SONIA GANDHI

images.jpg

This week’s BAB is taken from Feminist E-Zine.com

Sonia Gandhi is the President of the Indian National Congress and leader of the United Progressive Alliance — the ruling party in the lower house of India’s Parliament. Her position in government is one of the highest offices in the world’s second most populous nation (the most populous democratic nation).

Gandhi would have been the Prime Minister of India, except that in a surprise move she turned down the position when it was offered to her, choosing instead to retain her position in the nation’s legislature. She’s no stranger to the office, however; her husband, Rajiv, served as India’s Prime Minister from 1984-1989. He was assassinated in 1991, which was determined to have been carried out by the Tamil Tigers in retaliation for his sending peace-keeping troops into Sri Lanka. He himself had gained the position after the assassination of his mother by her own Sikh bodyguards. It seems understandable, then, that Sonia Gandhi would turn down the office, perhaps believing that she might have a better chance at helping her nation from the legislature.

Although she is not India’s Prime Minister, Gandhi exerts an enormous amount of political power in the world’s most populous democracy. It was she who nominated the current Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh. Her son, Rahul, also won his bid for Parliament. All this, despite the fact that Sonia Gandhi is not originally from India. The daughter of ethnically Indian parents, she was born and raised in Italy and educated in the UK. She emigrated to India upon marrying Rajiv Gandhi, and yet her popularity among the Indian people has propelled her to the heights of power. Had she accepted the PM position, she would have been the Hindu nation’s first Roman Catholic leader.

Sonia Gandhi’s popularity is evidence that nations can overcome prejudices of gender roles, religion, and ethnicity in leadership, when the person in that position pursues the good of that nation over their own political ambition.

HAGS PodcastComment