The Congress has rightly disassociated itself from remarks by P Chidambaram and Shashi Tharoor wondering when India would have a member of a minority become Prime Minister, in the way Rishi Sunak has risen to the post in the UK. Have they forgotten that a Sikh was Prime Minister for ten years, even if he was ‘remote-controlled’ by an Italian immigrant? It is another matter that Sikhs are not considered a ‘minority’ in the Indian psyche because they generally punch well above their weight.
For certain ‘secular’ politicians, only Muslims – technically India’s second-largest majority – are a minority community. There is also that inherent inferiority complex that makes them feel India can never perform as ‘well’ as the Brits, despite increasing evidence to the contrary. This is not to put down Britain’s remarkable contributions to democracy and human civilisation, which should be appreciated without making unnecessary comparisons.
And going by the manner in which race is generally determined – by the rules of primogeniture – the present day ‘Gandhi’ family is descended from the Parsis, a miniscule minority in India. Of course, there is a long list of luminaries who have been in every conceivable constitutional post from every community in India. But the focus is on the day when a Muslim would become Prime Minister, which question has been posed by J&K’s former CM Mehbooba Mufti. There is no constitutional bar to that happening and it is the ‘secular’ parties that have been in power for much of the time since Independence who need to answer that question. In the meanwhile, it has been pointed out that there have been Muslim Chief Ministers in Hindu majority states, but no Hindu CM where Mehbooba Mufti comes from.
As Muslims, the community was given its ‘share’ by partitioning the country in 1947. Those who chose to live in India – willingly or otherwise –naturally did so on the basis that they would have rights primarily as Indians under the Constitution, nothing more, nothing less. It is as an Indian that any person becomes Prime Minister or anything else. For prominent politicians to continue pushing the community into a psychological ghetto is a gross disservice. It inhibits India from moving forward. As for practicing unity in diversity, any nonpartisan observer would admit that India is way ahead of any other country and needs no lectures on the same.