Do we need a foreign captain to hoist our national flag?
By B.C. Dutta
Even though the present Congress leadership is out to have a person of foreign origin as the Prime Minister of India, their earlier illustrious leaders held a different view, as is evident from their decision on the issue of succession to the Maharaja of Indore.
It may be recalled that in 1950 after the Indian Constitution came into force on January 26, 1950, the then Maharaja of Indore, Yashwant Rao Holkar, wanted his son Richard, born of his American wife, to succeed him as the ruler of Indore. However, the then President of India, Rajendra Prasad, Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Home Minister Sardar Patel objected, making it clear that the son of his foreign wife
could not succeed him. Hence, even though unprecedented, Maharaja'sdaughter, Usha Raje Holkar, born of his Hindu wife, was made the inheritor of Indore throne.
Thus in 1961, after the death of the Maharaja, his daughter Usha Raje Holkar was recognised as the next ruler of Indore by the Government of India, run by the Congress leaders such as Nehru, Rajendra Prasad and others. In deference to such precedence not only Smt Sonia Gandhi but her children, Priyanka and Rahul as well, cannot become the Prime Minister or the President of India. It is a pity that the present Congress under its new leadership takes pride in disregarding the precedence set by its illustrious leaders such as Nehru, Rajendra Prasad, Sardar Patel and others and find nothing wrong in projecting a citizen of foreign origin as India'sPrime Minister.
It may be mentioned here that earlier, a naturalised Italian citizen, Sonali Dasgupta of Indian origin, who married Italian film director Roberto Rossellini, was not allowed even to stand for a municipal election as Italian law did not permit it.
The people who are aware of Indian history may recall that 2000 years ago, Chanakya arranged the marriage of Chandragupta Maurya with the daughter of Selukas (the Greek General) to strengthen the ties between India and Greece. But it was agreed that neither Selukas'sdaughter nor her progeny would inherit the throne; only the child born of an Indian wife of Chandragupta Maurya would inherit it. So even 2,000 years ago the law governing foreign marriages and problems of inheritance arising out of them was well defined. So no foreigner can inherit Indian rulership.
It is surprising how the makers of our Constitution ignored this significant historical fact to make suitable provisions in the Indian Constitution so that the posts of President, Vice President and Prime Minister could be reserved for persons of Indian origin. It is difficult to visualise India-a country of over a billion people-being represented in international fora by a person of foreign origin.
America, the second largest democracy in the world, has the law barring a foreign citizen to contest for the President'spost. This does not affect America in being recognised as a democratic country. So India will still remain a democratic country, if it seeks to enact a law to bar a foreign-born citizen from becoming President or Vice President or Prime Minister.
It is encouraging to note that the BJP leaders are well aware of the position, though they could not take any legislative action in this regard as they lacked majority in the Rajya Sabha. However, it is expected that if the BJP comes to power after the ensuing general elections, it will take suitable legislative action in the matter.
(The writer is a retired IRS bureaucrat)