The United States has begun voting in a landmark election which many believe will make an African-American the occupant of 1600, Pennsylvania Avenue for the next four years. The prospect is extraordinary for one key reason: racial segregation in the US ended just 40 years ago, and it has taken Barack Hussein Obama just four years to make the journey and gain acceptance despite blacks accounting for just 13.9 per cent of the population. Even if Obama loses, very fact that he has managed to come thus far is not to be sniffed at.
Are Indian voters capable of making such a seminal leap? Do we have it in us to shed the baggage of the past (and the present)? Is the majority willing to consider and accept a member of the minority for the top executive post? And let’s ask it: although the more apt comparison of Blacks should be with Dalits, and although there is no advertised segregation in our country, can a Muslim ever become India’s prime minister?