While the Indian chatterati and commentariat seem to be plumping for a Hillary/Obama victory in the US presidential elections in November, in The Telegraph, Calcutta, Ashok Mitra explains why Indians seem back the Labour Party in Britain and the Democratic Party in the United States:
“Indians lucky enough to belong to the upper strata, have long clung to a particular conviction: while British Tories are mostly abominable, the Labour Party is splendid, it has been consistently sympathetic toward our national aspirations. [In the pre-Independence era] the overlap of Fabian Socialists in the ranks of the Labour Party as well as the Indian League could hardly be ignored. In contrast, the Conservative Party, Indians loved to assume—and not altogether without reason—represented the whole lot of Colonel Blimps, rude, snobbish, racial-minded. Even the hamhandedness, or worse, displayed by the Labour government in settling the terms of Independence—including the country’s partitioning—did not quite sully the Labour image to the Indian middle-class: the Labourites were upright, generous, full of the milk of human kindness….
“A similar genre of idée fixe has marked the attitude of Indians towards the Democratic and the Republican parties in the United States of America. Woodrow Wilson’s Fourteen Points, which led to the establishment of the League of Nations at the end of World War I, had brought cheer to the leadership of the Indian National Congress. A few decades later, they were similarly fired up by Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s strident call for Four Freedoms and his letter to Winston Churchill at the height of World War II urging the immediate grant of independence to India. Indians have ever since tended to paint the Democratic Party in the most romantic colours. Democrats, the belief persisted, are more supportive than the Republicans of the anti-colonial movements that swept the middle decades of the 20th century…. On the other hand, despite awareness of its Abraham Lincoln legacy, the Republican Party seems to have been generally regarded in Indian quarters as the epitome of both isolationism and social conservatism.”
Read the full article: Distant onlookers