Dr Kalam proved President can be agent of change: S.M. Khan
Think of Dr A.P. J. Abdul Kalam, and many laudatory adjectives come readily to mind. Scientist extraordinaire, the father of India’s space and missile programme, nation-builder, dreamer, an inspirational speaker who loved igniting young minds, with his own life serving as a model of self-fashioning and achieving despite formidable odds.
A new book by S.M. Khan, who served as press secretary to President Kalam, makes his portrait more vivid and compelling. nterspersed with anecdotes and personal conversations the author had with the president, “The People’s President” unpacks Dr Kalam’s pioneering role in raising the bar for the presidency under India’s parliament system of government and providing it the much-needed people’s touch.
In this wide-ranging conversation with Manish Chand, Editor-in-Chief, India Writes Network, Khan, currently Director-General of the Registrar of Newspapers for India and a former spokesperson for Central Bureau of Investigation, speaks insightfully about the making of the people’s president and how Dr Kalam remapped the contours of the presidency by positioning people at the centre of his outreach and dispensing with most of ceremonial aspects associated with this exalted institution. Most important, as the author says, Dr Kalam tried to prove in those five years that the President, while remaining within the framework of the Constitution of India, can be an agent of change and transformation and contribute to the nation’s development in a tangible way.
Excerpts from the interview….