By Rajender Dichpally
The true democratization is not simply the right to vote, but it is all about the devolution of power, that is how first Prime Minister Nehru dreamt how India should be. Interestingly, this founding fundamental principle of democratization is also executed by India’s beloved young leader Rahul Gandhi within world’s largest political organization, Indian National Congress. The tireless efforts of Rahul Gandhi to democratize the congress from top to bottom has undoubtedly made Rahul Gandhi, the most Nehruvian congress leader since Jawaharlal Nehru. He strongly believes in Nehru’s idea of India, where a billion people choose their destiny and live in harmony together and the idea of India where there is unity in its vast diversity. He has embarked on bringing the democratic process first within the Party, starting with holding elections for Youth Congress and has been slowly building a democratic Congress Party where popular leaders are elected and not chosen by the leadership. He has also toured the entire country to understand and feel the country and listen to the voices of its people, especially the weak and to get an idea of the India that they would like and the issues that they face so that he can build policies for a platform for these people to succeed.
Young people in India and abroad find a lot of qualities of India’s first Prime Minister Pandit Nehru in Rahul Gandhi as both Rahul and Nehru are men of ideas, but never an ideologue. Nehru understood deeply that everyone is entitled to their viewpoints and gave space to every view. Because he thought, every perspective is unique in its own way. Nehru’s leadership was one of inclusion and compassion as he strongly believed that legitimacy can only come from compassion, conversation, from listening to and understanding the views, including the opposing views. Today, Indian National congress is at crossroads because it has lost the last general elections very dismally in 2014 and also for the first time in over 130 years of its history, the Party is in power in less than 5 states in India. In this context, Rahul Gandhi brings a very challenging thought process that will hopefully rejenuvate the Grand Old Party and revive it with his ideas of democracy, inclusion, compassion and batting for keeping secular spirit of the country in true sense.
Rahul like Nehru, is a charismatic leader and a great orator. He is also one of the very few leaders with pan-India popularity and his personal integrity is beyond reproach. He is also a dedicated party-man with profound influence over his party’s cadre, like Nehru of 40’s and 50s. Rahul Gandhi’s messages are wrapped in fervent nationalism and convey a sense of building a great nation, much like the ideas of India’s first Prime Minister. He also believes in socialism as a tool to uplift the huge section of people in India who are still living in poverty. Some of the policies in UPA Government like Employment Guarantee, Housing to Poor and Food Security are tools aimed at providing the poor people with Government assistance to fight poverty.
One can also see the reflection of the idea of Nehru in these policies where Mr. Gandhi played a key role in bringing people’s idea into country’s governance structure. The Food Act, RTI, MGNREGA, Right to education, Aadhaar are all such radical innovations, that created the platform for those whose voice is not heard. He is a beacon of hope to millions of Indians, because, he firmly believes in secularism, rule of law, freedom of speech and providing an equal platform for every Indian to achieve success.
Rahul Gandhi once said “We have a tendency to worship great men. When we do that we cast them in stone. We freeze them in time”. There is no doubt that Nehru was a great man. But more than that, Nehru had a dynamic way of thinking, constantly evolving, forever compassionate. This is what one can see in Rahul today, a dynamic leader, constantly evolving and actively campaigning for a tolerant society, for peace and equal opportunity to all.
Rahul Gandhi also believes that law makers are not above the law and refused to allow the bill that protected law makers from being impeached and jailed to be put to vote by his Party in the parliament when it was in power.
He is the symbol of secularism and is the hope for many people who live in poverty and need an opportunity and level playing field to success. While Nehru’s vision built a strong base for modern Indian and established basic infrastructure for the Country post Independence, Rahul idea of India of inclusion, opportunity for all to succeed, democratic process in the true sense and a sense of belonging in every person towards the country will propel India to be a super power in the near future.
Last, but not the least, Nehru had shared his vision of Independent India as Indian Prime Minister when he visited USA for the first time in 1949 and addressed the students, guests and faculty at Berkeley University and delivered a historic speech at the University and Rahul Gandhi will soon offer his reflection on contemporary India and road ahead at the same University on September 11th, 2017 in his maiden tour to USA as a Congress Leader.
The Diaspora in USA, the Congress Cadre in India and millions of people in India, especially the underprivileged and minorities look forward to the evolving of Rahul Gandhi as a leader post his visit to USA and also to hear his vision of India @ 70 and the road ahead, which is the theme of his visit and address to the major universities in the USA, starting from Berkeley, Harvard and Princeton University.
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