Indian National Congress President Rahul Gandhi visited Berlin and London in his first official tour of Europe and addressed delegates from over 25 countries at the Bucerius Summer School in Hamburg, Germany.
He was relaxed, confident and comfortable addressing a packed venue, frankly answering all questions thrown at him as a young new leader of Gandhian values on foreign soil. It seems to have rattled the ruling party BJP in India which is evident watching spokes persons on mainstream Indian media.
Answering a question about his hug to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Indian Parliament during no confidence motion, Rahul Gandhi said that responding to hate with hate wouldn’t be a solution, since it would eventually come back with more hate and anger to society. This is the most noble and highly valued message given to us by Mahatma Gandhi, he said.
This was his generic message to world leaders as well as to those in the position of high strength in different capacities. He said, it is most important to listen to people “if we are to tackle challenges of 21st century or somewhere along the line the anger and the hate would take an ugly turn destroying the social fabric.”
“It is very dangerous in the 21st century to exclude people,” Rahul Gandhi told the audience filled with foreign nationals in Hamburg, where he was an alumnus in 2005.
Accusing the ruling BJP in India of excluding tribals, Dalits and minorities from the development narrative, he emphasised, “If you don’t include people in your vision in the 21st century, somebody else will.” That’s the real risk of excluding a large number of people from the development process. It resonates with the policy of his party that in democracy ‘inclusive growth’ is most important. ‘Sab ka sath, sab ka vikas’ adopted by BJJP leadership indecent years!
The Congress President’s position is considered relevant in today’s tense environment for those who with some sense of political morality, seek to find intellectual understanding of the situation in the world today.
Soon after the speech, voices could be heard in the audience that Rahul Gandhi appeared to have gone beyond garlanding Mahatma Gandhi’s statue or the picture of late AB Vajpayee.
He gave an example from recent history. “In the 21st century, when the world is connected, it is very dangerous to exclude people”. When the US attacked Iraq in 2003, they introduced a law that didn’t allow one particular tribe from getting public jobs….it was easy for for the US to take down Saddam Hussein within a few months without much casualty. But, a few months later, the network that was excluded from jobs in Iraq, the Tikriti tribal network, linked up with a cellphone network and the stockpile of artilleries left in villages. What you got was an insurgency that fought the US and caused massive casualty. It didn’t stop there. But slowly entered empty spaces in Iraq, in Syria and connected with the global internet to form the horrific idea – ISIS, Gandhi said. It explains his in-depth understanding of events of political history.
This can hardly be construed as an approval of ISIS as vehemently claimed by the media spin generated by his opponents.
It may not be out of place here to recall that a section of top Indian diplomats shares Rahul Gandhi’s vision, especially for normalising India Pakistan relations. Thus, in March earlier this year, speaking at the Lahore Chambers of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) High Commissioner Ajay Bisaria said, “Both the countries need to shun violence and normalise relations in order to take the two-way trade to $30 billion from its present $5 billion.” He asserted that there was no better way of improving bilateral relations than mutually beneficial economic ties” underlining “Mutual relations between the two countries should be on the basis of trade & economy and violence & war should not be an option.”
Rahul Gandhi’s views were strong at Bucerius Summer School that it beggar’s belief to suggest that in this world of global connectivity, the international communities would not be aware of the situation in India. In modern times nothing can be hidden from journalists and researchers.