Mahamahim Smt. Pratibha Patil has been elected as thirteenth president of the Republic of India and has created history of being the first woman president of India. She has the honour of being fifth woman constitutional head in Asia. Unlike Great Britain president of Indian Republic is not merely a show piece to work like a rubber stamp. Our president is supreme commander of the three forces- Land, Air and Naval and fortunately our new president is alive to this fact. In her interview with N.D.T.V. she had emphatically remarked that she had never been a rubber stamp Governor and nor the she would ever be a rubber stamp president.
She had asserted that she had her own conventions, ideology and way of thinking accompanied by unquestionable nationalism and deep secular feelings. Before being elected as first citizen of India Smt. Pratibha Patil had announced in unambiguous terms that her first priority would be to see India an industrially and economically developed nation of the world. Her simplicity and openness of vision can be judged by the very fact that she added that she had never thought of being elected for the most honorable post but now because she had been nominated therefore, she would contest in right earnest and with full sincerity.
There was some apprehension that there might arise some difficulty with the military chiefs but there are instances of Great Britain, Germany, Shri Lanka, Bangladesh and Pakistan where woman presidents have successfully commanded their chiefs and forces. Then ours is the most disciplined military in the world hence all such apprehensions should be set aside. Moreover, families of the military personnel and specially their ladies feel more secure under the regime of their own sex. They should expert more considerate, more transport and better implementation of the social welfare schemes. They may also organize pressure groups at different levels for the security of women’s rights and privileges and may secure legal and constitutional remedies for their grievances.
Fortunately our outgoing president Dr. Abdul Kalam is an ideal man, ideal in the true sense of the word and he has left a very well managed president house on the Raisin Hills. Our new president should have no difficulty in managing and controlling the office of the president. Her life long experience of administration in varied high positions would be an asset for her. She had played an important role in controlling communal riots of Jalgan in 1967. Late Smt. Indira Gandhi had all appreciation for her performance as deputy minister of health in Maharastra Govt. as a result of which Smt. Pratibha Patil was the only person to have secured a clean chit for the 1972 and crushing defect of the congress party under the leadership of Smt. Indira Gandhi, Smt. Pratibha Patil was among the few who stood by their leader and never deserted her.
After her defeat in the 1977 election when Smt. Indira Gandhi landed at the Bombay Air Port Smt. Pratibha Patil was the only dignitary to receive her at the air port. In protest against the arrest of Smt. Indira Gandhi it was Smt. Pratibha Patil who organized and led an agitation and courted arrest. During 1977-79 when Sharad power dislodged the Govt. of Vasantadada Patil and won the support of so many congress leaders, Smt. Pratibha Patel had the courage to oppose the so formed Govt. and was leader of opposition where upon Vasantdada Patil had remarked “Pratibha you are CHANDI in Vidhan Sabha whereas you are so calm and generous outside”.
In 1991 it was Smt. Pratibha Patil who salvaged the Maharastra congress from the tempest of Mandal Commissions. She was minister for social affaires those days. In 1962 she was asked to contest election for Maharastra Assembly from Jalgon against eminent communist leader Shri Bhalerao and she defeated him. As member of the legislative assembly the graduated in law. She was married to Shri Devi Singh in 1965. During the regime of Shri Rajeeva Gandhi she was vice president of the upper house.
In 1991 elections for the parliament she contested against prominent communist leader Shri Sudden whom she defeated by a handsome margin. In 1995 she was leader of the Indian Mission to the world conference of woman parliamentarians held in Beizing. After the assassination of Rajiva Gandhi. Smt. Pratibha Patil felt very much disgusted and gave up her political activities but she remained in close touch with Smt. Sonia Gandhi in active politics she also came to join hands with her. Lastly she was appointed Governor of Rajasthan.
According to Shri Devi Singh, husband of Mahamahim Smt. Pratibha Patil she has special affinity for woman and children. She had lost her mother when she was of only ten years age. She was brought up sensitive. She believes in simple living and high thinking. She wears khadi and has simple food habits. She is the only sister of five brothers and herself has only one son Rav Sahib.
In spite of being a very busy politician and renowned social worker she leads a very peaceful, happy and simple family life. She is always apt to perform family obligations and hardly ever misses any occasion to attend traditional celebrations in her family or her relatives just like a devoted house wife. She is very simple, sincere, sympathetic and kind hearted, always ready to help the needy, specially womenfolk. During her student life she had been a table-tenis player of state and national level and as District commandant of home guards she had also learnt rifle shooting.
While taking the oath of allegiance as also at the time of her ceremonial entry into the President House the sobriety on her face and her confident eyes gave a clear indication of her self confidence. It is expected that she would follow the foot-prints of the late first president of Indian Republic Bharat Ratna Shri Rajendra Prasad and another outstanding personality Shri Sankar Dayal Sharma. In her speech as first citizen of India Mahamahim Smt. Pratibha Patil while addressing the National Academy of Agricultural Sciences as chief guest proclaimed the need for reforms in agriculture sector. In the tone of late Pt. Jawahar Lal Nehru she said that agricultural reforms cannot be allowed to wait for their turn. She congratulated the Indian farmer for making the country self sufficient as also for their contribution in famine control. At the same time she looks the opportunity to praise the scientists for their achievements in various fields of research pertaining to agriculture.
Elaborating the problems of Indian Agriculture in a systematic way she expressed her concern over the conversion of fertile cultivable land into deserts and ravines, reduction in area under cultivation, drop in soil fertility, prevalence of crop pests and diseases accompanied by lack of communication, ignorance and illiteracy of the former and insufficient and irregular banking facilities as also the hindrances in the way of agricultural loans. She also suggested ways and means to cope up with the current problems. She proposed the development of knowledge centres at Gram Panchayat level because according to her improved techniques could be of some avail only when these are well within the reach of an average farmer. She said that agricultural universities and institutions should play their role in communicating with poor and small farmers because there is “strength in communication”. It should be the duty of the governments to communicate all plans, techniques and banking facilitate etc. to the tiller of the land.
We do hope that in Mahamahim Smt. Pratibha patil our nation will find a just, benevolent and impartial Rashtrapati who would lead the country to the loftiest place on world map.