Why was A.P.J. Abdul Kalam silent for so long?

During the last 20 days, when the reservation issue has gripped the nation, a couple of things have been plainly obvious.

One, none of our politicians and parties, ruling or opposition, who can only see human beings through the prism of votes, have had the guts to speak against Arjun Singh's move for fear of cheesing off a greater mass of voters.

Two, none of our industrialists and intellectuals, the fountainheads of thought and enterprise, have had the guts to speak against the quota move, for fear of ending up on the wrong side of the government in power. And who doesn't know how dangerous that can be.

But what about Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam?

Here's a man we call the People's President. Here's a man who has met and knows the dreams of more young people than we can imagine. Here's a man who stands tall above the politicians. Here's a man who says he has great visions for the country.

Why has this man been silent for so long?

Yes, he has met the students but is that enough? Yes, he has today said the creamy layer should be kept out. But where was he all this while when the young men and women of the country needed him the most, to show that they are wanted, needed?

Since he has no reason to be scared of anybody, why hasn't he lent the weight of his voice and stature at a decisive moment in the country's history like this one?

Yes, we know the President's role is a titular one. Yes, we know he isn't supposed to dabble in the nation's affairs. But does he seriously think Vision 2020 can be achieved with this kind of vote-mongering that mortgages the future?