The appointment of Hindu-American of Indian descent Rishi Sunak as Prime Minister of Britain holds lessons for India, according to Congressman Shashi Tharoor.
Building on and referring to his point on the need to empower “Visible Minorities,” he questioned whether someone who is not Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, or Jain could become India’s prime minister.
On Twitter, individuals had previously teased Mr. Tharoor over the “Visible Minority” argument, pointing out that fellow Congressman Manmohan Singh, a Sikh, had served as PM for ten years.
Additionally, he was informed both Sikhs and Muslims have held the constitutionally mandated position of President of India, though it is mostly an honorific one.
“There is no doubt that Dr. Manmohan Singh is a member of a visible minority. However, the majority of Hindus do not perceive Sikhs as being distinct from them, the former foreign ambassador claimed.
He emphasized that the Hindutva ideology views all religions born in the Indian subcontinent as similar, “Indic” religions and asked, “Can we still imagine a day in our increasingly majoritarian polity that the BJP is very much behind when someone who is not a Hindu, Jain, Sikh or Buddhist can head our national government (as PM)?” But Hindutva adherents do not have the same perspective as other people.
Mr. Tharoor emphasized that Rishi Sunak has openly practiced Hinduism and cited former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s remark that Hindus are “a terrible people with a hideous faith.”
“Can you envision the BJP endorsing an overt Christian or an overt Muslim, public about their beliefs, as a suitable Prime Minister for India?”
There isn’t a single Muslim MP in India’s ruling BJP, which promotes Hindutva or “Hindu nationalism” as its philosophy.
He recalled “public fulminations” about Sonia Gandhi’s Italian and Christian origins after she led a Congress alliance to victory and was widely expected to become Prime Minister.
She made way for Manmohan Singh. “One prominent politician threatened to shave her head if she became Prime Minister,” he said of the BJP’s Sushma Swaraj, who later became India’s foreign minister.
“I reckon we need to realise that despite my criticism of British racism, they have a history of overt racism and have selected a brown-skinned Hindu as their leader.” He claims that “their worst traits have outgrown them.”
On the day that Rishi Sunak was chosen to replace Liz Truss, who was forced to resign after only six weeks due to the UK’s price-rise issue, Mr. Tharoor further stated that Mr. Sunak is “from an ethnicity that Brits in the past would have regarded inferior”.
We can learn from Rishi Sunak’s triumph that race is undoubtedly an issue, but it is not the only one. I’m delighted we are celebrating this because I hope it will encourage us to think about our own country. Mr. Tharoor stated.
“The BJP is lying when they assert that we have already attained the same level as the British.
The age of Rishi Sunak is another topic that the BJP would not explore. I hold all parties responsible for this, not only the BJP,” he remarked.
At 42, Rishi Sunak is the youngest UK PM in two centuries.Noting that Rishi Sunak became finance minister of the UK in 2020, just five years after first becoming MP. “In India he’d still be sporting, at best, a Minister of State tag.”