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Mainstream, VOL 60 No 45 October 29, 2022

Letter to the Readers, Mainstream, Oct 29, 2022

Saturday 29 October 2022

Letter to the Readers, Mainstream, October 29, 2022

The election this week of the immigrant minority origin Rishi Sunak as the Prime Minister of UK been painted with a broad brush by some as ‘a revenge from the colonies’ having a man born from South Asian diaspora in Africa attain the highest position in Britain —the former colonial power. Some politicians particularly the right-wing lot in India are falsely labeling the British Citizen Sunak as Indian to give it a further nationalist spin. They fail to recognize this as an achievement of the British system of representation. These people practice double speak and double standards when it comes to India … where minorities are ill-represented politically and there is no question of any person of foreign origin even the ones who are naturalized citizens reaching such political heights; India remains a conservative, divided society with many exclusions. In 2004 many of the same people from the ruling BJP and other political parties across India vigorously opposed even the remote possibility that Sonia Gandhi the leader of the Congress Party and an Indian citizen of Italian origins could become India’s Prime Minister. India is a diverse society where political parties are supposed represent all people and must reflect that diversity but India’s ruling Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) which has overwhelming majority in Parliament does not have a single Muslim MP in a country where Muslims are the largest minority. Top leaders of the BJP, including India’s home minister are on record making racist slurs on so-called migrants from Bangladesh as ‘termites’, even internal migrants inside India face violence and xenophobia. Foreign migrants from Afghanistan, from African countries and the Persian-gulf countries face rampant discrimination and it is not easy for them to transition to smooth naturalization even after decades of residence in India, forget about getting them elected as Prime Ministers or Presidents. The socially advanced political system in England clearly demonstrates a fair level of integration of migrants from former colonies and you see this in the very visible presence of members from minorities in all political parties including the Conservative party. (The same can be said about the United States and Canada to a certain extent) The BJP certainly shares a flag waving nationalism with the British conservatives and America’s Republicans but not the same ability to represent minorities at top positions inside its own party, or in top posts in its governments. Given the long connection of the Congress Party of India with India’s freedom movement it gave token accommodation of all regions and sections of India, hoping it will rebuild and further advance on that score. We hope that in future our Parliament, the state assemblies will become a different place when all political parties, trade unions and social movements in India will learn to represent all sectors of society and be open to people of all nationalities and origins without prejudice.

October 29, 2022 - HK

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