Notes on the Atrocities
Like a 100-watt radio station, broadcasting to the dozens...

Tuesday, May 18, 2004  

Sacred and Profane

Then next Gandhi to rule India will not be Sonia. Under pressure from those delightful Hindu Nationalists, who said they would not accept a foreign-born leader, Prime-Minister-apparent Sonia Gandhi decided to step aside.

"The post of prime minister has not been my aim," she told a meeting of Congress members of parliament. "I would follow my inner voice. Today it tells me that I must humbly decline this post."

For those of you not fully steeped in Indian politics and society, let me give you some subtext here. Hindu nationalists, much like fundamentalist Christians, have a sort of messianic view about their role in history. As Brahmanic caretakers to the universe (literally), they must strive against corruption. Corruption, in the old fundamental, Vedic sense, comes from everyone who's not "twice-born"--or from the upper castes. That of course includes Italians.

Their pressure on Sonia is the worst kind of race (karmic?) politics, and Sonia's retreat is a victory for the theocrats. That's the bad news. The good news is that, after a golden period of economic growth that obscurred their true nature, the Hindu nationalists are again reminding the nation why they are so dangerous. By demanding Sonia step aside, they prove their unfitness to rule.

Talk now is that Manmohan Singh, the architect of India's 1991 economic liberalisation is the front runner to take office. Truth is, he may be a better leader than Gandhi. (Though Gandhi's willingness to step aside for the good of the country ironically recommends her to the post.) This is just dirty politics--nothing worse than the far right here who argue that "God hates __________." The democracy is still fine. Still, if anyone needed a reminder of why it's good to see the BJP the hell out of office, this is it.

posted by Jeff | 7:41 AM |
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