Since the beginning of time, whether it has been feudalism, monarchy, dictatorship or democracy, political power play has always been at the heart of every governance.
The fabulous lessons of Lord Shri Krishna to his devotee Arjuna, who stood paralysed by his inner conflicts at the battlefield of Kurukshetra, was later known as 'Gita Sandesh'.
In an exclusive interview with our Asian Voice Managing Editor, Rupanjana Dutta, Tory party leadership contestant, Rishi Sunak, revealed a personal secret. His father-in-law and founder chairman of IT giant Infosys, Narayana Murthy, simply inspired Rishi to compete for the leadership role. Although personal wealth is a form of power too, but the power of state governance affects and encompasses all.
On the holy day of Janmashtami, Mr Sunak made a historic statement regarding his candidature. Addressing the guests at the Bhaktivedanta Manor, he made it clear that it did not matter who the majority of the Tory votes went to, but he was not going to withdraw from the race for the fear of losing.
Rishi Sunak is energetic, powerful and heroic. He is never afraid to embrace his upbringing, tradition, religion or values publicly. In my opinion, Mr Sunak is a man who never hesitates to take firm but necessary steps in fear of consequences. His determination to stand up for his own rights too shows a promising future.
My respected fellow readers, I think it is only fair to reiterate the history our British democracy - even if it’s only done superficially.
It has been almost 400 years since Oliver Cromwell rebelled. A fierce and violent war was waged against totalitarianism. The ruler was eventually killed, following which one could see the modernisation and dawn of democracy in Britain.
The party known as Whig Party until the 1920s, was later transformed into the Conservative Party. In the previous century, the Whig and Liberal Party were the main ruling parties. Compared to these two parties, the establishment of the Labour Party could still be considered a recent one.
The Labour Party was founded in the year 1900, and one of its founders was a Gujarati man - Shyamji Krishnavarma. This man of Kutchhi-origin gave a grant of 1000 pounds, 120 years ago, during the foundation of the party. Until the second and third decades of the last 20th century there was a direct contest between the liberals and conservatives. There were revolutionary changes in the beginning of the Second World War.
After World War II, the Labour Party won an absolute and massive majority during the 1945 election. The needy began to be allocated appropriate resources as well as aid. This led to the establishment of the National Health Service (potentially the best health service globally) in 1948.
Some politicians and media in this country have been saying that Britain’s democracy is more than 900 years old. Unfortunately anything sells in politics.
Iceland, in the North Atlantic with a population of four and a half million, has for a thousand years formed a government on the basis of one person - one vote. Earlier even in Britain, the ruler only used to appoint his known people to the Parliament.
In 1066, a French nobleman, the Duke of Normandy, with a handful of soldiers in a few ships came and invaded a small port at the southern tip of England. After conquering he gave a huge land…….and titles…..to his soldiers, chiefs and rich families. He formed a council of advisors and those members became the members of the ‘Parliament.’
Today's Britain has been a constitutional monarchy for the last hundred years. It is worth knowing that till 1915, leaders of political parties in Britain were appointed or selected from nobles or landed gentry (landlords) etc. The modern election process began only in 1911. and after the 1930s, industrialists, businessmen and mainly lawyers took the lead in politics.
After the outcome on September 5, the person elected as the leader of the Conservative Party will become UK’s Prime Minister for at least one and a half years. I strongly feel that Rishi Sunak is more likely to be elected. But, whether he is elected or not, it is no exaggeration that he has made history by being the first Asian man to come this far in Tory’s party’s leadership race and as the future Prime Minister of this country.
Speaking of Britain's democracy, let's take a quick look at the list of British Prime Ministers post-World War II.
Winston Churchill ran the country from 1939 to 1945.
He lost at the general elections in 1945. Clement Attlee was then elected to form a government. Labour won by a huge majority and the Liberal Party was sidelined.
In 1950-51 the Labour government was defeated and the Conservative Party won again. Once again Winston Churchill became the Prime Minister. After Churchill, Harold Macmillan of the Conservatives formed the government. Later Lord Hume succeeded him in power.
In 1964 the Labour Party won the general election with 3 seats more than the needed for a Commons majority. A few months later, Harold Wilson called another election. The election result gave the Labour Party a working majority.
However the Labour Party was defeated by Edward Heath's Conservative Party, but later Wilson became the Prime Minister again.
Wilson was succeeded by James Callahan in 1976 and the 'Iron Lady' Margaret Thatcher in 1979. Honoured to be the country's first woman Prime Minister, Mrs Thatcher led Britain on a path of economic progress. Her policies and revolutionising decisions made the country's economy stronger. And changed the face of Britain - then known as the 'Sickman of Europe'.
After the departure of the 'Iron Lady', John Major (1990-1997) provided strong leadership to the country. This was followed by Tony Blair (1997-2007). Followed by Gordon Brown from 2007-2010. In 2010, David Cameron took over as the country's Prime Minister in a Conservative government. He won the 2015 election and formed the government with Lib Dem party. After the Brexit debacle, his departure was followed by Theresa May (2016-2019). May left and in 2019 and Boris Johnson was elected as the Prime Minister and he came back with a clear majority. And now the countdown to the departure of 'BoJo' has begun.
Many Prime Ministers have come and gone, but David Cameron's valuable contributions during his tenure remains worth mentioning. Between 2010 and 2016 he gave chance to many ethnic candidates in the Tory Party, especially in the parliamentary elections. He also took the UK-India relationship to new heights. As a result of his equal and fair opportunity for all, we have eventually seen Mr Sunak as Britain’s Chancellor or witnessing him today in the party’s leadership race or as the Prime Ministerial candidate.
This is definitely not the end but only the beginning. We sincerely hope that Mr Sunak not only succeeds in his current endeavour but anything that he sets his heart to, even in the future.