Minutes after it was announced that Rishi Sunak would become the UK’s next prime minister, leaders from India’s liberal stable tweeted praising the UK for allowing a member of the minority community to to occupy the top job, and quickly used it as an opportunity to question whether India would ever be progressive enough to do the same. As usual, this lot proved too mentally colonized, and too ignorant on many levels, to even have an opinion that should be taken seriously. However, this is a serious question regarding history and civilization, and so it is time for serious analysis to be advanced so that public discourse can see beyond these Nehruvian novices.
To begin, let’s refresh our memories of only eight and a half years ago. India had Manmohan Singh, a famous economist who belonged to one of the smallest minorities in the country, leading us as Prime Minister for the tenth consecutive year. How and why the leaders of the liberal brigade completely obliterated themselves about him and made their case as if he did not even exist or had never become the Prime Minister of India is to put it in the sweetest, most disrespectful terms. Not just Manmohan Singh, but as has been pointed out, India has had three Muslim presidents. What Liberal Brigade leaders mean by minority remains unclear, although if they included communities such as tribes in their definition, the incumbent president of India they have branded as a rubber stamp would also the case.
Another argument against their line of thinking is that India gave its largest minority two whole countries upon independence, and therefore India doesn’t really owe anyone an explanation. Moreover, the only state where the minority community is in the majority has never elected a chief minister from any other community. But these arguments are handy fruit for engaging with the liberal brigade in a superficial way. There is a need to expose their mentality, their hypocrisy and their sense of history, at more fundamental levels.
To begin with, the underlying assumption, while using an event like the rise of Sunak to preach to Indians, is that the British public as a whole has thrown their racial prejudices in the trash and risen above of these archaic considerations to elect someone who belongs to a minority. . The realities on the ground, in fact, indicate just the opposite. Sunak is unfortunately not the people’s choice; the country’s electoral mandate was never for him. Despite his admirable administrative background, despite his proven credentials in economics at a time when it is essential, Sunak only landed the top job as a last resort. The country seems to have adopted and exhausted all possible means to keep him out of power, until there is literally nothing left. A total disaster as Liz Truss first had a chance until lettuce beat her, and only after Boris Johnson refused to return to work and Penny Mordaunt pulled out of the race, that this crown of thorns was placed on the man of Indian descent. .
This phenomenon was best demonstrated by a conversation a British caller had with an LBC host on live TV in the UK, which has now gone viral on social media. In it, the caller makes an inconsistent case against Sunak for minutes, despite being refuted by the host every step of the way. The caller struggles to find a single good reason for Sunak not to be prime minister, or to clearly demonstrate why one of the other options is better than Sunak. And yet he persists, until he is called out to be a racist who will only accept a white man for the highest position. The caller eventually admits it, telling the host that the country is, after all, eighty-five percent white. “These things are important, I’m sorry you don’t like it,” the caller tells the host at the end. In 2022, the mentality that Indians are the “white man’s burden,” or as Sunak’s predecessor Winston Churchill described us as “a beastly people with a beastly religion,” persists.
Essentially, Sunak becoming Prime Minister is not a flashy display of a mature democracy as India’s liberal brigade portrays it, but rather something that inadvertently eludes the goalkeeper, and an extremely vigilant goalkeeper. It is not a test that the UK passed with flying colors; the test has only just begun. It remains to be seen how the country will treat its first non-Christian Prime Minister, not directly elected by the people but simply a product of circumstances. Will the media target him constantly and for no reason? Will the people drive him out of office at the first opportunity? The UK litmus test has only just begun now. Yet for India’s liberal brigade, they have already passed the test with flying colors. That’s typical of them, as they have a long history of giving the UK a free pass on many issues.
The basic reason for the pass they keep giving the UK is that they basically subscribe to the British version of Indian history, especially the part about India’s freedom struggle. This version may have benefited their political masters at one time, but the only beneficiary today is the UK. Essentially, this version of our freedom struggle, more than giving undue credit to those who had little impact, casts the British as benign, reasonable colonizers, who responded positively to ideas like Ahimsah and satyagraha. This version allows the British to erase their own atrocities, thefts, racism and destruction, as well as versions about Indian revolutionaries, Subhas Chandra Bose’s INA, and Indian mutineers who literally drove the empire out. After all, they must pretend to be responsible members of the international community. Consequently, their PR machinery has been working overtime for decades and India’s liberal brigade, consciously or not, has become a key part of it.
Today it is claimed that there was no India before the arrival of the British, despite the fact that their society, which originally settled before the monarch took power, was known as East India Company name. It is claimed that the British gave us our railways and that we should be grateful to them, conveniently ignoring the fact that they plundered us in broad daylight, taking us from the wealthiest part of the world to generations of shortage. It is another fact that the East India Company has now been taken over by an Indian entrepreneur, and despite plundering the wealth of the whole world, the country has plunged itself into such an economic mess that a native man Indian has now been appointed to save them, but I digress.
Apart from stealing and completely destroying several indigenous cultures around the world, this empire committed genocides across the continent, caused famines, engaged in slavery and torture, introduced narcotics into entire kingdoms and caused conflicts that continue to plague the world today. And yet, when Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia or the Taliban are viewed as historically unacceptable models in the civilized world, colonial or imperial Britain gets a pass.
This is the level of distortion and evil that the Indian liberal brigade has internalized. Despite two centuries of colonialism, they continue to admire the empire, always ready to preach to their fellow Indians in the twinkling of an eye, and that too on how we must be more avant-garde and follow in the sacred footsteps of our former settlers. Obviously, memory was not their strong suit. But they must be reminded that liberalism, progressivism, multiculturalism and the rules-based order of which their favorite empire is a proud defender in the international community are values which are rather new to them and far from being still soaked.
The responsibility rests with the British alone, and will for many decades if not centuries to come. A country or civilization like India really has nothing to prove to anyone, much less a 21st century monarchy with an official state religion.
The writer is an author and political commentator. He is the author of the book, ‘Himanta Biswa Sarma: From Boy Wonder to CM’. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not represent the position of this publication.
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