[singhing the praises of diversity]

Topic: India
On October 31, 1984, Indira Gandhi, India’s powerful and long-serving Congress prime minister, was assassinated by one of her Sikh bodyguards, who was retaliating for the attack she had ordered on the Golden Temple of Amritsar, the Sikhs’ holiest site. In the riots that followed, nearly 3,000 Sikhs were murdered. Now, a mere 20 years later, Manmohan Singh, a Punjabi Sikh, will lead a Congress government as India’s first non-Hindu prime minister.

The choice of Singh sends all the right messages. Because he was the architect of India’s successful economic reforms, the business community will be reassured that the return of Congress does not mean a return to state industry and quasi-socialism. He is also squeaky-clean, a rarity among Indian politicians. As a non-Hindu, he is a living demonstration of India’s secular inclusiveness and a rejection of the BJP’s Hindu nationalism. And as a Sikh, he is proof that the painful events of 1984 are firmly in the past, both for India and for the Congress Party.

Plus, of course, the elevation of a Sikh to the highest office in the land may well usher in a golden age of bhangra dancing, which has to be one of the coolest things ever.