Is Sonia Gandhi
Become The Prime Minister?
By Ram Puniyani
17 May, 2004
the election campaign is drawing to its close (April-May 2004) the issue
of Sonia Gandhi being suitable or not for Prime Minsitership due to
being a foreigner are coming to fore once again. Here one is not talking
of her suitability for holding the top position in Indian administration
restricting to the point whether Indian Citizens, whose place of birth
does not happen to be in India are eligible for such a post or not?
Needless to say
this issue is being raked up since Sonia Gandhi first joined the Congress
and has been contender for the top job in the country. Needless to say
this also reflects the bankruptcy of the electoral campaign in a country,
which is riddled with infinite problems for the poor masses irrespective
of its being shining for a
miniscule section of the society. It also hides the fact that those
raising it can twist the logic the other way around when it suits their
own electoral needs.
The latest argument
being put forward is that giving the sensitive posts to such people
may be a security risk. In between the same argument has been extended
to other posts apart from the one of Prime minister. In between the
argument was also put forward that the children of such citizens also
are not eligible for the top jobs. For those raising this issue, it
is not much of their concern as to what does constitution says on this.
It is not of much concern here that people have accepted whole-heartedly,
such people through the electoral system. Lately, Amma (Jayalalitha)
has come forward to ask that is there not a single Indian capable for
such a post, that we have to look at a foreigner to lead the country?
It must be pointed out that two words are used
interchangeably here, the word foreigner and the word person of foreign
Talking of Sonia
Gandhi, she has been the main target of such snipes. Initially it was
also said that the work of conversion being carried on is also drawing
support from her. Her connections with Italy are ridiculed by posing
the alternative between Ram Rajya and Rome Rajya. The mudslinging has
no end and bucket full of muck can be located on this issue. How does
a country decide this point in a globalising world?
One recalls that
there is a great joy and celebration whenever we hear about the person
of Indian origin holding top jobs in other countries. There are small
countries where the people of Indian origin are and have been holding
the top job. Bobby Jindal's surge for the medium level job was a matter
of three or four
cheers in Indian media and psyche. While talking about the people who
were born in other parts of the world but adopted this country for their
major commitment one recalls the likes of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Annie
Beasant and Mother Teresa to be the shining examples in this category.
Even the worst of communalist would not have objected to Maulana Azad
holding the post of Indian National Congress or than becoming the education
minister just because he was not born in this part of the land.
Where does one draw
the cut off date? A person of Indian origin in the proper sense of the
word is the current dictator of Pakistan, and had been the most hated
name just prior to the cricket series. A person of Pakistani origin
happens to hold the post of Deputy Prime minister in India currently.
Today there are
some countries where their constitution says that only person who has
been born in that country can be Prime minister or President. There
are also countries where such a norm does not prevail. Our constitution
does not hold any prescription about he place of birth of the citizen.
Citizenship is the criterion for holding the top posts. To begin with
those saying that being born in this land is a must, are saying something,
which violates the Indian constitution. Any way the people of Sangh
combine, who began it all, have no respect for this constitution, as
this constitution has emerged from the freedom struggle, due to India
becoming a modern nation state through the anti British struggle, with
which they had nothing whatsoever to do. They are itching with all their
might to do away with this and are waiting in the wings to do so. None
other than RSS supreomo K.Sudarshan went on to say the same.
like Sharad Pawar and Amma, those who have picked up the cue initially
thrown in the circuit by RSS progeny, are doing so in a purely opportunistic
way. Sharad Pawar who broke away from the Congress on this ground did
come back to ally with the same party for electoral reasons. Amma and
others again are playing the role of holier than thou, lacking other
political issues they are trying to make an issue out of it. It can
whip up emotions in section of society, that's for sure. This politics
like the one of Ram temple movement is a sort of one based on emotional
Is being a citizen
not good enough for holding any post of the people find you fit enough
for that? The transnational movement of people across the countries
is on the rise. Many of those who are of Indian origin are active in
the politics in other countries. Sonia Gandhi or no Sonia Gandhi the
guidelines should be derived from the constitution. We have multitude
of examples of Islamic countries, where fundamentalism prevails, where
the concept of citizenship is
modulated according to the whims of the ruling coterie. Taliban in Afhganistan
during their brief tenure did dictate about how people of different
religions should wear and behave.
In our own country
books of Golwalkar and Savarkar have given the guidelines about the
status and ranking of citizenship according to their religion. Savarkar
defines the citizen on the ground of one's Holy land and Father land.
Golwalkar calls Christians and Muslims as Foreign races. If we keep
going back in time the results will be disastrous. Mahatma Jotiba Phule
calls the Arya Bhats as the invaders, and thereby foreigners. In Shrilanka,
the dominant Buddhists called themselves as the first comers and so
having a bigger ownership of the country. Golwalkar also says that the
county is in possession of the Hindu race, and the Muslims and Christians,
who as they are foreigners, should have no citizenship rights. When
this was being written large section of Muslims and Christians were
participating in the process of building of India as a nation state
through the struggle for freedom, along with the Hindus and people of
all the religions of the country.
Where will the logic
of all this takes us is any body's guess. The politics should operate
within the constitutional limits, it should be purged of the
emotive content so that the real issues of the people are to the fore
and there by headway can be made for a more egalitarian society, a society
where the concept of human rights is the final arbiter of social and