“Nothing in the world is more powerful than an idea whose time has come,” wrote Victor Hugo, the French novelist and poet centuries ago.
Today I would like to talk about two ideas which were unique and seminal and changed the course of Indian polity irrevocably.
The first was Rajiv Gandhi’s ‘Sadbhavana Yatra’ which was undertaken by the great leader in 1990 at a time when our country was being torn apart by forces of casteism post the ‘Mandal Commission’ report.
32 years later his son the dynamic, daring and charismatic Rahul Gandhi undertook his ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ when India was fighting the ogre of communalism, the monster of hatred and the multi-headed hydra of divisive forces.
Both the ideas were singular and both ushered in a renaissance of peace, amity, tolerance and restored the faith in the power of peace.
“Whenever virtue subsides and wickedness prevails, I manifest myself. To establish virtue, to destroy evil, to save the good I come from Yuga (age) to Yuga,” declared Lord Krishna to his disciple Arjuna in Bhagavad Gita.
It would not be an exaggeration to say, that the Lord did not descend himself but inspired his apostles from two generations of the Gandhi family to usher in a fresh renaissance of peace, positivity and brotherhood.
During his Yatra, Rahul Gandhi tweeted, “32 years ago, Papa started his Sadabhavna Yatra. He had sacrificed his life for the unity and integrity of India. Goodwill is the most unique value of humanity. I, and the Congress party, will not allow it to collapse in the face of any divisive force.”
Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra assumes added significance because the country is caught in the throes of a far more perilous situation than it was in the 1990s.
Our nation is being divided by the right-wing organizations who want to implement and force their ideology and ensure that India is transformed into a Hindu Rashtra.
This will destroy the secular fabric of the country and blow to smithereens the ideals which our founding fathers fought and later stood for. In such a scenario we need a strong and vibrant leader to fight this scourge and this trailblazer, this architect of modern thought is Rahul Gandhi.
Rahul Gandhi has proved to be a leader far ahead of his times, a sane voice in the madness and chaos that seems to be engulfing our nation. To prove my point let me elucidate:
- Rahul had foretold that the demon of demonetization will destroy the unorganized sector and create a huge negative impact on small and medium businesses, especially in rural India. He has eventually been proved correct.
- He was consistent in his stand on the need to manage Covid. He first predicted that the country needs to invest in vaccines and not relax after the first wave. He stand was vindicated when the second wave hit India and created havoc.
- Rahul predicted that economic growth needs to be sustained with impetus to small and medium business instead of big businesses. One again he was proved right with India grappling with the highest rate of unemployment in its history – all a result of the myopic , self-serving, corrupt and venal policies of the Modi Government.
- Rahul Gandhi has been mocked at, caricatured, maligned and persecuted. An entire industry has been used to create fake videos to spread slander about him. Yet he has marched on resolute and determined to fight for the common man and do what he knows is right for the country.
- He undertook Bharat Jodo yatra in the most difficult of times. Despite suffering from a very bad knee issue he continued his march. His schedule was achingly tough and strictly regimented, yet he carried on like a true soldier and a selfless brave heart. He completed the exercise of walking from south to north to unite the people and spread the message of love, peace and unity. I had the honour and the privilege to be a part of the historic yatra.
- The love, the adoration and the respect he received from the men, women and children was seen to be believed. He seemed to touch a chord wherever he went and to whomever he reached out. And this response was pure, pristine and straight from the heart. It was not stage managed and sponsored like the rallies we see by the political leaders of the ruling party.
- The thumping success of Rahul Gandhi’s a ‘Bharat Jodo yatra’, has proved that ultimately it is the people connect that matters more than anything else. The yatra was the catalyst which led to the resounding win of Congress over the party of hate mongers.
- He has always epitomized the virtues of dignity and grace. When he was removed as an MP on trumped up charges and made to vacate his bungalow, he responded with poise and pride.
He is one of the greatest leaders of the modern era who has set an example both in public and private life which is truly worthy of emulation. He has carried the legacy of his great family and stood like a lodestar guiding people in the toughest of times.
Let us rally behind this visionary leader and support him in his mission to fight the forces of hatred and once again usher in an era of growth and harmony. Let us pledge to make Rahul the beacon light who will take our country from hatred to love, violence to peace and darkness to light.
(Rajender Dichpally is the vice president of Indian Overseas Congress)