Cut Rahul some slack please!

Let's give him some wiggle room...


Ajay Singh | August 7, 2013

Rahul Gandhi
Rahul Gandhi

In Indian ethos, poverty  is often philosophised. This is best summed up by a Hindi proverb “Mann changa toh kathauti mein Ganga (if you are pure of heart, the sacred river Ganga flows in your bucket!)”. This was philosophical commiseration for those devotees who cannot undertake the pilgrimage to Varanasi for whatever reasons.

One does not know if  Rahul Gandhi was trying to draw from this Indian ethos and spiritual heritage when he talked about poverty being a “state of mind”. But a careful scrutiny of his statement makes it clear that he was only making a point about empowering the marginalized sections of society and that he did not say anything that should have caused the drummed up outrage of his political opponents.

In a gathering of academics in the GB Pant Institute of Social Science in Allahabad, is Rahul not allowed the luxury of making a rhetorical point on poverty? He was not even speaking at a public meeting. Is he not allowed to speak from the heart about the poverty on which he has developed his own narrative? In Rahul's view, marginalized sections of society need to acquire a degree of self-confidence to come out of the vicious cycle of poverty. It was his version of the "mann changa toh kathauti mein Ganga" proverb. So what was the crime?

On the face of it, whatever Gandhi said in his exposition was nothing but an innocuous expression of his assessment of Indian society. Nowhere did he wish away the reality of poverty. He neither blamed the poor for remaining poor nor extolled the virtue of launching social welfare schemes aimed at eradicating poverty. Far from it, he appealed to the poor to realise their potential by inculcating a sense of self-confidence to claim their stake in the system.

According to professor Badri Narayan, a Dalit scholar and organiser of the meeting with Rahul, the speech invoked the theme of a cultural heritage which does not judge an individual in materialistic terms. At the same time, he emphasized that the social programmes and schemes launched by the government to eradicate poverty were only small steps towards eliminating the curse of poverty. The need of the hour was for the poor to develop self-confidence.

Let's cut him some slack, let's give him some wiggle room.



Other News

Budget: Highlights

Union minister of finance and corporate affairs Nirmala Sitharaman presented the Union Budget 2023-24 in Parliament on Wednesday. The highlights of the Budget are as follows: PART A     Per capita income has more than doubled to Rs 1.97 lakh in around

Budget presents vision for Amrit Kaal: A blueprint for empowered, inclusive economy

Union Budget 2023-24, presented by finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman in the Parliament on Wednesday, outlined the vision of Amrit Kaal which shall reflect an empowered and inclusive economy.  “We envision a prosperous and inclusive India, in which the fruits of development reach all regions an

Soumya Swaminathan to head M S Swaminathan Research Foundation

Former World Health Organisation (WHO) chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan takes charge as chairperson of M S Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) from February 1.   Founded by her father, the legendary agricultural scientist M S Swaminathan, MSSRF was set up to accelerate the use of m

m-Governance: Key to Digital India

The digital revolution is being led by India. Digital governance is a key component of the government's ambition to transform India into a society where everyone has access to the internet. It includes both M-governance and E-governance, which are major methods for the delivery of services via mobile devic

A sacred offering of the beauty of ‘Saundarya Lahari’ – in English

Saundarya Lahari: Wave of Beauty Translated from the Sanskrit by Mani Rao HarperCollins, 218 pages, Rs 399 ‘Saundarya Lahari’, usually ascribed to Adi Shankaracharya, has a unique status among the religious-spiritual works of Hinduism.

The Boy Who Became the Mahatma

This year, as the nation commemorates the 75th death anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi on January 30, Rajesh Talwar, a prolific author who is also a legal advisor to the UN, is all set to release a play for children on non-violence chronicling the life of Mahatma Gandhi, ‘The Boy Who Became the Mahat

Visionary Talk: Amitabh Gupta, Pune Police Commissioner with Kailashnath Adhikari, MD, Governance Now


Current Issue


Facebook    Twitter    Google Plus    Linkedin    Subscribe Newsletter