Can a Muslim or Christian become Indian PM?

Published: 12:22 AM, 27 Oct, 2022
Can a Muslim or Christian become Indian PM?
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After the nomination of Rishi Sunak, an Indian-origin Hindu, as Prime Minister of the UK, a debate has been initiated not only in India but also in other parts of the globe at different levels, whether a Muslim or Christian or a person following a religion other than Hinduism can become prime minister of India or not.   

India did not see any Muslim or Christian as its prime minister since 1947, though there have been presidents, supreme court judges, and even army commanders from these communities.  

The people are of the view that if Kamala Harris, an Indian-origin woman can become the Vice President of America and Sunak can become England’s Prime Minister, will an Indian-born Muslim or Christian ever become the prime minister of India?

The liberal Hindus claimed that Religion does not matter when it comes to becoming the prime minister of India and a Muslim or Christian can get the top job provided they are the most capable person for the job. They argued it is not about what religion or community they come from, it is what they bring to the table, and what capability they have.

However, others view that if it does not happen in 75 years, how much more time will it take for India to have its first Muslim or Christian prime minister?

If minorities are not capable of this job in India, how minorities are eligible for doing the job in England and America?

Most Pakistanis think that India's politics now is at a point where no person other than Hindu will be able to become prime minister or President. A tribal woman has become the President of India for the first time, will any Muslim or Christian become the prime minister? This means that this will never happen.

After 1947, India has been ruled by prime ministers who have been members of socially dominant groups or numerically larger populations, thus indicating a less-than-equitable distribution of power at the top-most level of Indian polity.

As many as 13 personalities served as India’s prime minister since 1947. Religion-wise, twelve prime ministers have been Hindu, while Manmohan is the lone Sikh.

Besides VP Singh and Dev Gora, the rest has been from upper-caste Hindus.

Of these twelve (Jawaharlal Nehru, Lal Bahadur Shastri, Indira Gandhi, Morarji Desai, Charan Singh, Rajiv Gandhi, V P Singh, Chandra Shekhar, P V Narasimha Rao, I K Gujral, Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Manmohan Singh), six have been Brahmins (Nehru, Indira, Desai, Rajiv, Rao and Vajpayee), though Rajiv also had Parsi blood in him.

Of the remaining six, two have been Rajputs/Thakurs (V P Singh and Chandra Shekhar), two Khatris (I K Gujral and Manmohan Singh), one Jat (Charan Singh) and one Kayastha (Lal Bahadur Shastri).

Categories : Opinion
Manzoor Qadir

The writer is a senior journalist who remained associated with major English daily newspapers. He is currently working with 24Digital as Assitsant News Editor.