Should a former President fall at a godman’s feet?


India’s VIPs and VVIPs had a bit of a brain explosion last week when news emerged that the former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam had been frisked by staff of Continental Airlines.

In today’s Times of India, Innaiah Narisetti, president of the Indian chapter of the Centre for Inquiry and author of the new book Forced into Faith, argues that leaders like Kalam set a bad example not by subjecting themselves to security checks, but by other acts they do.

“Children accept without question whatever the parents dictate. They carry that habit into their adulthood. Leaders practising superstitions set a bad example.

“It was sad that somebody like Abdul Kalam, when he was president, thought it fit to touch the feet of Sathya Sai Baba. That to my mind was more outrageous than his being frisked at an airport for security reasons despite his former office.”

Keen observers of photographs will doubtless notice the size, style and height of Kalam’s chair—the commander-in-chief of the armed forces!—vis-a-vis the hirsute Baba’s.

Keen observers of news will also have doubtless noticed that while Baba Ramdev was first off the blocks among godmen in opposing the decriminalisation of homosexual sex between consenting adults, there has been a studied silence in the spiritual corridor linking Kanakapura Road with Anantapur.

Read the full article: ‘Parents impose their belief system on children’

Also read: Should a President rub shoulders with godmen?

An eleven-and-a-half point manifesto for Abdul Kalam

VIR SANGHVI: The truth about Sai Baba