Prez's husband tounge-tied for fear of being 'misquoted'

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Kurukshetra, Oct 6 (UNI) Dr Devisingh Ramsingh Shekhawat, husband of president Pratibha Patil Shekhawat said he felt like he was ''in a cage'' in the Presidential Palace as he could hardly utter a word for the fear of being misquoted by the media.

"I feel I am in a cage. I can't express myself freely, simply because I can be misquoted'' rued Dr Shekhawat adding that sometimes he was so grossly 'misquoted' that he feared that the ''academic tribe would wonder how a person like me could speak like this.'' ''So I have to make speech in a written version only", said an unassuming Dr Shekhawat while delivering his inaugural address in a national seminar on Women Reservation in India in Kurukshetra University.

In a lighter vein, Dr Shekhawat said, "I wonder how so many people have come to attend this seminar on reservation for women where women are out numbered. Most seem to have come not for the cause but to see the Pati (husband) of the Rashtrapati. How does he look? They have so far seen only the First Lady of the country or the state.'' However, in a hard-hitting speech in support of women empowerment, Dr Shekhawat lashed out at the hypocratic attitude of the people of country, including the political cadre, whose mindset still did not allow them to accept the achievement and success of their womenfolk.

"What we preach, we don't practice in real life. We don't want to see women leaping forward. If a wife is welcomed with flowers on the centrestage, the husband desires that he must also be given same treatment,'' said Dr Shekhawat.

Dr Shekhawat, an educationist and known for his cancer research work in the US, also shed light on his relationship with his wife saying, "Pratibha's field was social work and though I did accompany her at many places, I never desired to get what she did. I was happy in my field of education. So, we never had any acrimonious moment in our life".

Strongly advocating reservation for women, he said merely ten percent of womenfolk were in the legislative houses, barely 45 in the 542 member Lok Sabha and only 28 in the Rajya Sabha which has 242 members.

He criticised the political parties for reducing the issue of 33 per cent reservation for women only to an electioneering hype, due to which the bill to this effect was still hanging fire.

''All political parties lack strong will power on reservation for women in the legislative bodies, but ironically most of them support caste-based movements for reservations,'' he said.

The seminar, attended by a large number of people mostly from the academic world, besides NGOs, was organised by the Indian Council for Social Justice.

UNI XC JN BP1849

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