

நன்றி: The Week

3 பின்னூட்டங்கள்:

துளசி கோபால் 11/27/2006 10:21:00 AM

'மீண்டும் வரலாம்'ன்னு இல்லை. மீண்டும் 'வரணும்'.

அதுதான் பெரும்பாலோர் விருப்பம்.

நா.கண்ணன் 11/27/2006 10:27:00 AM

ஹி..ஹி..இதுக்குத்தான் உங்களை டீச்சர், டீச்சர்ன்னு பசங்க சொல்லறாங்களா!

"கலாம்-வரலாம்" அப்படின்னு ஒரு ரைம்மா போட்டேன். அவர் என்ன சொல்லப் போறார்ன்னு தெரியலையே! அதனால அது இன்னும் ஒரு possibility-தான். எனவே வரலாம்.

தங்கமான மனுஷர் துளசி. நான் காந்தியைப் பார்த்ததில்லை. இவரைப் பார்த்த போது அந்த உணர்வு வந்தது. பெரிய மனிதர்.

kannabiran, RAVI SHANKAR (KRS) 11/27/2006 11:00:00 AM

எங்க அண்ணா பல்கலையில் எங்களுக்கு சீனியர்; எங்கள் கலாம்!
நாட்டின் சில பொக்கிஷங்களில் ஒன்று!
விஞ்ஞானி மற்றும் மெய்ஞானியும் கூட!

IF NOT YOU, WHO CAN!
We need Kalam - Part 2!