Monday, December 5, 2022

Color, religion, race no bar to become PM in UK

Rishi Sunak became the UK’s first Indian-origin, first Hindu, first non-white and the youngest Prime Minister at 42 since 1812 of the United Kingdom on Diwali day breaking religious, racial and color shackles and barriers. It is indeed historic, momentous and ground breaking in a country where many believed just the opposite.
Contrary to the beliefs and apprehensions of many, the British citizens of all nationalities and ethnicities demonstrated to the world especially to India that anybody can reach the highest political office. Elevation of Rishi Sunak to the highest political office as Prime Minister adds the very fact that in UK there is no bar or prejudice. History comes full circle in Britain. In India some may bash English as colonial language, but their own children may be in England or other English-speaking nations, nonetheless what about this.
In India is it possible for a Dalit or a Tribal or a Muslim or a Christian to become the Prime Minister? One should be a Hindu and certainly not a Dalit or a Tribal or Christian or Muslim. There could be some symbolic representations in other portfolios, but not to the seat of Prime Minister which is the highest political executive. Even after 75 years we are caught with all kinds of barriers such as caste and religion.
Racial discrimination is also visibly present such as South and North, Aryan and Dravidian. Except once – (Deva Gowda a Hindu) was in office for a short time. However, India is yet to see someone from the South reaching the top office – a long way to go. The Conservative Party which has MPs of all identities, nationalities and faith persuasions.
Cutting across racial, religio-cultural and ethnic prejudices elected him as the leader and PM of UK. Regardless of all these human-made constructions the people of UK also wanted somehow who could fix the economy and inflation and in him they see a ray of hope. His victory speech echoed triune principles – integrity, professionalism and accountability, not just in words but in action.
This shows how the UK democracy works. Previous PM Truss who will be remembered in history for being in the job just for 44 days (shortest ever) wanted to cling on, but had to go for her non-performance as the economy tumbled. India has a long way to go to have a PM belonging to Islam or Christian or Dalit or from an indigenous community. It is going be more difficult as the proponents of Hindutva want the country to be a Hindu Raj. Since India’s social structure is premised on caste system, a Dalit to become a PM is not possible. Above all, it is not possible to break the shackles of Brahminic Hindu edifice as the hardliners of Hindutva think that only a Hindu should become the PM of India.
UK taught India a lesson. The Mayor of London is a Muslim, the PM of UK is a Hindu and the King of United Kingdom is a Christian. A beautiful representation of multi-religious combine. A this point a question surface: When will Indians shed away social, religio-cultural discriminatory practices that operates in overt and covert ways?
Dr. I. John Mohan Razu,
Professor of Social Ethics,
(ijmrazu@gmail.com)

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