Sonia Gandhi must be regretting having allowed herself to be persuaded to join politics at the instance of small-time political operators who had no bases of their own but wanted to use their perceived proximity to her for self-aggrandisement.
The expulsion of Sharad Pawar, P.A.Sangma and Tariq Anwar was inevitable, considering the culture of sycophancy in the Congress which holds that any dissidence against a member of the ?dynasty? (even if indirectly by marriage) is a treasonable act. It is intellectually dishonest to label this issue as an outcome of communalism or xenophobia. Surely, a combination of Pawar, a Hindu, a Christian and Tariq Anwar, a Muslim, who were only a month back praised as top secularists and the first two recognised even by their opponents as of Prime Ministerial mettle cannot suddenly have become communal, unless of course the premise is that anyone who does not accept the undisputed leadership of Sonia Gandhi and the Congress party'sjunior partners, the Communists, is automatically to be branded as communal. It is also wrong as some well meaning academics seem to suggest that the question of foreign origin is an attack on our multi-religious society.
In the United States, Article 11(4) of the Constitution provides that ?no person except a natural born citizen…shall be eligible for the office of President.? Thus Henry Kissinger US citizen and erstwhile Secretary of State, whose brilliance and statecraft are beyond doubt is ineligible to stand for President. Similarly Khorana, Nobel laureate, who I take it is now a citizen of the US and is settled there for decades is ineligible, having been born in India. Madeleine Albright, US citizen and the present Secretary of State whose ferocious loyalty to the US is shown by her hawkish stance in Kosovo has to remain content and accept that she can never become President of the US, having been born in Czechoslovakia. In the United Kingdom, the law provides that ?no person born out of the Kingdoms of England, Scotland or Ireland or the dominions thereof…shall be capable to be of Privy Council or a Member of either House of Parliament?. Would the apologists of Sonia Gandhi call these legislations racial or communal?
I believe there is a good reason for restricting the highest offices to natural-born citizens. A person who has spent a good part of her life in the country of its birth acquires a culture, memories and loyalties which subconsciously continue to have a permanent influence on him or her. Thus even if he or she adopts the citizenship of another country, the subconscious link with the country of birth remains powerful. A recent news item of young Indians and Pakistanis born in England and whose families have acquired British citizenship years ago, still cheering Indian and Pakistani cricket teams against the English team of their co-citizens much to the annoyance of Englishmen is of relevance in this context.
Some apologists of Sonia give the example of Annie Besant who became Congress president, even though no born in India. Nothing can be a more unfair to the memory of that great leader. Annie Besant, who had already made a name for herself in British political life before she came to India, spent a lifetime here to fight against British imperialism.
Annie Besant'sinstance is of those souls who were willing to don the mantle of sacrifice, deprivation and imprisonment who did not join a race for the coveted plums of the highest executive office. Incidentally it may be emphasised that there was no separate Indian citizenship prior to 1947. Both Jawaharlal Nehru and Annie Besant had the same citizenship, namely, British.
Sonia Gandhi must be regretting having allowed herself to be persuaded to join politics at the instance of small-time political operators who had no bases of their own but wanted to use their perceived proximity to her for self-aggrandisement. She was enjoying the privileges of a Queen Mother, but the moment she decided to become a reigning queen, such like situation was bound to arise.
Politics is a cruel game. One feels distressed that many well-meaning persons, though rightly against the Sangh parivar'scommunalism and obscurantism, are yet ignoring the equal danger of dynastic feudal zamindari politics being revived by the Congress party. The Communist wooing of Sonia seems inexplicable unless one recollects what de Tocqueville said, ?In politics shared hatreds are almost always the basis of friendship?.
But that is not how the evil of communalism can be fought; only a people-oriented programme to expose the hollowness of both the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party would be effective. One would have thought that the action of Sharad Pawar and others would stir the Congressmen to free themselves from the shackles of dynastic leadership. But the rot has gone too deep.