By Jagruti Katkar
NCP chief Sharad Pawar released a book Bharatachi Pratibha and a website on Pratibha Patil, the first woman to hold the office of President in India, at Balgandharva auditorium on Saturday. Pawar also felicitated Patil for completing 50 years in politics. “The function is the symbol of our immense respect for the work Patil has done for the country,” he said.
“Wherever she worked, and whomsoever she worked with, Patil has always made her mark. In her entire political career, she has served the nation and that is why the nation is proud of her,” he added.
On a remark made by host Madhukar Bhave that Pawar was the “future President of India”, the NCP chief said he does not want to become the president, as one has to retire after that and he wants to continue his work in politics for life.
District Guardian Minister Girish Bapat said he was happy that former president chose Pune as her post-retirement city.
Former Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said he has two idols in politics of Maharashtra — Sharad Pawar and Pratibha Patil. He said, “I admire her for her concern towards the downtrodden and the women.”
He added that, among other feats, Patil made history by flying in a Sukhoi. Scientist Raghunath Mashelkar said Patil the “ultimate embodiment of innovation, passion and compassion”.
Former chief minister Prithviraj Chavan said it was difficult to encapsulate Patil’s achievements in one book. He also shared the experience of working with her during Presidential election campaign in 2007.
Former Lok Sabha speaker Shivraj Patil, meanwhile, proposed that Patil should write an autobiography and “enrich us with her journey and her experiences of dealing with obstacles.”
In her speech, the former president talked about her journey and the support of her father, husband and family.
“My father was a conservative person. Although he gave me wings of education, he never permitted me to use them. But, one fine day, he showed me the path to social service through politics. That was the day I started to fly with my wings,” she said.
She also thanked everyone for honoring her, saying, “I became the President of India, but that is not my achievement. That is the greatness of our democracy, constitution and our people.”
A developing country like India, chose a woman as its President. This shows the progressive mindset of our citizens.
MP Vandana Chavan, organiser D Y Patil, his son Ajinkya Patil and Deputy Mayor of Pune Siddarth Dhende, among others, were present at the event.