The Vice President, Shri Jagdeep Dhankhar today cautioned that ‘India’s rise at the global stage comes with challenges – within and without. He called for intelligentsia and the people to be cognizant of ‘incubators and distributors orchestrating pernicious narratives to downsize our growth trajectory and dent our functional democracy and constitutional institutions’.
The Vice President was addressing a gathering after releasing a book ‘Governorpet to Governor’s House: A Hick’s Odyssey’ – a memoir of the former Governor of Tamil Nadu, Shri PS Ramamohan Rao in New Delhi. Shri Dhankhar lauded the former Governor for his contributions to public life and sharing his insightful experiences in his memoir.
Shri Dhankhar observed that the ‘essence of democracy’ is that ‘all are similarly accountable to law. No one can have privileged consideration by law and be looked at through a different prism’. Suggesting that India is the most vibrant democracy, he said ‘equality before law is something we cannot negotiate’.
Noting that dynamics of governance would always be challenging, the Vice President said it required harmonised functioning of constitutional institutions – the legislative, the executive and the judiciary. But, he said, ‘there is no room for confrontation, or being a complainant, by those who head the institutions. They have to act in collaboration and find resolution in togetherness and tandem.’ The Vice President suggested creating ‘a structured interactive mechanism amongst those at the helm of the institutions – the Legislature, the Judiciary and the Executives’ in this regard.
Shri Dhankhar reiterated that ‘it is the primacy of our constitution that determines the stability, harmony and productivity of democratic governance. Parliament, reflecting the mandate of the people, is the ultimate and exclusive architect of the Constitution’.
Former Vice President of India, Shri Venkaiah Naidu, Governor of Haryana, Shri Bandaru Dattatreya, former Governor of Tamil Nadu and the author, Shri P.S. Ramamohan Rao, Members of Parliament, Shri K. Keshav Rao, Shri Y.S. Chowdary and other dignitaries were present.
Text of Hon’ble Vice President’s speech (Excerpts):
“It is an honour for me that I have been associated with the release of “Governorpet to Governor’s House; A Hick’s Odyssey”. I wish to commend the author for his vision and efforts to document what I consider a very comprehensive account of his distinguished public service journey since 1956 when he joined the IPS.
Shri P.S. Ramamohan Rao, ‘Hick’ to his college friends, has traversed six decades in public service exemplifying sublime commitment to duty affecting ever furtherance of public interest.
“Governorpet to Governor’s House; A Hick’s Odyssey” encapsulates a long, eventful and adventurous journey and experience of the author, insightfully revealing his passion and mission. His positioning as DGP, Andhra Pradesh and Governor, Tamil Nadu are high marks of his accomplishments. The book, with no pretensions of literary pompousness, yields to seamless reading and on several aspects, it is rarely informative and ever inspirational.
As a matter of fact, Integrity, commitment, nationalism are not optional they are compulsive.
A well informed and knowledgeable person has penned in impeccable language a mosaic of memories encapsulating with characteristic candour and reflecting on important historical events and facets of bureaucratic functioning dotting his six decades in public service.
The country had the honour of having Shri A. P. J. Abdul Kalam as the President of this country. But how Kalam Saab became the candidate is narrated in the book, insightful details are available. The distinguished author as a matter of fact catalysed it, maybe by chance.
The book also reveals his rigidity, uncompromising conscience and commitment to public good.
The book will for sure enrich our knowledge and enhance our understanding of bureaucratic functioning as also challenges of the constitutional office of the Governor.
The eminent author has been part of governance, bureaucracy for decades and has reflected on the dynamics of relationship between the Civil Servants and the political executives. This relationship is turning out to be a challenge. The steel frame, the bureaucracy has come to be so ingratiated with the political masters that 1968 Rules that govern your conduct are more often than not in complete breach.
Soothing to note that the book authentically reveals his focus on family and his differently abled son and junctures in life where tough decisions, with various options available, were made. There were various options available- after going through the book, I dare say he went on the right path of Gita.
One is bound to be inspiringly motivated after being exposed in the book to how traditional family system turns out to be spinal support system in challenging environment.
Rao Saab came from a family that had connect with the freedom movement led by Gandhi Ji. The distinguished author has demonstrated his unflinching commitment to nationalism and our democratic values.
He has been part of growth story and journey of the Nation since 1956, now in Amrit Kaal.
His life journey and commendable accomplishments are bound to be motivational and inspirational to our youth whom I call warriors of 2047. They will translate our hopes and aspirations as to what India will be, when we celebrate in 2047 our centenary of Independence.
Friends, I am privileged to share some things in common with him. I have been a governor, so has he been. He also had a lady Chief minister; I too was privileged to have Mamta ji as Chief Minister who has a strong personality. We both had to deal with politicians of that calibre. Of course, we are easily outclassed by our former Prime Minister Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee ji. He dealt with three- Jayalalitha ji, Mamata ji and Mayawati ji- women politicians who impacted the political firmament of this country very effectively.
We both could not complete our term for different reasons. I had to yield to be here. And he, to yield to call of conscience. But if you go through the book, it was not a single day, not a knee jerk, it was well thought out.
I’m rarely touched by the conversation he had about this very issue with the Hon’ble Home Minister, who was at odds with the Hon’ble Prime Minister and this is how he could not complete it but we shall always be proud of him. He yielded to a call of conscience. He did not cling to the office. He could have easily done that.
Another thing on which I may be making a tall claim, but his claim is 100% vindicated. We both acted with scrupulous meticulous adherence to constitutional provisions. It takes a lot of courage to say after demitting office, that there never was an occasion to deviate from constitutional prescriptions. I was lucky when I said initially that Venkaiah Naidu ji mentored many including me. I was getting constant guidance, very mature guidance. And now I can say before him- every word which has been penned down, every public statement which I made is in the most decorous way, my point was put across in this. I’m outclassed by Mr. Rao, he did it far more effectively.
Another thing in which I think the only governor in the country has been lucky, इसमें देखना पड़ेगा कि इनका जादू कितना कमाल का है, I pay tribute to him.
A governor is required to address the assembly under Article 161 and 76. And the governor is required as per practice to read out the address given by the government. I have done it on three occasions. On all the three occasions the honourable Chief Minister was not sure whether I will be doing so or not. In the process, the Honourable Chief Minister forgot that I had people who could guide me and enlighten me and there could be no question of deviation. But in his case, and perhaps in Indian parliamentary history, that’s a singular case. He writes to the Chief Minister, can I edit your draft ? He must have been startled pleasantly and he got a Yes. The change he made did not sacrifice the underlying essence. He changed the form, the vituperations but not the direction. As per the book, I quote, “After all the traumatic events of last one year, I welcome Selvi Jayalalitha back as C.M. of Tamil Nadu.”
That is why when Ms. Jayalalitha came back to power she had on her radar, Mr. Rao, in a position to get his assistance.
As pointed out by Sh. Venkaiah Naiduji, India is on rise as never before and the rise is unstoppable. Global relevance and recognition of the Nation is at a level never before. This rise is with challenges from within and without.
It is here that the intelligentsia and people from media come into picture. We all need to be cognizant of emergence of incubators and distributors of anti-Indian forces orchestrating pernicious narratives to down size our growth trajectory and taint our functional democracy and constitutional institutions. It is imperative that we all believe in our nation and nationalism and engage in neutralizing such misadventures.
In a democracy, all are similarly accountable to law. No one can have privileged consideration by Law, else Democracy will cease to exist if between A and B, A will be looked at by law through a different prism.
Be you so high, the law is always above you. It is known to us all that there can be no such privileges. There can be no enforcement of these privileges. The rigours of law to apply to all. Some people unfortunately think they are different or to be dealt with differently.
Ours is the most vibrant and functional democracy. Equality is something which we can never negotiate. Adherence to law is not optional. Some people have to realise it. Intelligence and media have to see a lot of meaning in it.
In democracy, dynamics of governance will always be challenging, requiring harmonious functioning of constitutional institutions, it will always happen. The legislature, the executive and the judiciary – there will always be issues and we shall never have a day when we can say henceforth, there will be no issues, because we are a dynamic society it is bound to happen.
There is no room for confrontation or being a complainant by those who head these institutions. Those who are heading executive, legislature or judiciary, they cannot be complacent, they cannot act in confrontation. They have to act in collaboration and find resolution together.
I have been thinking for a long time that there is a need for a structured mechanism amongst those at the helm of these institutions – the legislature, the judiciary and the executive. And such structured mechanism of interaction will go a long way. Those who head these institutions cannot use their platforms for a dialogue with the other institution.
I have no doubt … I’ve been saying for a long time … the country’s great democracy blossoms and flourishes, it is the primacy of our Constitution that determines the stability, harmony and productivity of democratic governance. And Parliament reflecting the mandate of the people is the ultimate and exclusive architect of the Constitution. A constitution has to evolve from the people through Parliament.
The executive has no role in evolving Constitution and no other institution including the judiciary has any role to evolve constitution. Constitution evolution has to take place in Parliament and there can be no super body to look into that. It has to end with Parliament, democratic values and public interests are optimally served when the legislature, the judiciary and the executive discharge their respective obligations scrupulously confining to their domain and acting in harmony, togetherness and tandem. This is quite a since transgression of this will create a problem for democracy. This is quintessential, any transgression of this will create a problem for democracy. It is not being possessive about power. It is being possessive about powers given to us by the Constitution. And that is a challenge we all have to collectively face and harmoniously discharge.
Friends, I had the privilege to go through the book and many people had reflected upon the personality of Mr. Rao. Justifiably the eminent author received accolades from significant and varied quarter- “You are a people’s Governor.” Which he is, we all agree with this.
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, let me conclude my address by, once again, commending the author for this initiative. Writing a book of this nature is daunting.
“Governorpet to Governor’s House: A Hick’s Odyssey” will be worth your time and recommend it to all.