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Thursday, May 10, 2012

Can Muslim Indian become Prime Minister of India?


 “Can a Muslim Indian become Prime Minister of India?” The answer is "no" at this time. However, there were two presidents and a vice president since independence.  This essay explores the possibilities. 

Patriotism of Indian Muslims is no different than other Indians, there is nothing less or more about it. Even to think about it is dumb. No one should ask if one loves his or her mother, it is between them and it is none of anyone's business. Muslims are the sons and daughters of the soil as everyone else.

However, the time for an Indian Muslim to become a Prime Minister has not come yet and there are reasons for it.  I am writing this piece particularly to address the questions from non-Indians,  and like all humans,  I defend my country with my heart, mind, and soul. We have flaws, but we are a great nation and we are going to fix it. 

Muslims have gotten behind,  far behind, even behind the Dalits who 'were' not allowed to prosper or even get an education in our society.  Part of it is their own fault, and part of it is the bias in the system.  Dr. Shariff has identified those issues in the Sachar Report; indeed, there are areas where Muslims don’t even have a primary school, let alone electricity, their poverty prevents them from having their own regular school just as it used to happen with the Dalits.  

Fortunately, Dalits have had reservations and incentives to uplift themselves up which Muslims don’t have.  A man living in such areas simply cannot think of anything but getting his or her kid to a school, and unfortunately, the home-based schools do not prepare the child to join the labor force in the market.

The society at large represented by the Government has failed him. It is in the interests of all Indians to pull up those in ditches and bring them up on to a level playing field, and then they can compete, as has happened with the Dalit community. The more we invest in human development – that is investing in making every Indian a productive citizen, which will add him to the consumer market, which in turn will increase production of goods and services, and that requires employees. Thus, the cycle gets activated and everyone will see the prosperity.

My prosperity hinges on the prosperity of people around me; I will get richer when other people get better financially. Remember Bill Gates? If he was insecure or jealous that his employees are becoming millionaires, he would not have become a billionaire. If more Muslims get the education, India is the beneficiary and every Indian will benefit from the resulting prosperity. It is the patriotic thing to uplift a fellow Indian instead of finding faults. Muslims who are employed are more productive than fellow Indians simply because they are determined to prove, they have to be 150% good to be equal to a 100% Hindu for instance.

Until Muslims are uplifted onto a level playing field, the scope of their interest would remain limited. They cannot think of anything else other than taking care of the bare necessities and getting out of the hole.

Maslow's hierarchy of needs is a theory in psychology proposed by Abraham Maslow in his 1943 paper "A Theory of Human Motivation" in Psychological Review. His theories parallel many other theories of human developmental psychology, some of which focus on describing the stages of growth in humans. Maslow used the terms "physiological", "safety", "belongingness" and "love", "esteem", "self-actualization", and "self-transcendence" to describe the pattern that human motivations generally move through.

It is in the interest of society at large to see everyone on the same plane, we are all Indians, one India, and one community.  The more Indians we can get out of poverty, the more consumers we will add in the marketplace, who will drive the economic engine of producing and manufacturing things and thus creating jobs.  It will have a Multiplier effect, and then prosperity will reach everyone and when it does, it becomes sustainable. Deprive the 15% of the population their basic rights and access to education, employment, loans, jobs, housing and other necessities of life, you have a langda nation. Inequalities continue to create greater imbalance and everyone will lose at the end. 

Once we are out of the ditch, an Indian Muslim would be able to represent the interests of Indians at large without any guilt of ignoring the community.   When that time comes, you can compete with any Indian, regardless of the religion, language or state, and win the hearts and minds of people at large. A Muslim who will bring prosperity for all Indians will become the Prime Minister of India.  It will happen soon and India will shine and that is when sab ka vikas occurs. This is not understood by the right wing politicians in India and we have to work on having them see these values.

Prosperity is contagious and multiplies for the benefit of all.

Mike Ghouse 

Can an Indian American become President of the United States?

An excellent distinction was drawn by a friend, "being successful in America and being successful in politics are two different things."

However, the pessimist assertion that one has to belong to Abrahamic faiths to be politically successful is flawed. It may have to do with two of the successful 2nd generation Indians who chose to be Christians, Bobby Jindal, and Nikki Haley. It is short of making sense with so much anti-Mormon, anti-Semitism and anti-Muslim rhetoric around. Both Jindal and Haley are in the list of possible vice-Presidential candidates, if they would get elected, they stand a chance to become the President of the United States. Hypothetically the Vice President is considered the possible president.

The first generation immigrants (Hindus are a minority in the US like Muslims in India) are still not a part of the society, our interests are narrower, reflective of our own groups, once we become universal in our approach, and put America first, and then we will have universal acceptability from most segments of the American society.

The immigrant Indians, be it Hindu, Muslim, Christian or Sikh, have India's interests first over America's (Remember our behavior after Pokhran?) interests, the Arabs have their own interests over American Interest, and the Jews have Israel's interests first over American interests. Why should the majority of Americans who have American interests in their hearts elect someone whose loyalty to America comes second? Most of us are guilty of dual loyalty. 

A comment was made that a Muslim or a Sikh can be president of India, a Christian can be the defense minister, and would that happen in America? The commentator expressed a doubt if a Hindu or Buddhist will be elected President of the United States.

The story is different with India, where Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Jains, Buddhists and others have fought together for Independence; they have given their blood to earn the freedom. India is theirs, no one has an advantage over the other and thanks God for that. India is indeed an open society, we do have our share of bigots like all other nations, but still, it is not as blatant with the general population as it is with a few. 

Who gets to be the President or Prime Minister of India is not an issue, although the right-wing (insecure) politicians have made an issue from time to time.

A few among the Indian Americans are still prejudiced and totally bigoted. They have no qualms showing their blatant prejudice, they want to deny the full rights of citizenship to 
Dalits, Muslims and Sikhs in India whereas they enjoy the freedom and liberty given to each one of us regardless of our nationalities. I run a group called Dallas Indians with some 1800 Indians, with barely 50 Muslim members, a few bigots (about 10) have made repulsive and disgusting comments in it about other Indians.  

 as they believe, don't do unto us in America, what we do to fellow Indians back home. Some of the most bigoted Indians are 

The American story is different, we are all new here, and our numbers have become significant in the last 20 years and we have ways to go.

However, America is an open society, a true land of opportunity, and has done well giving a Catholic, and an African American a break. Despite a few bigots in the Republican Party, Romney will be the nominee; in fact, those bigots are back peddling now.

Jindal and Haley are Americans first, they will go against India if they have to, you and I don’t have the balls to do that. We are too worried of being branded “drohi” by fellow “Desh drohi’s”. To put it bluntly, our loyalties are yet to be tested.

The day, we the Indian Americans demonstrate America first, no one will stop us from becoming the President of the United States.

Dr. Mike Ghouse is a community consultant, social scientist, thinker, writer, news maker, Interfaith Wedding officiant, and a speaker on Pluralism, Interfaith, Islam, politics, terrorism, human rights, India, Israel-Palestine, motivation, and foreign policy. He is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. Visit him (63 links) at www.MikeGhouse.net and www.TheGhousediary.com for his exclusive writings.

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