Library, autobiography, teaching: Pranab Mukherjee gears up for a life after President
Mukherjee, the 13th President of India, will demit office on July 25. On the same day, he will shift to 10 Rajaji Marg, his address for the rest of his life.Updated: Jul 16, 2017 15:26 IST
His library has been quietly shifted to his new address at the capital’s Rajaji Marg. He has cancelled his last foreign trip and has decided to write about his five years at Raisina Hills — President Pranab Mukherjee, 81, is getting ready for a life after Rashtrapati Bhavan.
Mukherjee, the 13th President of India, will demit office on July 25. On the same day, he will shift to 10 Rajaji Marg, his address for the rest of his life. As former President, he will be entitled to all facilities enjoyed by Union cabinet ministers.
All gifts which he has received in the last five years has been sent to the Toshakhana of the President’s House, except the books, as the President is entitled to keep them.
When he set foot into Rashtrapati Bhavan in 2012, his hectic political career paved way for a slow life. Now, even as Mukherjee will be a much more relaxed and free man, he remembers APJ Abdul Kalam told him once, “In comparison to the amount you read, you write very less.”
The President has almost decided to write his next book on the memories of his Presidential Years.
“I am also thinking of writing an autobiography in Bengali,” Mukherjee said in close quarters. Since becoming President, he has written three books on his political life.
What about the famous diaries he had meticulously written throughout the last 43 years, which is believed to contain fascinating information and deep insights of important events and days? Mukherjee has given strict orders to his family members not to open the diaries as long as he is alive.
“And after that, no one can read my bad handwriting,” he quipped with a mischievous laugh, adding, “My relatives allege that it is like an ant, soaked in ink, crawling on paper!”
Mukherjee will drastically cut down on his travel. His plan for a visit to Africa, where he had inaugurated key infrastructure projects as the then-finance minister, has now been dropped. In the remaining three weeks of his tenure, he will travel to Bengaluru, Dehradun, and to rural West Bengal.
“But I will definitely be back in my village during Durga Puja,” Mukherjee said.
A practicing Brahmin, Mukherjee never failed in all these years to be perform puja in his ancestral village of Kirnahar. Once, when he had to sign the Indo-US nuclear deal in Washington, Mukherjee spent 36 hours flying from Delhi and back, and spent just six hours on American soil to ensure that he was back before Puja.
He is, however, willing to travel if any good Indian university invites him for lectures. The man, who started his career as a college professor, feels sharing knowledge with students is the best tribute to his mentors.
From this week, Mukherjee will be hosting several dinners and banquets as a part of his farewell programme. On July 24, he has invited Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union ministers for his last banquet.
And by now, he has also learnt by heart, the process and the protocol involved in the swearing-in ceremony of the new President.