It is a bit puzzling how Indian voters accepted an Italian woman, Sonia Gandhi, for leadership of Indian politics and even showed its willingness for her becoming the Prime-minister of our country. Personally I wouldn’t accept such a choice.
14 May 2004
(after finishing this article, the news has come that Sonia Gandhi has declined the post of PM of India)
I'm not surprised that you were glued to your TV late at night watching election results from India. It was not also surprising that you danced when you learnt a woman was going to become the Prime-minister of India. But you forgot that she was of Italian origin. I am amazed how we Indians of this century are insensitive to this issue.
Let us seek for an answer for this question from the history of India. One of the realistic observations of Indian historians is that Indians do not care who governs them but how they are governed. They do not want to be interfered with in their customs, religion and their way of worshipping their gods. This sentiment was particularly realised when British missionaries of Victorian age came to India in droves, early in the 19th.century, stood before Hindu temples, particularly during Hindu festival days trying not only to evangelise "the people in darkness" but also to ridicule their gods and the way they worshipped their gods which ultimately lead to the espy mutiny of 1857. But by and large, Indians have been tolerant of foreign intrusion, influence and dominance. They even adopted alien cultures breezing through the country brought by invaders in the past.
Alexander the Great reached up to Sind and Punjab in the fourth century B.C. bringing with him Hellenistic culture. Though his sojourn was brief the Greeks left behind their stamp in the sculpture of the period. It is said that the idols of Buddha were modelled after Greek statues.
The Muslim invasion of India started around the 10th century A.D. First they were plunderers but later in the 16th century they came as conquerors and stayed to govern vast areas of our country. Their rule was accepted even by the brave Rajput princess who served in the Mughal army and even accepted marriages between Mughal princes and Rajput princesses. Gradually the influence of Islam percolated in to the predominant Hindu population even to the extent of Hindus frequenting Muslim Darghas to worship there along with the Muslims. People became rebellious only when Aurangazeb revived the infamous tax on Hindus (non-Muslims).
The British came as traders and settled as rulers of India. Their influence on India culture was immense and they have left very valuable legacy behind when they left India in 1947. One of the most beneficial influence was the consolidation of the country in to one unit, India, under one government using one language of administration, English. Though the Indians thankfully accepted all the benevolent reforms, it also remembered that they were subject people and needed to be liberated.
When Gandhi was thrown out of the train in South Africa, in the middle of a cold night just because he was not 'white', even though he held a first class ticket and he was British educated lawyer, the seed of Indian national liberation was sowed by two unknown subordinate white servants of South African Railways. You know how hard it was for Gandhi to secure the freedom of the country.
Now an Italian woman of unknown status in her country, of doubtful educational qualification and much less experience in Indian political system and politics is elevated to occupy the highest seat this democracy offers - the prime-minister of India just because she enticed a male of the Nehru family and got married to him, remained an Italian for the first sixteen years of their marriage and adopted Indian nationality only when Rajiv became the PM of India. It is a shame to India, not because she is a woman,