May 17, 2004 3:10 pm


Here is an excellent email I received from Ram Narayanan of US-India Friendship:

India, the world's largest democracy, will soon have a Christian (Catholic) Prime Minister. India's President , elected last year, belongs to the Muslim faith. That the two top elected officials of this billion plus nation, which is 85 percent Hindu, belong to minority faiths, makes Indian democracy something unique in the world.

Is there a possibility of a similar situation ever happening in any of the older democracies such as the United States wherein both the top elected officials will belong to minority religions? Perhaps - but it's going to take a long, long really long time.

In this respect - as in many others - the world's most populous democracy has shown the way!

My only hope is that Sonia Ghandi will not do anything to undermine the internal and external progress Vajpay made it the past few years. They are truely bathbreaking.

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Irfan Khawaja - 8/4/2006

Vajpayee's "internal progress"? As in the mass murder of 1000-2000 Gujarati Muslims and the wholesale destruction of their homes, mosques, monuments, etc.? I'd like to think that Sonia Gandhi can do better than that.

Irfan Khawaja - 8/4/2006

I don't know enough about the ins and outs of India's economy to judge the significance of the stock market crash. But Klinghoffer's blurb wasn't so much about economics as it was about the status of minority groups in India. To speak of India's "breathtaking progress" on minority relations while ignoring Gujarat is simply obscene. And even if she had been talking exclusively about economics, does it really make sense to say, "Yeah, well, there was a pogrom in Gujarat...Hey! Look at that booming IT sector! Truly pathbreaking!"

Irfan Khawaja - 8/4/2006

Sorry, in the third sentence, I meant "pathbreaking progress".

Irfan Khawaja - 8/4/2006

Sorry, in the third sentence, I meant "pathbreaking progress".

Judith Apter Klinghoffer - 5/24/2004

Sorry for the delay in my response but my focus was economic progress (which seems safe under the new government) and relations with Pakistan, the US and Israel. Recent terrorism puts the first in jeopardy and Congress traditional policy does not bode well for the last two. But we shall see.

Jonathan Dresner - 5/18/2004

You're right, the focus of her post was minority rights, which certainly did not flourish under the BJP government. I've not heard anyone talk about social progress in the last few years.

I still think that "progress" refered to economic progress, which is what everyone talks about.

Unless she chooses to clarify it for us, we're just not going to know.

Jonathan Dresner - 5/17/2004

I think she means economic growth, though the current crash of the Indian stock market suggests that more of it was based on "atmosphere" and "hope" than on reality. And if it was a really strong growth, Congress wouldn't have been able to appeal to effectively to the hundreds of millions of Indians who have shared no benefits from it.

But I could be wrong.