Of late, political discourse is veering around the remarks of Rahul Gandhi during his last visit to UK on India’s Democratic model being under threat and attack. While some Union Ministers have criticised him and demand for an apology from him is getting louder by the day, Rahul Gandhi has been asking for an opportunity to explain his position in Lok Sabha. The lower House, however, is unable to function for the last few days.
Why Rahul Gandhi, a senior leader of Indian National Congress Party and a Member of Indian Parliament should not have said what he did, has been indirectly explained by his cousin, Varun Gandhi, a leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party and a Member of Indian Parliament from Pilibhit. Varun Gandhi feels India is on the right path for development and inclusiveness – a path made and traversed by different governments of India since Independence instilling dynamism and growth to the economy and sectors like health, education and agriculture. He says citizens like him are freely putting across their viewpoints in public square and on the floor of Parliament. He also feels that criticisms should be made within India. Criticising outside the country would not only be inimical to India’s interest but be a dishonourable act. Despite our differences, he said, public men should be all together “on the same path for India’s rise”.
Rahul Gandhi however has been saying after arrival in India from the UK tour that he is anxious to speak in Parliament on what he said in UK and whether he gets an opportunity to do so or not would speak about the present state of our Democracy. Shashi Tharoor feels Rahul Gandhi has not said anything to apologise for. Mallikarjun Kharge tweeted on March 13 and reminded the Prime Minister of his remarks in China where he reportedly said, “Earlier you felt ashamed of being born Indian. Now you feel proud to represent the country” and Kharge asked, “Was this not an insult to India and Indians?” Every day the voice against the UK statement of Rahul Gandhi gets shriller and makes more Indians interested to find out from YouTube and other media sources what exactly Rahul Gandhi said in UK.
He spoke about many things, about the US system, about China’s system, about the Yatra, about his perception of Yatra which meant diminution of Self, a state of ego-less living and listening to others; he said about India’s Democracy being a public good and if it cracks, how it could be problem for all. He also said that constraints on Democracy in India are India’s internal matter. As the criticism against him intensifies, it is likely that more and more people would now be anxious to find out if important Democratic Institutions are indeed having operational constraints to operate efficiently.
We have a huge Diaspora that is a valuable human resource in terms of skill, wealth and entrepreneurship. Their understanding of issues, challenges and problems before their motherland is important. They are the incubator where many leaders have been hatched. Mahatma Gandhi came from South Africa. Many spiritual leaders have travelled abroad to explain their thoughts seek endorsement of their philosophy and their thoughts have been embraced in the foreign countries before getting wide acceptance in India.
In the present state of technological advancement, distance has become irrelevant and world has become a global village. National boundaries have increasingly ceased to be barriers for thoughts to spread. What Rahul Gandhi would say in India could easily travel to UK or Brazil without him even travelling to those places and speak.
But the issue is whether as Varun Gandhi so easily stated that Public Square and the floor of Parliament are places where people like him are free to speak their ideas in are as easily and freely available to people like Rahul Gandhi. In fact Rahul Gandhi did request the Lok Sabha Speaker for such an opportunity. So far he has not got it.
The most appropriate forum where the entire matter should be discussed is the Parliament. Rahul Gandhi should be allowed to explain his case. To insist on his rendering apology without hearing him is not in sync with natural justice which is an inseparable constituent of Democracy.
(DISCLAIMER: This is an opinion piece. The views expressed are the author’s own and have nothing to do with OTV’s charter or views. OTV does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same. The author can be reached at email@example.com)