The appointment of Hindu-American of Indian descent Rishi Sunak as Prime Minister of Britain holds lessons for India, according to Congressman Shashi Tharoor. He elaborated on and strengthened his point regarding the importance of empowering “visible minorities” by posing the question, “Can someone who is not Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, or Jain become PM of India?”
He had previously received trolling on Twitter for the “visible minority” argument because his fellow Congressman Manmohan Singh, a Sikh, had served as PM for ten years. Additionally, he was informed that both Sikhs and Muslims had held the constitutionally mandated position of President of India, though it is primarily honorific.
“There is no doubt that Dr. Manmohan Singh is a member of a visible minority. However, most Hindus do not perceive Sikhs as distinct from them, the former international ambassador claimed.
He continued, highlighting how the Hindutva ideology views all religions born in the Indian subcontinent as similar “Indic” religions: “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?” he said.
“I feel we need to recognize — and I’ve been a critic of British racism — that after a history of overt racism, they decided to anoint a brown-skinned Hindu as their leader… Their worst traits have grown out of them, he claimed.
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.”
Mr. Tharoor stated, “I am delighted we are celebrating this because I hope this will make us think about our own country.” Rishi Sunak’s victory teaches us that race is not the only factor—it certainly plays a role.
“The BJP is lying when they say we’ve already advanced to the point where the British has, “he added.
“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.
Rishi Sunak, 42, is the youngest UK prime minister in two centuries.
He noted that only five years after first becoming an MP, Rishi Sunak was appointed finance minister of the UK in 2020. At most, he would still be wearing a Minister of State tag in India.
When Mr. Tharoor, now 66, joined Manmohan Singh’s cabinet as a Minister of State in 2009, he was roughly 53. He served in that capacity until 2014.