An immensely inspiring speech by Rahul Gandhi yesterday as he took over as Congress President. There was a massive crowd at 24, Akbar Road, with immense joy and enthusiasm among party workers, volunteers. Drum beats, crackers, folk dance and music graced the occasion, outside the gates of All India Congress Committee office.
Over the last few days we have been concerned about whether Congress feels that secularism has lost touch with people, and is moving toward soft Hindutva, as during Gujarat campaign Rahul didn’t mention Muslims or minorities or even Godhra. But that was perhaps a much necessary caution he adhered to for a state already deeply polarized, and therefore stayed focused on development and job issues. In his first speech as Congress President he has firmly put focus back on the socialist and secular fabric of our country, and clearly positioned Congress as the complete anti-thesis of BJP, and Rahul as that of Modi. (Read my previous post for more on this)
He has spoken exactly what we wanted to hear. His choice of words were excellent, specific mention of “all religion, ethnicity, gender” is in stark contrast to the generic “sabka sath sabka vikas”. Specificity is an acknowledgement that unique identity locations require unique attention and affirmative actions. One size doesn’t fit all. “Sab (all)” are not born equal so a singular model of development will not help all. Rahul Gandhi’s speech talks about the idea of the self and the idea of other. He breakdowns how the far right have divided India into “us” and “them”. The othering of a certain section of people, the speech specifically mentions “we fight for everyone; all those who are in the periphery, all those relegated to the fringes, those who cannot fight alone.” This is truly the India we have known growing up, albeit the corruption and scams. I am relieved that these are still the core ideologies INC would stick to.
As a wise person said, पैसा क्या है? हाथ का मैल है, आता है जाता है, आज सफेद है तो कल काला है, नेता कौनसा दूध का धुला है, कहीं scam है कहीं jam है। लेकिन जीवन एक है ईश्वर का दिया, एक प्राण निकल जाता है तो वापस नही आता। नेता उसे चुनो जो प्राणों की रक्षा scamओ से बढ़कर करे।
That wise person was me on Twitter, BTW.
Anyway, thing is, we heard what we needed to hear in Rahul’s speech. That this is a war of ideologies and not power or governance, a war for the idea of India, inclusivity and diversity.
He needs to stick to this narrative and garnish it with Modi Bin Tughlaq’s utterly useless firmans, the failures and scams of BJP govt is no different from INC, that has to be reminded over and over again, with his new found nonchalance, a smile on his face, few jokes here and there while attacking Modi. That would do the works. If not 2019, surely by 2024. But, he needs to stick. No going off to some vacation now.
Gujarat tomorrow? Dear India, sleep tight tonight.