Why Sardar Patel would have opposed NPR, NRC and CAA
Anyone born in India should be considered an Indian citizen. Period.
We have all heard of NRI families who consciously choose to have their baby in the United States so that the child is automatically a US citizen from day one. For this ‘privilege’ of jus soli, or citizenship by birth, NRIs must thank this man:
The Dred Scott case accelerated the anti-slavery movement that led to the US Civil War. Thereafter, in 1868, the United States passed the 14th amendment to the US Constitution that said, “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside…”
Words of Unity
He went on to argue, “I suggest for your consideration how many foreign men and women come to India for giving birth to children to acquire Indian nationality. It is a curious idea that for that purpose you introduce racial phraseology in our Constitution. It is important to remember that the provision of citizenship will be scrutinized all over the world. They are watching what we are doing….
It was this view that eventually prevailed. Anyone who was born in India was a citizen of India, or at least had the option to be. Re-affirming jus soli in the Citizenship Act of 1955, then Home Minister Gobind Vallabh Pant said, “The mere fact of birth in India invests with it the right of citizenship in India…we have taken a cosmopolitan view and it is in accordance with the spirit of the times, with the temper and atmosphere which we wish to promote in the civilized world.”
Xenophobic home ministers
|Rajiv Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi enjoying a South Indian meal with P Chidambaram looking on, 1989 | karti.chidambaram/Facebook|
L.K. Advani pushed through another amendment to the Citizenship Act in 2003 in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee years. This one decreed that if you are born on or after 3 December 2004, at least one of your parents must be an Indian citizen and the other parent must not be an illegal immigrant.
Why blame the child?
What is the fault of a child who is born in India, raised in India, with Indian culture and values, salutes the flag, sings the national anthem, and appreciates the Constitution? Let us say the child’s parents were both illegal immigrants, is it really fair to blame the child for it and make him/her a stateless person?
Threatening to strip people of their citizenship just because they can’t prove their parents’ nationality is a violation of fundamental human rights. Article 15 of the UN Declaration of Human Rights reads, “Everyone has the right to a nationality. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality.”