Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

Woman President is Rashtrapati

Some say pati means husband and therefore woman president of India should be called rashtrapatni in Hindi. Little knowledge is dangerous. Pati has several meanings. It means hushand, owner or lord. There are words like bhupati, ashwapati, gajapati and prajapati. They do not mean husband of land, horses, elephants and people. Here the meaning is owner or lord.
India is not the first country to have a woman president. Iceland, Ireland, Sri Lanka, Philippines are some of the countries that had women presidents. They were referred to as rashtrapati in Hindi news bulletins. When Najma Heptullah was the Deputy Chairman (Constitution does not mention Chairperson) of the Council of States (Rajya Sabha) she was referred to as Upa Sabhapati. It seems those who advocate the use of rashtrapatni never watched Hindi news bulletins.

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