BJP and RSS targeting the weak but running away from the strong
While he could deliver talks at Cambridge and Harvard universities, said Rahul Gandhi, he was not allowed to deliver a similar talk at an Indian university
‘If you have read Savarkar, he writes in one place that the day he and his five friends assaulted a Muslim, he felt very happy’, recalled Congress MP Rahul Gandhi in London on Sunday. He was addressing a gathering of the Indian diaspora from Europe. Describing the conduct as ‘cowardice’, the Congress leader said that this characterised the ideology of the RSS and the BJP, namely assault the weak but run away from a fight if the opponent is strong.
Referring to the People’s Liberation Army of China sitting over 2,000 square kilometres of Indian territory, the Congress MP referred to Indian Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar saying in an interview that India could not afford to fight an economically stronger China. “At the heart of the ideology is cowardice…,” he added.
“The Foreign Minister of the country is saying …China is stronger than us, so we can’t fight with them. The British were stronger than us, so then we should not have fought with them?” earlier at an interaction with Indian journalists in London, he had recalled Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s public denial of any Chinese intrusion into Indian territory. At the interaction the Congress MP had declared that democracy in India is a ‘public good’ and while the Indian opposition was engaged in fighting to
protect it, defenders of democracy in the Western World were silent. “So, this is a fight between courage and cowardice. It’s a fight between respect and disrespect…,” he added.
Indian immigrants, he said, had made the country proud not because they have achieved professional and material success in foreign countries, but because they have demonstrated abroad what Indian values really are. “The real reason you made us proud is because you respect the people you live with, you respect the different cultures, you respect the fact that you are living in England, you listen to their perspective, you embrace their perspective, you tell them about our perspective and in that way, both groups of people improve and do better... you have shown what an actual Indian person should be doing…. living peacefully, affectionately with respect, listening to other people, learning from other people and teaching other people what we know,” he went on to add.
The media back in India, he said, were full of Bollywood, cricket and glamour but paid scant attention to problems of rising unemployment, price-rise and growing inequality and violence in society. Another issue about which nobody speaks in India, he said, was the violence that Indian women face. “It’s a hidden issue; nobody speaks about it,” he added, though the fact is that women are afraid of walking on the street.
The banking system and the financial structure in India favoured big business. One or two businessmen have grown at the expense of Indian people, he pointed out, because of their political connections while the strength and energy of the country is wasted. The Congress, he repeated, was against monopolies and would like the system to work for millions of youth instead who want to build businesses.
While the Bharat Jodo Yatra enabled him to ‘listen to India’ and hear its voice, it was a painful journey in which several people, including a Congress MP, died. Others sustained injuries, broke their limbs, he recalled.
During the Yatra he was struck by the fact that although people belonging to different religions, castes, economic background and speaking different languages joined, there was ‘no anger, no disrespect, no hatred’. That, he added, was in essence the message of the Yatra, ‘demonstrating what the real India is about, what Indian values are, what our religions tell us, what our different languages tell us, what our different cultures tell us that we are one country with many-many different ideas and we have the capability of living together harmoniously”.