Rashtrapati Pratibha?

By Aloke Tikku

What shall we do with the word Rashtrapati if we have a female president someday, a blogger asked two years ago in a write-up on gender-biased words. A woman as a Rashtrapati appeared a near possibility on Thursday as ruling coalition named Rajasthan Governor Pratibha Patil as the UPA’s candidate. Will she still be a Rashtrapati? Yes, said JN Chaubey, retired professor of Hindi at Patna University The word, Rashtrapati, he said, was essentially unisexu81 and was not as gender-biased as it sounds. It translates into head of a sovereign nation… If Patil makes it to the presidential palace, the only dit^ference will be that she would be introduced as “Bharat ki Rashtrapati” instead of the “Bharat he Rashtrapati” that one has been used to. It can, at times, lead to funny situations but it really does not make a difference, said Najma Heptulla, the former Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairperson, also referred as “Up-Sabhapati.”

- Hindustan Times (June 15, 2007)

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