Your prolonged silence on the little matter of the Indian elections compels me to write to you. It may have passed you by, or you may have been holed out in a cave with best friends, so you missed the spectacle of the world’s largest democracy concluding a fair, free and peaceful election involving 800 million registered voters.
It is evident that you must have found out a full 48 hours later that this democratic process resulted in a resounding mandate for the BJP and its allies under the leadership of Narendra Modi. The people of the largest democracy on the planet view this as a transformational change for the economic and social progress of their country. The Indian people have spoken!
You, as leader of the official Opposition in the UK Parliament and claiming to be a statesman with aspirations to be elected our PM, would, I am sure, understand the impact of this.
Like thousands of British Indians, I was a tad disappointed, but neither surprised nor impressed that you chose to hide yourself. But then, that’s been quite a habit for you, eh, Ed? You are doing a fine job as leader of Her Majesty’s official Opposition. If we cannot trust you to keep an eye on what has been termed the “biggest event in History”, then heaven forbid leaving you in charge of the rubbish bins, or the hospital beds, or the school whiteboards, never mind the defence of Her Majesty’s realm!
Your silence reflects poorly on you and the party that you claim to lead. Now, after countless efforts by a multitude of us Indo-Brits, it seems you have come out of your stupor and finally, and on Sunday afternoon, May 18th, you found time to wish Mr Modi and the Indian nation well. The vibes from social media and your mailbox this week must have been really electric for you. British Indians – Hindu and non-Hindu – have expressed a resounding wave of endorsement of Mr Narendra Modi.
Your silence is an insult to all who respect democracy everywhere and more specifically to Indians, who make up a sixth of Humanity. You have disrespected their pride, their culture and above all, their democratic will to elect their leaders. Don’t be surprised if your slumber hurts Britain’s prospects with an emergent India on the global stage in trade, technology innovation, education, culture and security, should you be lucky to be our PM next year.
Your silence speaks volumes as to where the allegiance of the Labour party, under your leadership, truly lies. It exhibits your mere pretension to statesmanship, and that, for the Labour party, democracy is not a matter of principle but only acceptable so long as it suits your narrow vote bank interests.
You were also silent during the months leading to the Indian elections when the House of Commons was blatantly used by certain Labour MPs, to spread hate, terror and misinformation about Mr Modi in particular and Hindus in general.
That this has happened on your watch will not be forgotten in a hurry.
Jay Jina is a UK-based third generation NRI. After a business career, most recently as a European IT Director with a multinational, Jay is now an independent consultant and a part time university academic in Technology Management, Business and Mathematics. Jay’s interests span history, current affairs, the Indian Diaspora and the history and politics of Science.