India has had 13 Presidents so far, of whom only one was a woman – Pratibha Patil. But, with Pranab Mukherjee calling it a day, there is a very good chance of another woman President, the second ever woman President.
So, who made the shortlist? Was it a scientist or a social worker or even an impassioned activist? No, it was Meira Kumar.
This Meira Kumar.
Yep, the first-ever woman Speaker of the Lok Sabha is now running to become the second woman President of India. Meira Kumar was born to Jagjivan Ram, a prominent Dalit leader and the former Deputy Prime Minister. Her mother, Indrani Devi was a freedom fighter. One might say that her blood is infused with stoic patriotism and calculated diplomacy. In her first ever election in 1985, she defeated political heavyweights (including Mayawati). Seeing Ms. Kumar in the President’s chair could in fact be a good thing.
It is no secret that the role of the Indian President is more of a figurehead position, but some Presidents can do wonders. Pratibha Patil used her power to commute 35 death sentences. Yes, 35! Our beloved former President, the late APJ Abdul Kalam used his presidency to get closer to people and the problems they face, so much so, that he became known as the People’s President.
What Meira Kumar has in front of her is a huge task, and even though the role grants her lesser power, one hopes that if she succeeds in being the President, she should give it her best shot. But, Ms. Kumar is not alone. There is one other person on the shortlist – Ram Nath Kovind, a staunch supporter of the ruling party. Wading past Mr. Kovind to become the second woman President will be quite a task, and, we wish her the very best of luck.
And, whether she wins or not, here’s a funny clip that spoofing Meira Kumar and her catchphrase “baith jaiye!”