30 July, 2021

Now, For A Palace Coup

These 19th century trappings, you'll agree, are relics to be dispensed with in a modern democracy.

illustration by Sandeep Adhwaryu
Now, For A Palace Coup
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53
Dear Citizen Abdul Kalam,
You have just become the Rashtrapati of over a billion co-citizens of this nation, the vast majority of whom live in frugal circumstances. If the monsoon fails this year, as seems increasingly likely, tens of millions of your co-citizens will be struggling to find drinking water and some 300 million, who are already malnourished, will be facing semi-starvation. It's evident from your frugal lifestyle that you've not forgotten the humble surroundings of your childhood and that the poor and vulnerable are of concern to you.

In keeping with your sensitivities, you should refuse to live in the most palatial property provided for any head of state in the democratic world. The White House in Washington and Buckingham Palace in London and their grounds are toy properties compared to the 400-acre estate of Rashtrapati Bhavan, with its gigantic central sandstone structure of durbar halls and cavernous rooms, surrounded by a sprawling complex of large official bungalows, military barracks, Mughal Gardens, a golf course, tennis courts, club, theatre,...

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