[MJR] Who will guard the Republic?

23 Apr,2012

By Ranjona Banerji


The last week has been singularly dull as far as the news is concerned. No one jumped up and dominated the headlines as normal life (disaster, death, chaos, catastrophe, cricket, celebrities) continued on its normal course. But one question has been burning up the cyber waves and some print and hot air space: who will be the next President of India?


Since many who live in neo-India believe that we already have and definitely should have an American-style presidential system (this justifying the large quantities of hamburgers and cupcakes which their progeny consume), the person who will assume this titular post is very important. The biggest problem for the President of India, as far as I can see, is whether they can stand for hours, saluting, during the Republic Day parade.


But for neo-India, it is somebody who can represent India abroad and presumably, likes hamburgers and cupcakes. Even veggie hamburgers will do.


The current incumbent, Pratibha Patil, has upset everyone in the ongoing battle of the Patils. The fact that she is building a house on army land has deeply upset a retired Lt Col, Suresh Patil. The fact that some rules were tweaked to build a very large house has got our hot air experts, our cyber warriors and large brigades of the generally self-righteous exceedingly upset. Anyway, she goes away in July.


So then what?


Some want the schoolchild-obsessed APJ Abdul Kalam to come back since he was popular though why we need a popular president beats me. Others think it is time Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee was helped up the stairs to a ceremonious post. Still others think it should be Prime Minister Manmohan Singh who gets the privilege. Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar’s name is up there in the mix. Former Lok Sabha Speaker PA Sangma (he was a popular speaker, now!) was suggested but party boss Sharad Pawar has shot that one down.


The most unimpeachable candidate seems to be the venerable Dr Karan Singh, but he may well be too erudite and well-spoken for neo-India to appreciate.

The twitterati, as puerile as they are pliable, think that porn star Sunny Leone is a good choice.

I leave you to chew over these choices, none of which we will make.

You have until July.


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