In New York address, Rahul speaks of ‘fight back home’ between Gandhi and Godse ideologies
Speaking at New York’s Javits Centre as part of 6-day US tour, Congress leader also slammed Modi govt over Friday’s train accident in Odisha, accusing it of not owning up to mistakes.
ISHADRITA LAHIRI, (Edited by Poulomi Banerjee)
New Delhi: There is a fight in India between Mahatma Gandhi’s ideology and that of his assassin Nathuram Godse, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said while addressing the Indian diaspora in New York Sunday.
The former Congress member of Parliament (MP) claimed that while the Congress represented Gandhi’s views, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) — the party in power at the Centre — and its ideological fountainhead, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) espoused Godse’s.
“For us, you and millions like you [NRIs], are ambassadors. People who represent our country and who represent a particular view of our country. Because as you know there is a fight going on back home. A fight between two ideologies. One that we represent and the other of course that the BJP and the RSS represent. The simplest way to describe this fight is that on one side you have Mahatma Gandhi and on the other side you have Nathuram Godse,” alleged the Congress leader.
Rahul added: “On one side a brave man, NRI like you. In fact, probably the most impactful NRI that India has had in many many years. Humble man. Simple man. But a man who believed in the future, believed in India, propagated non-violence and searched for the truth. That’s the ideology that we follow. That’s the ideology that all of you follow.”
He further said that Godse always spoke about the past, while Gandhi was forward-thinking and modern in his approach.
“Gandhi ji was forward-looking, open-minded, modern. Godse only spoke of the past. He never spoke of the future. He was angry, hateful and frankly he was scared. At his heart he was a coward. And he was unable to deal with this life,” said Rahul.
The Congress leader was speaking at the Javits Centre in New York, as a part of a six-day US tour.
Continuing with the Gandhi-Godse analogy, Rahul also accused Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP of only looking towards the past and blaming someone else for it.
“Imagine if the only thing you did was looking at the rearview mirror. If for 24 hours, you looked at the rearview mirror, will you be able to drive your car? There would be one accident after the other. That is the phenomenon of Narendra Modi ji. He’s trying to drive the Indian car and he only looks in the rearview mirror. And he doesn’t understand why this car is crashing,” alleged Rahul.
Slamming the BJP government for Friday’s Odisha train tragedy — as many as 275 people were killed and many injured in the collision involving three trains in Odisha’s Balasore district — Rahul said the party was in the habit of not owning up to his mistakes and shifting the blame.
“I remember a train accident when the Congress party was in power. The Congress did not say that the train crashed because of the fault of the British. The Congress minister (in charge of the Railways ministry at the time) said, ‘It’s my responsibility and I’m resigning’. So, this is the problem we have back home, we make excuses and do not accept the reality,” the Congress leader said.
He added: “You ask them (BJP) anything, they will look back and pass the blame. Ask them how the Odisha train accident happened. They will talk about what the Congress did 50 years ago.”
On the final day of his New York visit, Rahul was flanked at the address by Congress leaders, including Mani Shankar Aiyar, Deepender Singh Hooda, Revanth Reddy, Amarinder Brar Raja Warring and Alka Lamba.
Reaching out to NRIs during the course of his address, the senior Congress leader said NRIs were important to the “fight back home”.
‘Future Gandhi and Ambedkar’
Referring to NRIs as future Gandhis and Ambedkars (B.R. Ambedkar), Rahul said, “the central architect of modern India was a NRI. The freedom movement of India began in South Africa. Nehru ji (was a) NRI, Ambedkar (was a) NRI, Sardar Patel (was a) NRI. People who had an open mind to the outside world. Who came from India to Britain and America in those days and said we need to take these ideas back to India. You are the future Gandhi and Ambedkar.”
He added: “One of the reasons I have come here is because I believe that if we want to build an India where the vast majority of our youngsters are employed, one of the things we need to think about is the bridge between India and the United States. What does it look like, what does our partnership focus on and how do we compete with the challenge the Chinese have placed on the planet. What is our view on the revolution in mobility, what is our on the revolution on data and connectivity and what is our view on the transformation that is taking place in the energy systems of the world.”
Rahul concluded by repeating the “nafrat ke bazaar mein mohabbat ki dukaan khol rahan doon [I am opening a shop of love in a market of hatred]” sentiment, which he repeatedly expressed during his last year’s Bharat Jodo Yatra, and after the Congress victory in last month’s Karnataka assembly election.
“There’s a new fashion that has come. To express Indianness you have to be hateful. To express Indianness you have to be abusive. To express Indianness you have to beat people. No! That’s not Indianness that’s something else and we refuse to accept that as Indian. That’s the message I want to leave you with”, Rahul said.
Courtesy : The Print
Note: This news piece was originally published in theprint.com and used purely for non-profit/non-commercial purposes exclusively for Human Rights