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Wednesday, Sep 18, 2019

Presidential form of government: cure for corruption?

It’s a matter of great pride for us Indians that our Parliament celebrates its 60th birthday and we remain the world’s largest democracy. Khushwant Singh writes.

columns Updated: May 26, 2012 21:41 IST
Khushwant Singh
Khushwant Singh

It’s a matter of great pride for us Indians that our Parliament celebrates its 60th birthday and we remain the world’s largest democracy. Our team has scored 60 runs without losing a wicket. There was a short period of the Emergency when Prime Minister Indira Gandhi suspended the Parliament (many, including Acharya Vinobha Bhave and journalists like myself, justified it) because the Opposition crossed the lakshman rekha by stopping elected members of legislative bodies from going to the Parliament and state assemblies as well as exhorted people not to pay taxes and the army to revolt. However, though we have survived, our rate of progress has been very low. We could and should have done much better. We have also become a very corrupt nation. The number of men and women of modest means who became crorepatis by indulging in illegal practices has risen higher and higher. I have come to the conclusion that things would improve if we changed our system of governance from the parliamentary form, as it is today, to a presidential form, as prevails in many democracies such as France and the United States. We could tackle the ever-increasing rate of corruption in our country.

What I have in mind is a president elected by the country. He could make his cabinet from the ablest men and women, willing to serve under him, whether or not they are members of Parliament. Periodically, legislation proposed by this assembly should be presented to the Parliament for approval.
I am not sure if I am on the right track and would welcome readers opinions on the subject.

President’s Hindi equivalent

In your weekly column of May 5 you have, out of three, named two women as worthy of becoming president. I have a point to make — even if an occupant of president post is a woman, as is the case presently, we address her as ‘rashtrapati’ in Hindi. Needless to stress, it is a misnomer. So there is a dire need for searching an equivalent of president in Hindi before we have another woman as president. I propose that term ‘rashtrapramukh’ should be used to address Lady President. Indeed, it could go with both male and female president.

(Courtesy: KJS Ahluwalia, Amritsar)

Fighting the common cold

I have received many suggestions of how not to catch colds and treat them if you have one. One that makes sense to me came from PK Khullar of Faridabad.
I quote him: “I wish to refer to your weekly column about the common cold. I can state, with literally life-long experience, that I have not caught common cold for decades nor any type of fever due to change in season nor viral. In fact, I can with clear mind say that I have not gone to a doctor for any medicine except diabetics for, as far as I can possibly remember.

The reason, as I have commonly maintained and told to thousands, is that between October 1 to March 31 I drink fresh juice of five amlas every day. Between April 1 to September 30, I drink one full glass of juice made from a fistful of fresh neem leaves every ten days or so.

I have been following this regimen for a good 30 years or more.

I have been doing so on the advice of my mother who forcefully fed me these things for seven days on change of season while I was a toddler in Lahore, back in the early 40s or so.

In my life I got one disease and that is diabetics because of the family history as well as my uncontrolled habit of eating sweets in excess.”


The cricketer from Sydney
Had a damaged kidney
Although he played all right
Looked too healthy and bright
But he couldn't bend his knee.

There lived a crook in Rangoon
He was famous in Myanmar as a goon
Once he swindled a bank
Kept the booty in a tank
After a year he found the tank turned in a lagoon.

(Courtesy: Reeten Ganguly, Tezpur)

Santa: “I still remember the time when this pretty young girl pulled off my
Banta: “Wow! What did you do then?”
Santa: “What could I do? She then put a bed-pan under my bottom. She was my nurse when I was bed-ridden after a motor accident.”

(Contributed by Rajeshwari Singh, New Delhi)

The views expressed by the author are personal

First Published: May 26, 2012 21:38 IST