Abdul Kalam

Friday, September 05, 2003


We are recommencing blog on Abdul Kalam again....

On Teachers Day, " Dr. Kalam stresses the importance of education for Indian Society

The criticality of education to Indian Society can never be underestimated. Illiteracy is the biggest challenge that we need to tackle in India. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said " Let every lamp be lighted". We appeal to every Indian to do their little bit to "make literate" the lesser privileged around you.


Monday, November 25, 2002


Catch one of the best interviews given by an Indian policy maker in a long time: Dr.Yashwant Sinha with Tim Sebastian. It is a classy interview laced with repartees. Here is a sample : Tim: "Why is India not talking to Pakistan?"; Sinha shot back "Is the West talking to Osama bin Laden?" Mr.Sinha also echoed views very similar to Dr.Kalam on the nuclear policy of India. Atleast on the nuclear policy front, there is a single voice emerging out of India.


Sunday, November 17, 2002


What has the President been upto offlate?
* Planting a sapling at the first herbal farm in India!
* Inagurating IT.com at Bangalore
* Children's Day address
* Celebrating Children's Day in his unqiue style
* Address on the Golden Jubliee Celebrations of Handicrafts Resurgence in India


Judicial activism is at its historic peak in India. The Supreme Court had questioned right of Karanataka Govt to continue in the Cauvery Issue; it had asked the State Governments to decide on percentage of seats for minority students in institutions. Supreme Court is clearly taking the executive head on. Mr. President its time for you to take a cue from the Supreme Court. We do not want you to be a mere ceremonial head.


Thursday, November 14, 2002

Tuesday, October 15, 2002


Happy 72nd birthday, Dr. Kalam!


Gosh, the opposition should really find better things to do than argue about the venue of the PM's lunch with the President. Especially given that they'd been doing the same thing.


Thursday, October 03, 2002


What has the President been up to the last month?

  • Felicitating 284 teachers, Narayana Murthy, ISRO and Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma.

  • Visiting Bhopal, Pokhran and Manipur.

  • Condemning lawless violence, the Rajdhani incident, Lone's killing and the Gandhinagar attack.

  • Appointing Chief Justices his secretary.

  • Meeting the opposition, the PM, ISG students, various parties, and of course, lots of children (Bhopal, Delhi).

    These apart, he has been signing some bills, inaugurating of a polio programme, unveiling statues, and writing poetry.

    If you ask me, the only interesting thing that happened to him was someone sending him rifle cartridges. And the only thing he's done by himself is gotten a school constructed. Is this a ceremonial President as well?

  • Monday, September 16, 2002


    The Kashmir Times discusses the powers of our President to implement his vision. Turns out that he can address the Parliament on any issue he feels like. Not surprising, perhaps, but no President has done it so far. It would be good if Dr. Kalam could ignite some passion in the minds of our leaders.


    Two "nuclear heads" to meet. Dr. Kalam will be meeting Leonid Kuchma, President of Ukraine, designer of missiles and satellites.


    Azad, from Akbarpur in Bihar, sent Dr. Kalam two rifle cartridges and a letter. Through the postman. Fortunately, Azad was mentally unstable, and thought it a good idea to send the cartridges to the President. (Hindustan Times)

    Could anyone throw more light on this Azad?


    Thursday, September 12, 2002


    Why does India lick the American feet? Dr.Kalam has always been gunning for true freedom but we have others who want American support for everything


    Wednesday, September 11, 2002


    Interesting account of how Dr. Kalam's visit to MP resulted in a school at Khandwa. It is quite clear from his comments to the press, and his other actions, that children and education are a priority with him.

    I wonder... is there an inside story behind that?


    A summary of Dr. Kalam's 11 weeks of Presidency by The Straits Times. I found two pieces of information interesting: that he conducts classes at Anna University (Madras) through video-conferencing. And that he plans to establish centres with video facilities across the country so that students everywhere can communicate directly with him.


    Tuesday, September 03, 2002


    In response to Dr. Kalam's 3 questions on polls in Gujarat, the Supreme Court decided that it's OK to have elections till December, and will think about the rest of the questions on September 17th.


    Tuesday, August 27, 2002


    In India we have freedom of speech. But we do not have freedom after speech! (Fear of life!) Hence no comments on this


    DialogNow, a collaborative blog about India and Pakistan, has a
    post on the recently returned poll ordinance.


    Sunday, August 25, 2002


    Round 1 goes to the Government - Govt. ignores his queries yet Dr.Kalam signs the ordinance


    Saturday, August 24, 2002


    The Cabinet sends the poll reforms ordinance back to the President, as it is. Now, he is constitutionally forced to sign it.

    The story so far:


    • In 1951, The Representation of the People Act laid out who can stand for elections. It also says if you were convicted for this and that, you can't contest.
    • On May 2nd 2002, the Supreme Court said: "Candidates must reveal if they were arrested (and why), and the state of their finances." Logical, because you need this to figure out whether the candidate can contest or not.
    • On August 16th 2002, the Government discussed and approved an ordinance on poll reforms. They made it clear that even if a person is arrested twice for "heinous crimes", he/she could contest. It's only if the person is convicted that he/she cannot. And that financials would have to be fully disclosed. But, the ordinance went clearly against the SC order (and was intended to nullify it).
    • On August 16th 2002, the National Campaign for Electoral Reforms approached the President and laid out the conflict. The SC says, "thou shalt reveal your convictions and thy spouse/dependents' finances." The Ordinance says, "No matter what the SC or the EC or anyone says, thou need not reveal more than what this Ordinance says." Specifically, the some details on convictions and dependents' finances need not be revealed.
    • On August 23rd 2002, as we know, the President sent the Ordinance back, seeking clarification on the conflict. Now, this was probably only a clarification. But the Cabinet sat, discussed it as if the President returned the Ordinance, and sent it back in the same form.
    • Now, the President has to sign it. The Act will be passed.


    Now, this is a tricky issue. The SC said something. The Lok Sabha said the opposite. Which view should prevail? And what should the President's role be in all this?

    Friday, August 23, 2002


    The Presidential menu at Rashtrapati Bhavan. Thanks, Navneet.


    Dr. Kalam returns the poll reforms ordinance! Looks like Dr.Kalam is not likely to make things any easy for the Central Government


    Wednesday, August 21, 2002


    President Abdul Kalam seems to have garnered more visibility than any of the previous Presidents. He definitely is seeking to redefine the role of the President in Indian Polity. Whether he succeeds remains to be seen


    Tuesday, August 20, 2002


    Sathish found a hoarding for United India Insurance featuring the President.

    Did it happen with the President's consent? If not, is it legal?


    The President has asked 3 questions to the SC:

    1. Can the Election Commission say "no elections" even if it means no Government for more than 6 months?
    2. If yes, should President's rule be imposed in Gujarat?
    3. Or should it just carry on the election as best as it can?

    The Gujarat assembly was dissolved on 19 July. So a new assembly is needed before 19 Jan 2003. I guess that's enough time to figure out what to do, and have the elections.


    I finally figured what the issue at Gujarat is. The EC says "Don't have elections in Gujarat. The place is in a mess." But Article 174 says, "You can't have no Government for more than 6 months." BJP says, "Hey, we want elections, because we'll win." But that's not good enough. So they say, "Article 143 says the President can stop everything and check the Supreme Court what they think, if he thinks necessary.

    I don't know if the President thought it necessary. But he has agreed to check with the Supreme Court.

    It is probably a safe decision. After all, the Supreme Court's decision is binding. But was it necessary? More importantly, whose decision was it, really?


    Satyen Mohapatra writes about Y S Rajan, Dr. Kalam's friend, who accompanied him on his Gujarat visit.

    What I find interesting in the article is that "Kalam’s Hindi is poor." That's interesting. I can relate to that, but I definitely did not expect it.


    Sunday, August 18, 2002


    The election commission ruled out early elections in Gujarat. The State is still in bad shape, and many voters aren't at home.

    BJP was sure of winning, so didn't like the result. Now the matter will be referred to the President and the Supreme Court. The decision will be made on Wednesday. How independent will Dr. Kalam's decision be?


    Saturday, August 17, 2002


    PakNews doesn't like it that Musharraf "shamelessly greets the enemy" on Independence day. Pretty strong. I suppose the Pakistan press would be at least as biased against India as the Indian press is against Pakistan.


    Friday, August 16, 2002


    Atanu critique's Kalam's vision arguing that economic development should come before "freedom". Pradip rebuts.

    My view is that Dr. Kalam talks about freedom in the sense of fundamental rights -- along the lines of Tagore and the American declaration of independence. That all men are created equal, free to pursue their "inalienable rights".

    China traded this freedom for economic development. Somewhat like Sparta in 500BC. India has chosen democracy. Somewhat like Athens. In the war between Sparta and Athens, Sparta won. (In a few centuries, neither kingdom existed.)

    But I'd rather live in a civilisation like Athens. Better culture. Greater equality. And less chance of a civil war.


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