There is nothing like an Indian Muslim PM

Why should anyone want to know how long it will take for India to have a Muslim prime minister? How does it matter?

Some student from Aligarh Muslim University asked this to Rahul Gandhi; he used the term ‘wazir-e-azam’ to make the Muslimness stand out. Stupid.

I am happy with the way Rahul responded:

“Merit is the only password for the top job in the country, religion is no qualification. What will clinch the issue of one’s suitability (for PM) is one’s competence. Other factors are not just secondary, but insignificant. Let me tell you that even when you do have a Muslim prime minister, he will be a prime minister because he is the most capable person.”

Absolutely. It does not matter that merit is often not the criterion; there is nepotism, there is dynasty, there are mai-baaps waiting with protégées tugging at their dhoti-sherwani-saree. Yet, it is an important statement and it is time people stopped posing such queries. What does one expect from a Muslim PM, anyway?

S/he has to follow the Constitution, has to be answerable to the party General Secretary, has to do Diwali patakhas and Eid iftaar and as a sidelight add some Christmas Santa act and Sikh stuff and whatever it is that Buddhists and Jains do. In effect, be a part-time kafir, if you follow the rule books as interpreted by some rule-book types. After all this fancy dress competition, you make the rounds of various dead people’s graves, place flowers, and look sombre. Then put on an international face and go to summits where you make India sound like a global superpower, and add some concern about the environment and terrorism; usually it is the same thing if you follow Obama and not Al (I mean Gore, not Capone).

You return home and deal with the saffron rightwing, who will say you are going green. The jamaati rightwing will expect you to be jamaat type. Then the PM will hold forth on secularism this and secularism that. The world will say, look, look, India has a Muslim PM. We will be called a real democracy, while Wazir-e-whatever has no clue about little bastis, unless it is election time and one snotty Dalit kid is placed on her/his lap. Back to the jeep, Mossie begum/saab will ask for sanitiser. Some enthusiastic bloke will whisper if it has to be halal. PM will be in a fix so someone will bring out ittar-soaked wet wipes. Everyone will applaud secular India, secular PM, secular people. When what really is happening is that it is the religions, stupid. So, cut it out.

We had a Muslim President who happily signed the Emergency edict. (Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed during Indira Gandhi’s time.) Corrupt people in power, spineless fellows will remain just that. Their faith should be relegated to the private domain. It has no place in the public sphere at all.

Therefore, thumbs up to Rahul. Although he kind of tempered it by promising “there would be 30 young Muslim faces in the political centrestage in five years”. Why? How will they suddenly spring out from the merit quota?

And why must they be referred to as Muslims at all? The day we stop adding such tags in public life, we can say we have truly grown up as a society and a polity.


  1. FV,
    Baba has missed out some important notes from his History Tutor.
    Farooq Abdullah was denied Vice Presidency because he is a "kashmiri Muslim". He himself has Kashmiri Pandit Lineage (some Mililiters )
    Other Than DeveGowda who is a Kanadiga Lingayat and Narashmiha Rao (Telegu Brahmin) Tam Bramhs have never been PM (risk to pushing Tam over Hindi)basically due to their aversion to a Voilent Conflict.
    Gujral and Manmoham Singh both are Kshatriyas.
    He is wrong , caste and place of Birth play an important role ....btw ,,,why he didnt he ask Mamma ....Mamma why arent u PM before discussing this in a University...
    The fact that Baba deoesnt realise that Census Data from each constituency is used in Akbar Road for choice of Candidate...infact that is the only use of Census data...
    long way away from dropping Tags ..they are here to stay.

  2. For those of us who still remember, Rafi Ahmed Kidwai was quoted as saying that people will forget Mr. Nehru as he was considered as one of the most capable , honest and hardworking memebr of Mr. Nehru's cabinet and there was a chance had Mr. Nehru gone for retirement as he once suggested, Mr. kidwai could have been the prime minister. Unfortunaley Mr. kidwai passed away long before Mr. Nehru.
    India had two muslim president and a Chief Justice of the Supereme Court. There is no reason why a muslim can't or wouldn't be a prime minister- one only has to look at Man Mohan Singh- even though not elected.

  3. If there is quota for SC and ST why not Muslims?Sachar report says they are backward so they must be given opportunity.One bad president is not reason to stop whole community

  4. Ms. FV
    If you contend " why must they be referred to as Muslims at all?'then by implication you must also be against the very premise of partition of the subcontinent.

  5. Manish:

    Why are you saying ‘never’; it has been just 62 years. Mohammed Hidayatullah was acting Prez twice and VP; amazingly witty chap. Currently we have Mohd Ansari. Farooq Abdullah should be given some diplomatic assignment in Africa or something.

    Gowda was a useless fellow and rao did have some good qualities and should be credited (if people go for such things) with the real liberalisation policies.

    Gujral’s tenure was pretty ok and neither he nor Manmohan Singh saw themselves as Kshatriyas. The important thing is how the guys portray themselves too.

    Rahul did not ask Mamma because she ought not to be the PM. He knows it, she knows it. Are you saying, gulp, it is because she is Christian or of Italian origin. If it is the latter, there is more to it than that.

    The Census data are rarely right and we do have vote banks and people will be used. The point is the person should not remain with that tag in public life.


    As I wrote in the post, most people get into powerful positions because of various reasons that may have nothing to do with their capabilities. Again, whether or not a Muslim becomes a PM is not of major importance. It is important that Muslims can lead a life of dignity and get opportunities in their professional and daily lives irrespective of their faith.


    The opportunities you talk about have to do with basic issues, not whether to head a government. I mentioned F. Ahmed only to drive home the point that there are bad eggs in every community and one cannot use the Sachar committee Report when a pampered film star does not get a house or someone does not get a prime govt. post.


    If you contend "why must they be referred to as Muslims at all?” then by implication you must also be against the very premise of partition of the subcontinent.

    I did not say Muslims must cease to be Muslims or be recognised as such in their lives or even as the largest minority. The premise of the Partition was about a group of people who wanted to move out. Okay? Yes, it had to do with politicians, but that political drama was egocentric. And there were real issues of communal disaffection.

    There are secessionist movements on right now in India.

  6. Why should there be a Muslim Prime Minister in India? Muslim should either choos good Hindus or bad Muslims. Muslims don't need imposed Leaders and a puppet Prime Minister. Muslims don't need Najma Hibtullah, a corrupt Farooq Abdullah etc. Rahul's Pa played Hindu card with the help of Hindutva militants. He was responsible for the woeful plight of Muslims in India. The Congress Party turned Muslims into Sachar vultures. Now Muslims have forgotten their demands of implementation of Sri Krishna Commision. Why Hindu Leaders are allowed to publish anti muslim articles in Samna, Organiser etc. I wonder where are equal rights.
    Fascist hindus openly claim to demolish Babri Masjid and threaten Government that their arrest will met with dire consequences. Congress and NCP's Muslims MPs/MLAs become flabbergasted when asked about the implementaion of Sri Krishna Commisions. Who is better, Lalu Prasad or self-assumed muslim Neta Salman Khurshid, Teesta Sitalvad or Gani Khan Chowdhry?
    Muslim should decide this.
    They should elect Mukul Sinha and should boycott Husain Dalwais or Mukhtar Naqvis. There are a lot of good Hindu brothers.Embrace them. Teach lesson to Congress and NCP.

  7. By heart most Muslims yearn for at least Muslim PM -may be extension of belief that they once ruled most of India. This could have become possible today in undivided India consisting of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. But irony is that the grandfathers of these very same dreamers were responsible for partition. Their act has left their own grandchildren who remained back a whole confused lot. Some dreaming and some going to the extreme so as to justify jihad. But very few seem to feel sorry for the deeds of their grandfathers, which has put them into such a situation. Why most of these people are so tight-lipped about Kashmir? Why none of them are emphasizing the need to integrate Kashmir into rest of India? Would it not justify their yearn for Muslim PM in a pluralistic India?


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