Posts Tagged ‘Pratibha Patil’

‘3 Idiots’? What about the other 100 cr, maamu?

8 January 2010

E.R. RAMACHANDRAN writes: Ajji was reading Vijaya Karnataka.

Suddenly, she flung the paper in disgust.

Her face, a seething crimson, resembled  a cross between Vidhu Vinod Chopra at the press meet over Mooru Mutthaaalaru aka 3 Idiots, and Kumara Sangakkara at the Ferozshah Kotla grounds after being hit above you know what by a round missile.

“What’s the matter? The New Year has just started. More or less everybody has resolved to be good and nice in 2010. You have already broken your resolution in 10 days!” I asked.

Yeno anyaya idu! The price of thogari bele (tur dal) is Rs 105 a kilo. ‘Super’ togari bele, the one without rubbish, is at Rs 109 a kilo. And nobody, just nobody, neither the ‘polticiansu’ nor the TV and paper peopleusu are raising hell over this. What is the matter with our country?” Ajji demanded to know.

She was as distraught as Angelo Mathews walking back to the pavilion after getting run out at 99.

Ajji! In spite of the recession all over the world, our economist-turned-prime minister is happy our GDP has grown at 7% in the year gone by. Next year he feels we will bounce back to our regular 9% growth rate. That is what our President Pratibha Patil also said sometime back.”

“Some years back, Vajpayee government almost got thrown out because they couldn’t control the price of onions. Earlier, whenever the price of rice or wheat went up, Mrinal Gore would descend on the streets of Bombay and bang the thali as a mark of protest. The admiring public called her ‘Thaliwali’ because she fought for them. What would our Rashtrapatiji know about the thogari bele or its price? She doesn’t buy these things and cook any more as she is busy flying Sukhois and cruising in Navy fleets.”

Ajji! She is showing what a woman of her age can do.”

“I salute her. But who is raising a voice against price rise? ‘Polticiansu’ are busy with Telangana fasts. Where is the BJP these days? I haven’t seen them for ages except when they fight among themselves which is promptly shown on TV. Are there Leftists left in our country any more or have they all fled to China? As far as TV is concerned, all of them without exception are busy with Ruchika’s molestation as if it happened yesterday! Sure, you must catch and punish the guilty, but that is not going to happen because you show it over and over again after 19 years! Allow courts to do their job.”

“The TV networks are just making sure the issue remains in the public eye.”

“I am all for catching and punishing the guilty kano. But tell me, who is going to protect us from chain-snatchers and terrorists etc?’ Ajji suddenly changed the topic.

“As if you don’t know that? It’s the police!”

“I too thought like that! But aren’t they busy attending New Year parties thrown by underworld netas!  Police are dancing to the tunes of bhai log! What is happening, Rama Rama? Beli-ne yeddu hola maithya-idiyallo!!”

Ajji! That  happened in Bombay. We don’t have to worry about it.”

“Why not? Wasn’t Bombay the place the terrorists bombed the hotels, shot people in the railway station and the pub just a year back? If the police are doing tango with the ‘bhais’ some of whom are friends with terrorists, what is our national security coming to? No wonder, nobody saw Headley come in and go all over the country, attend Bollywood parties while planning the Bombay siege. You know what that means..?”


Namma deshana Shivane kapadbeku antha ankondidde. Eega anisutthe, avangu swalpa  kashtaane!! Even God can’t save us at this rate.”

A nice picture for Sharad Yadav’s personal album

5 June 2009

Defeat does different things to different people, but the use of death as a metaphor is revealing of a retrograde mindset unwilling to concede, comprehend or come to terms.

# In 2006, after the NDA had been surprised by the UPA, the BJP leader Sushma Swaraj vowed not to wear coloured clothes, threatened to shave her head, sleep on the ground and eat groundnuts (while also presumably wiping off her extra-large bindi, breaking her bangles and removing her mangal sutra) if the Italian-born Sonia Gandhi became prime minister.

Thankfully, an “inner voice” spared us the gruesome sight, but somehow the election of Ms Gandhi as the chairperson  of the ruling UPA, didn’t prompt Ms Swaraj, the newly elected deputy leader of the BJP in the Lok Sabha, from wanting to carry out her threat even partially.

But the more things change, the less politicians learn.

India has elected its first woman President, Pratibha Patil. India has elected its first woman speaker of the Lok Sabha, Meira Kumar. And the highest number of women (59) have been elected to this, the 15th Lok Sabha, in post-independent India.

# Yet, Janata Dal (United) president Sharad Yadav has threatened to commit suicide by consuming poison if the women’s reservation is passed in its current form. “We may not have the numbers but I will consume poison and die here but not allow the passage of the Women’s Reservation Bill.”

Mr Yadav is the convenor of the BJP-led National Demcoratic Alliance (NDA), or what remains of it as of now, and he is of course entitled to his opinion.

Obviously, the caveat “in its current form” has a built-in escape clause, but if the BJP or the NDA or both plan to do some chintak on why only 18.8 people out of 100 in an 80 per cent Hindu nation do not trust them to hand them the reins of the nation, maybe they should start by wondering why they are so unappealing to one-half of the population?

Photograph: courtesy

Also read: One question I’m dying to ask Sushma Swaraj

CHURUMURI POLL: Single largest party in 2009?

8 May 2009

It now appears certain that neither the BJP nor the Congress, nor certainly the Third Front or the Fourth Front, is likely to bag 273 seats on its own to form the next government at the Centre. In other words, a single-party government is looks well nigh impossible, regardless of the claims of the various parties.

In such a scenario, the role of the President becomes important. Thanks to the precedent set by K.R. Narayanan in 1998 and 1999, followed by A.P.J. Abdul Kalam in 2004, Pratibha Patil is now duty-bound to invite the leader of the largest single party, and then seek letters of support from the other parties supporting it.

Which party do you think will have the largest number of seats in the next 16th Lok Sabha? Will Pratibha Patil follow the tradition set by her predecessors, or will she opt for an alliance on the ground that such a group would be able to pass a floor test?

Also read: CHURUMURI POLL: Who will win 2009 elections?

Subhash C. Kashyap on options before Pratibha Patil

Pratibha does homework for post-poll test

To: The President of India. From: A Maratha

18 March 2009

E.R. RAMACHANDRAN in Vontikoppal accidentally receives a letter addressed to a resident of Raisina Hill in New Delhi.


Dear Madam Rashtrapatiji:

From one Maharashtrian to another on the eve of Gudi Padwa, ‘Til gud ghya, goad goad bola!’.

Whether you wanted to become the President of our country or not, it is a matter of great pride and satisfaction for all of us in Maharashtra that you now have the honouring of walking in the Rose Gardens.

As madam would no doubt have noticed, there is now a general clamour amongst Maharashtrians that one of their own should become the next Prime Minsiter.

There are a number of Maharashtrians who could have become Prime Ministers, most notably my friend–cum- enemy Balasaheb Thackeray. He was a better cartoonist than a politician and there are many who felt he would have converted India to a larger caricature of Maharashtra if the PM’s post had ever falen in his lap.

S.K. Patil, Vasanthdada Patil, Y.B. Chavan and Shankar Rao Chavan, who was a non-home minister during the Emergency days, were all titans and of Prime Minister mint material, but were all reduced to pigmies by the so-called goongi gudiya who later emerged as the Prime Minister, thanks to the initial support from her father.

Amongst the present leaders, Vilas Rao Deshmukh, R.R Patil and Narayan Rane, who are all my chelas, had a chance to become Prime Minister one day. Vilas Rao  spoilt his chance for good due to his ‘Terror Tourism’ with Ramgopal Varma; R.R. Patil due to his statement, ‘Terrorists had 5,000 in mind and we managed to keep it to less than 200.’ As for Rane, even he is not sure what he is going to do next.

That leaves only me.

People from Baramati are also keen to have somebody from there as the country’s next Prime Minister. At the risk of being called immodest, I would like to say they are looking at me as their next Prime Minister.

I feel, the two of us from the same State can have a long partnership and can build a long innings for the progress of the country. If you remember, in an earlier era, another Indian from Sabarmathi led India from foreign domination to freedom.

Thanks to cricket and the Union agriculture Ministry, I have tried to serve the country to the best of my ability. People have accused me of being partial to cricket. I agree I am guilty of that; that is why cricket is doing better than agriculture.

If I am forced to become a Prime Minster, if I am really pushed in to that position, I will encourage all sports right through the year. I will make sure each of my cabinet ministers hold two key portfolios. Thus a finance minister can also be the President of all India football federation; home minster will look after hockey and so on.

This is the only way we can become world beaters in sports like, say, kabaddi if it is handled by the khadi board chairman.

As to why I am addressing this letter to you is, in the event of a tie in the election with no party gaining a majority, which is a probability, and a hotch-potch of parties making claims to from a government, which is an even bigger  possibility, many names will be floated around for the post of the Prime Minister.Then the President takes the decision of inviting a leader of Third or Fourth Front to form the Government.

I request you to keep in the back of the mind the wishes of Maharashtra people to have a Maharashtrian at the helm of affairs of the country.

Yours most respectfully

Sharadrao Pawar

The left hand knows what the left hand is taking

31 January 2009

KPN photo

On the eve of the commencement of his birth centenary celebrations, Sri Shivakumara Swamiji shakes hand with a simian resident at the Siddaganga Mutt in Tumkur on Saturday, even as the party of the second part wangles a plantain in the process. The seer’s 102nd birthday celebrations will be inaugurated by the President of India, Pratibha Patil, on Monday.

Photograph: Karnataka Photo News

Is this the end of racism? Or is this racism 2.0?

7 November 2008

VINUTHA MALLYA writes: Amidst the victory cheers, liberal Americans are shining proud to the rest of the world. Finally, America is walking the democracy talk.

The president-elect symbolises a shift in American politics. Even John McCain has asked all Americans to be proud of their citizenship for electing the first black president.

A Japanese city has thrown a party because it is the president-elect’s namesake. ‘Obama for Obama’ they screamed and celebrated. Kenya declared a national holiday because Barack Obama’s father was Kenyan. The ‘native son’ has put Kenya on a whole new map.

If the status lines of my fellow Indians on Facebook™ and instant messenger programs are anything to go by, a Martian would easily mistake Obama to have been elected India’s president! Pratibha Patil, India’s first woman president, had not received such adulation from the H1-in-waiting urban Indian.

Apparently, when America goes to polls, the constituents are not Americans alone, but most of the rest of the world too!

It should not be long before someone campaigns for non-American citizens to be given the right to vote.

Despite the unquestioned acceptance that the president of the US of A is the leader of the ‘free world’, this victory of the ‘under-dog’ has given a cause for hope to Americans and non-Americans alike.

However, is Obama’s victory a testimony to the beginning of the end of racism?

Or is it merely a display of another facet of it?

What makes a half-white man black? Is it his looks (lean, angular contours, but not pale-white enough) or his middle name (Hussein, not a white name by any measure) which makes him more black than white?  Add a Kenyan father and a few years of living in Indonesia to the mix, and all the whiteness is stripped off!

For a man whose mother was white, who didn’t have much to do with his black father, who grew up mostly in the care of his white grandparents, and who had an Ivy-league education, wasn’t the ‘black’ platform his best bet to contest the election?

In distancing himself from his white heritage, and holding on to his black identity, Obama, and indeed America, has sent another message to the world.

Looking at the glass from the half-empty end one can see that a half-white is never a white, but a half-black is only black.  It will be a few more decades before we will ever know if the US of A could truly pass the test of democracy and elect the blackest of black men to be president, and not because he was black, but despite it.

Racism is still alive and kicking in the most powerful democracy in the world, and will continue to be, until it stops mattering whether Obama or his successors are black or white. Michael Jackson’s hope for a miracle might just come true then.

Illustration: courtesy Gabi Campanario/ The Seattle Sketcher

Is the Kargil victory something to be ashamed of?

29 July 2008

At a little past 11.30 pm last Saturday, an SMS came from Sudheendra Murali, a friend in Bangalore: “Kargil Forgotten.” To a South Indian with not a single member of the family in the fauj, and therefore without that emotional connect with matters military, the message made little sense.

Truth to tell, with one beer too many at a restaurant called ‘It’s Greek to me’, the message seemed all too Latin.

A Google search the next morning cleared the haze in 0.13 seconds. The day gone by, July 26, was the ninth anniversary of the Kargil triumph—the day ceasefire was declared in the war against Pakistan in 1999; a day since then observed as ‘Kargil Vijay Divas‘.

What my IT friend was saying was that in between Blasts A and Blasts B—while we were selfishly, shamelessly, secretly wondering when and where a bicycle might knock us dead—an ungrateful nation had forgotten to salute a famous victory against Pakistan.

A victory in achieving which 562 soldiers had bravely, selflessly, unquestioningly laid down their lives for their country and countrymen, i.e. us, in the cold heights of Kargil.

Even for a “leftover liberal” with scarcely any militaristic sentiments, it seemed too obvious an event for the political class to miss, especially given the rap they had received for their disgraceful sendoff to Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw in June.

But the Sunday papers provided little proof that old habits die hard.

For starters, there was not a sentence about ‘Vijay Divas‘ in 78 pages of the world’s largest selling English daily. Not a word in its competitor with historic links with the Congress. Not a word in the house journal of the BJP. Not a word in the emerging (unofficial) mouthpiece of the CPI(M).

What little notice the Delhi media took, it took through the lens of its photographers.

The Asian Age had a single-column picture of BJP president Rajnath Singh offering a floral tribute to the martyrs at the party headquarters. The Indian Express carried a five-column picture of a solder in front of the flame at India Gate in its Delhi Newsline supplement. And The Hindu had a 3-column picture of the army chief, the navy chief, and the vice chief of the air staff paying homage.

Only The Sunday Tribune, had anything by way of text accompanying a six-column picture (above) of a Network18 cameraman filming naval officers lined up to pay tribute to the martyrs at India Gate, along with an accompanying story form Dehradun.

From a media point of view, the poor coverage was understandable, indeed even justifiable.

There was nothing newsy, nothing sexy about the anniversary, which had been overshadowed anyway by a dastardly attack that killed so many in two big cities. Television and newspapers cannot keep filling their time and space with something so maudlin, can they?


But if, after 11 years, they can still squeeze their lachrymal glands enough on June 13 every year for the 59 who perished in the “Uphaar Fire Tragedy” in 1997, how difficult is to remember the 562 who died for cause and country In 1999?

But our crib is not with the media, it’s with our netas. 

Where were our “leaders”, the people who, by the nomenclature thrust on them, are destined to lead us, to show us the way, on Saturday, July 26?

Where was the President and the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, Pratibha Patil? Where was the Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh? Where was the defence minister, A.K. Antony? Where was the chief minister of Delhi, Sheila Dixit?

Yes, there was a celebration in the BJP office with Rajnath Singh in attendance, but was there any commensurate celebration in the Congress office? Was Congress president Sonia Gandhi present? Was there any celebration in the CPI or CPI(M) headquarters? Were Prakash Karat and A.B. Bardhan there?

And so on.

If the leaders and their parties did observe Vijay Divas, their media minders have done a splendid job of hiding it from public view. If they didn’t, the nation is entitled to ask why: Has the Kargil victory become something to be ashamed of for most of our political parties?

The Ahmedabad blasts cannot be offered as an excuse because they happened long after sunset on Saturday. The Bangalore blasts cannot be offered as an excuse because it killed but one (or two). Even so, since when did “national pride” fall victim to “national mourning”?

Or, has the Kargil victory, like so much else, fallen prey to petty, partisan politics?

Those who cover the defence beat say the Kargil victory is now viewed as “an NDA/BJP victory” with which the UPA/Congress wants to have no part. “The Congress has its 1971, the BJP has its 1999,” says one award-winning reporter.

(That the Congress which does not want to remember 1999 could not even remember the hero of the 1971 victory properly tells its own story.)

But if true, how pathetic as a people can we be getting, that we view the triumph of the nation, the sacrifice of our soldiers, not through a wide, collective prism, but through a narrow, constricted aperture of the government of the day?

Certainly, critics, sceptics and cynics in the military, media and polity have plenty of questions over how the Kargil victory was achieved: The intelligence and strategic failures, the antiquated techniques in capturing Tiger Hill (the site of most of the casualties), etc.

Plus, there is the coffin scam over which the Congress walked out of the House each time then defence minister George Fernandes got up to speak.

Much as those questions may be important and need to be answered, how do they take the gloss away from a great victory? And how do they make a meaningful observance meaningless?

What kind of signal is such peevishness sending to the jawan in the field, and to potential recruits? What kind of impact does it have on their morale and motivation to be reminded that they are not fighting for the nation at large but for the coalition in power?

Is this something over which our parties should try to score silly points?

Is this how we show how much we value the armed forces?

This is not to suggest that the President and Prime Minister and Defence Minister and Congress president must drop everything and break out into a bhangra every July 26 for the benefit of the television cameras. But what do they lose by gracefully acknowledging Kargil’s place in our contemporary history?

Especially at a time when insurgency, homegrown terrorism and cross-border terrorism are on the up?

# At the first anniversary of the victory, the then President K.R. Narayanan, vice-president Krishan Kant, prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, defence minister Fernandes, and the three chiefs of staff were all present.

# At the second anniversary, in 2001, the vice president, Prime Minister, defence minister, minister of state, service chiefs and defence secretary were slated to pay homage at Amar Jawan Jyoti.

The gracelessness and tactlessness are obvious. What is not so obvious is the window something like this offers on our hopelessly polarised politics—and the manner in which the liberal-left is ceding ground to the right by turning patriotism and the national interest into the sole proprietorship of the BJP.

If TV channels can realise the benefits that can accrue to their TRPs by carting cinema and cricket stars for the benefit of the jawans, how difficult is it for our political parties and politicians to realise the jump their TRPs might see if they are seen and heard making a rousing speech or gesture?

Parties and politicians are divided the world over, and our country is no different. But does only the party which was in power in 1945 Britain celebrate V-E Day? Does the Labour Party boycott it because Winston Churchill was in charge?

Hopefully, this August 15, the BJP won’t return the favour and boycott Independence Day, just because that victory was achieved by the Indian National Congress.

This piece also appears on

Photograph: courtesy The Sunday Tribune/ Chandigarh

If you have to die, can you please do so in Delhi?

28 June 2008

The passing away of the only Indian to be appointed Field Marshal when in active service has been remarkable for the warmth of the ordinary men and women who queued up to say meebeenamet to the adorable dikra who put his life on the line for them.

It has also been remarkable for the complete lack of grace and gratitude, civility and courtesy, decency and decorum on the part of the bold-faced names rapaciously grazing the lawns of power in Delhi and elsewhere, for the brain behind India’s only decisive military victory.

Sam, the Bahadur, had been unwell for a while now. From about 1000 hours on June 26, reports of his being “critically ill” had appeared in the media. Yet, when the “expected tocsin” sounded at 0030 hours till the guns were fired in salute around 1500 hours on June 27, “civil society” chose to show its uncivility.

Pratibha Patil, the commander-in-chief of the armed forces with all the time in the world: Absent

Hamid Ansari: Vice-president releasing books and writing reviews of books by fellow-travellers: Absent

Manmohan Singh, the prime minister who could do with a bit of the field marshal’s charisma and heroism: Absent

Sonia Gandhi: daughter-in-law of the woman the field marshal called “sweetie”: Absent

L.K. Advani: prime minister in waiting of the party which would like to do to Pakistan what Manekshaw did: Absent

M. Karunanidhi and Surjit Singh Barnala: chief minister and governor of the state which Manekshaw had made his home for 35 years: Absent

Politicians may have their reasons. They always do. Maybe, there are issues like protocol. Maybe, this is one way in which “civil India” shows the armed forces its place. Maybe, this is why we are not as militaristic as Pakistan. Maybe, the knees are just too old to climb the hills.

But what about the armed forces itself?

A.K. Antony: the defence minister “now behaving like the chairman of the confederation of the armed forces’ trade unions“: absent “due to prior political engagements”

The chief of army staff: absent (away in Russia)

The chief of navy staff: absent

The chief of air staff: absent

The fact that the defence minister was represented by his deputy Pallam Raju, the fact that the navy and air staff sent two-star general rank officers, shows that however high or mighty, however rich or powerful, civilian or military, if you should die as you must, you should do so somewhere in the victinity of New Delhi—or Bombay. Or else, they must have some use for you.

Or else, too bad.

As he rightly surmised once: “I wonder whether those of our political masters who have been put in charge of the defence of the country can distinguish a mortar from a motor; a gun from a howitzer; a guerrilla from a gorilla — although a great many of them in the past have resembled the latter.”

The contrast couldn’t be starker:

# When Amitabh Bachchan was ill after being socked in the stomach during the shooting of Coolie, Indira Gandhi flew down to Bombay to show her concern.

# When Dhirubhai Ambani died, L.K. Advani cut short his Gujarat tour to pay his respects to an “embodiment of initiative, enterprise and determination”.

# When Pramod Mahajan was shot dead by his brother, vice-president Bhairon Singh Shekawat had the time to attend the funeral.

Our VIPs and VVIPs have time for dead and dying celebrities, crooks, charlatans, fixers. Not for a field marshal?


In his biography of K.M. Cariappa, the only other field marshal India has had (and who too died at age 94), air marshal K.C. Cariappa writes of his father’s cremation in May 1993:

“Honouring him in death as they did in life were Field Marshal Manekshaw, the three service chiefs all of whom belonged to the same course and at whose passing out parade from the joint services wing father had presided, the gracious chief minister M. Veerappa Moily and C.K. Jaffer Sharief, Minister for Railways representing the President as the supreme commander of the armed forces.”

Somebody should have told the geniuses in Delhi that Sam, the Bahadur, passed away in Wellington, Ooty, not Wellington, New Zealand. The nearest civil airport is Coimbatore, just 80 km away.

If this is how we say goodbye to our only Field Marshal, any wonder why Rang de Basanti could successfully tap into the angst of an entire generation?

In picture: (left to right) Admiral L. Ramdas, General S.F. Rodrigues, and Air Chief Marshal N.C. Suri in their final farewell, 43 years later, to the reviewing officer who took the salute at their passing out parade in December 1950 (From the book Field Marshal K.M. Cariappa, by Air Marshal K.C. Cariappa, published by Niyogi books).

This piece also appeared on

Also read: 93 seconds to knock 93 years of a hero’s life

Sam Manekshaw: hero or villain?

Umbrellas, shoes, our democracy—and theirs

5 February 2008


Fifty-eight years and six days after India became a Republic, her first-ever woman President Pratibha Patil visited Hampi, a UNESCO world heritage site that showcases the vicissitudes of the Vijayanagar empire. Accompanied by her husband, Devisingh Shekawat, Patil visited five monuments during a three-hour trip, listened to the musical notes emanating from the stone pillars of the Vijaya Vittala Temple, and wrote in the visitors’ book:

“Excellent man-made creation, which is still lively. It tells about the history, architectural beauty, music, belief, faith and continuity of life, where stones speak, spread music and give inspiration to future generations.”

That’s a mouthful to scribble in a few minutes, thank you, but the real object of note during the Rashtrapati’s visit was the Rashtrapati and the Rashtrapati’s pati. And a couple of scenes should have caught any discerning eye, besides of course the fact that the site was closed to visitors for almost three days, and 30 monkeys were nabbed to enable the first lady and gent get a hassle-free, unhindered view.

Scene 1 (above, left): Fawning officials carrying the umbrella for the lady. Yes, the President is the supreme commander. Yes, that’s one of the perks of being the President. But is an umbrella so heavy for a 74-year-old lady to carry it herself, when the commander-in-chief of the most powerful country in the solar system can carry it himself? In a democracy, and a Republic at that, can a President be a master with a retinue of servants at her disposal?

Scene 2: Television pictures of attendants helping the Rashtrapati and the Rashtrapati’s pati to put on their footwear after visiting the temples. What could be more demeaning than that? Even if the President has a problem in bending down and putting on her sandals or stilettoes or whatever it is she wears, what specific orthopaedic problem is her husband suffering from that a citizen of this country should help him put on his jhoothe?

These letters to the editor of Deccan Herald shine a lamp on Raisina Hill:

H. N. Ananda, Bangalore: It is shocking to see the picture of attendants helping President Pratibha Patil and her husband to wear their footwear. Do they need help to do this simple job? What sort of democratic spirit is Pratibha conveying through this? Our netas are worse than the royal brigade of yesteryear in shamelessly using the servants for such simple errands. What a contrast to her illustrious predecessors!

R. Krishnan, Bangalore: I would never have imagined that such indignity would be heaped on citizens of independent India where they have to “assist” fellow citizens to wear their footwear. Like the practice of including the maximum number of security guards along with them, the practice of having their footwear assistants accompany them may become another status symbol among our leaders!

Maybe, she’s spent too much time in Rajasthan where the feudal master-servant relationship is deeply ingrained to let go of a bad habit. Maybe, she has the disadvantage of always being compared with A.P.J. Abdul Kalam who used to bounce all over the place. But if Pratibha Patil wants to be seen as a Rashtrapati of the people, rather than as a stooge of 10, Janpath, a good first step would be to put on sandals herself. And politely telling her pati to do likewise.

Photographs: Karnataka Photo News