The reasons surrounding the decision of Dr Abdul Kalam to opt out of the presidential elections say it all – that the country does not want nor accept the best and the eligible ones. The so-called social justice that is keeping away the best and the eligible ones from education and jobs is at work as Political Justice also - in matters pertaining to the self interests of the politicians. They do not want the best and straight forward persons to deal with. They can get along only with those people who know the language of 2C – Corruption and CBI net.
The irony is that his religious identity as a Muslim did not carry any value in these political circles. Last time they ditched him out to make way for a 'woman' President, but accepted a Muslim Vice President. The same Vice President could have been elevated as the President on the Muslim tag, but Kalam spoiled it. The root cause of the disdain for him is that he would not become a Rubber stamp – the exact job that the Congress bosses want the President to do. The scenario is such that the upcoming years would see a role for the President as a Rubber stamp. Clearly Kalam does not fit in the bill.
The first salvo against him was expectedly from the Emperor of Corruption, Karunanidhi. Karunanidhi made a nasty and uncharitable remark that Kalam means Kalagam. Almost all the news reports translated Kalagam as confusion whereas the actual meaning of that word is 'mischief'. It really surprised me that no one corrected it and no writer or editor condemned the uncharitable remark of Karunanidhi. That he could say this in spite of his exploitative politics on Muslim and Tamil tags goes to show how the media and the constituencies that he is supposed to nurture through minority and Tamil politics are dumb and are the pawn in the games of Karunanidhi. No Tamil and no Muslim from Tamilnadu took him to task for maligning Kalam's name like this, while the fact is that 'Kalam' in his name is not a Tamil word. It is a Muslim name, though a word called Kalaam exists in Tamil.
The word Kalaam was used in Tamil Literature in a different meaning. The popular literary work called Pazhamozhi ( adage) has a verse (verse 215) that mentions "Vey kalaam veRpa' in which the word kalaam is used to mean 'fitting' or suitable' or 'merging with' .
சிறத்த நுகர்ந்தொழுகும் செல்வ முடையார்
அமை - கெட்டி மூங்கில். வேய் - உள் துளை உடையது. செல்வத்தின் பயனாகிய இம்மை யின்பங்களை அவர் அடைந்தொழுகலான் அறஞ்செய்து அருளுடையராகி மறுமையின்பமும் பெறுகவென்று கூறியவாறு. 'அமையொடு வேய்கலாம் வெற்ப' என்பது, இன்பமாய நாட்டை உடையவன் என்பதைக் குறித்து நின்றது.)
If Karunanidhi wanted to discourage Dr Kalam from entering the fray, he could have done it in other ways, but not by using a meaning that is not appropriate and in no way reflective of Dr Kalam's character. It is really shocking to see Karunanidhi get away with what he has said as no one has challenged him.
The Muslim saviour Mulayam finds it comfortable to see Kalam as a closed chapter. The Congress spokespersons accused Kalam in the TV debates of craving for post and as one who could not even contest a Gram sabha. Strangely I did not come across any eminent writer or editor or magazine speaking for Kalam's candidature. It is certain that all these people would have been up in arms to defame Dr Kalam in every possible way if only Dr Kalam had agreed to contest the Presidential poll.
He backed out of the race which is hailed by many as right or wise decision. The Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari calls it as an appropriate decision. In the worst ever Editorial written in the recent past, The Hindu praised Dr Kalam for backing out and not giving into the self serving political motives of his supporters whereas the politicians who benefited from Kalam's exit were those belonging to the Congress and its supporters. The same Editorial says that Kalam enjoys the love of the people and he is heard wherever he goes. What then made the Hindu editor think that Kalam is not the right person for the post? (Hindu Edit given below)
This kind of adversarial postures of the politicians of 2C and their supporters in media forced Dr Kalam out of the contest. Yes, I would say that he was forced out of the fray. He did not leave because there was no guaranteed support for him. The campaign of character assassination started even before he could be convinced to contest. By sullying his image, the ruthless politicians have achieved what they wanted – of making him quit the contest. The "totality of the matter and the present political situation" that he mentioned as the causes for his decision were indeed paved by the advice of his two mentors, his elder brother and his teacher who told him , "If you contest, then political parties will try to damage your image. So it's better if you keep away from it," Perhaps his mentors sensed a tit for tat in the game let loose by Sonia who wanted to deny Presidentship to Dr Kalam in return for what he did to her as a constitutionally driven decision.
This news did not appear in most newspapers of India but found its way into the TOI of today. A President's post is not a political post. There need not be any stake being invested on that post. But the way the Congress had chosen its nominee and discouraged Dr Kalam from contesting shows that we are definitely going to see a degradation of the President's role within the next 5 years. If this is the way a non political post is getting filled up, how are things going to be in the coming years? If this could happen to a person like Dr Kalam, how are we going to inspire the likes of him to enter into public service and politics?
From another angle, I would say that if only Dr Kalam had entered the fray, the political dynamics would have changed by a pitched campaign by the people of India themselves through all possible forums. Persons like Karunanidhi could have been made to think of a possible backlash before making such remarks. A strong public opinion could have been created forcing the non congress politicians to support Dr Kalam. All these could have become possible if the BJP and Mamata planned well in advance and projected Dr Kalam ahead of everyone else.
The Hindu Editorial
Well done, Mr. Kalam
Political parties, as is their wont, play political games, whether in a parliamentary or presidential election. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, who distinguished himself as one of India's most popular Presidents during 2002-2007, seems to have been quick to sense the designs of self-serving politicians who were seeking to drag him into another presidential contest. With the ruling United Progressive Alliance announcing Pranab Mukherjee as its candidate, and the opposition National Democratic Alliance divided over forcing a fight, Mr. Kalam would have been staking his personal prestige and international reputation in a presidential bout without standing a realistic chance of winning. Often celebrated as the People's President during his years in office, Mr. Kalam enjoys the love and affection of countless youth in the country. The octogenarian bachelor is seen as a selfless patriot standing apart from the much-derided political class. In 2002, when he decided to contest, the political circumstances were markedly different: both the major political formations, the NDA and the Congress, were with him, and only the Left parties put up a token fight. Now, with Mr. Mukherjee getting the support of even the Samajwadi Party — whose leader, Mulayam Singh, was instrumental in first proposing Mr. Kalam's name in 2002 and floating his candidature this time around too — the presidential race is as good as over. The Left parties will decide on their stand on June 21, but no matter what, they would be averse to backing an NDA nominee even if it is Mr. Kalam.
Mr. Kalam would surely have realised he would be placing his own legacy under threat if he were to contest again. As a former President, he is taken seriously wherever he goes. On the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant issue, his views had a bearing on the broader public opinion, even if not on the local populace. If West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and the BJP wanted him as President, it was only to serve their respective political ends. The BJP will do anything to embarrass the Congress, and Ms Banerjee will stop at nothing to stay in the spotlight and project herself as the prime mover of all things. To his credit, Mr. Kalam was able to see through the motives of his supposed backers, and resist the temptation to enter the fray. In 2007, when there was a similar move to make him contest again, he had rightly stepped back as he did not want to involve Rashtrapati Bhavan in any political process. Five years on, Mr. Kalam's statesmanship, vision and sense of his own legacy remain undiminished.