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He received me at the entrance of his bungalow, and then personally went to the pantry to ask a butler to fetch tea, biscuits and cashew nuts. Our meeting had nothing to do with the coal scam, nor with the clangour of contemporary Indian politics. Our meeting was about Manmohan Singh's views on the importance of empowering women.
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When I was invited to interview the current occupant, President Pranab Mukherjee, I was filled with some trepidation, although over a 50-year career in international journalism I'd met scores of world leaders. The President of India almost never grants individual interviews, so this was a special occasion for me.
Young leaders like Mahendra Singh Dhoni are role models to millions, whether they like it or not. It would have brought Mr. Dhoni great karma - and great applause - had he air-dashed from Australia to Delhi to see his baby daughter. He would have had at least a couple of days with his family before the important matches started in Australia. It would have set an example for men who, all too often, choose to prioritise profession over family.
"The Indian Woman" has finally received international recognition for what she always has been: the keeper of our values, the indispensable building block of our society, the bearer of our emotional burdens, the transmitter of our sensibilities, the embodiment of physical and intellectual strength, the repository of ancient wisdom and natural knowledge, and, always, the giver of eternal love. India's future lies, more than ever, in the hands of its women.