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Mother India?
July 22, 2007 11:10 AM   Subscribe

India elects the first woman President. Pratibha Patil, most recently Governer of of the western desert state of Rajasthan has just been elected The President of the Republic of India. While outgoing President APJ Abdul Kalam retains popularity he was unwilling to continue for a second term, political considerations led to a considerable struggle for who would be India's next President. Primarily a figurehead, the new head of state, Ms Patil does not have her country's unanimous support or approval diluting the landmark achievement for women in India.
posted by infini (9 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
Isn't the role of President in India largely ceremonial? I thought the PM position (which had already been held by a woman) carried more influence.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:58 AM on July 22, 2007


Yeah, I thought the PM thing was more important too. According to wikipedia India Gandhi was PM in 1966. Interestingly Sonia Gandhi should have been PM recently, but it wasn't politically tenable because she was a white European who married into the Gandhi family
posted by delmoi at 12:02 PM on July 22, 2007


Pankaj Mishra has written an interesting review of Martha Nussbaum's new book, The Clash Within: Democracy, Religious Violence, and India's Future.
posted by homunculus at 12:19 PM on July 22, 2007


I'm curious infini why you would write that a lack of unanimous support is somehow bad, or diluting? Outside dictatorships, what election *ever* produces unanimous support?

She won, and I can't help but see that as a good thing. By setting your goal as unanimous support you seem to be constructing a situation in which you will be perpetually unable to see her victory as good enough.
posted by sotonohito at 1:55 PM on July 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


Sonia Gandhi should have been PM recently, but it wasn't politically tenable because she was a white European who married into the Gandhi family

That may be true, but at the time I recall hearing a great deal of outcry when she turned it down in favor of Manmohan Singh. Another factor was that both her mother-in-law and her husband (both PMs) had been assassinated and I'm sure she didn't find that a reassuring precedent.
posted by kittyprecious at 3:36 PM on July 22, 2007


Interesting post, thanks. A lot of my extended family are Indians so I like keeping up to date on this sort of stuff so as not to appear ingrant.

This post only has 6 comments because it doesn't feature a missing white woman war mongering white Christian male they can rail against.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 11:32 PM on July 22, 2007



I'm curious infini why you would write that a lack of unanimous support is somehow bad, or diluting? Outside dictatorships, what election *ever* produces unanimous support?

She won, and I can't help but see that as a good thing. By setting your goal as unanimous support you seem to be constructing a situation in which you will be perpetually unable to see her victory as good enough.
posted by sotonohito at 1:55 PM on July 22 [+] [!]


I'm summarizing hte news articles, tv programs, talkshows and and general consensus, not giving my own opinion.
posted by infini at 1:27 AM on July 23, 2007


You beat me to it infini:)

Although it was said in the press that Mr. Kalam did send out feelers in the end to see if there was any possibility of him serving a second term, the UPA government shot him down. Also, it's not much of a landmark achievement to have a woman President of India, if it means that she would not be worthy of that office.

And Mohammad Hamid Ansari has been named the unanimous candidate for the country's Vice-President post.
posted by hadjiboy at 3:00 AM on July 23, 2007


Isn't that supposed to be the Union of Republics or am I mis-remembering?
posted by Wilder at 11:34 AM on July 23, 2007


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