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Rahul, not Modi, has proved to be a true student of the Bhagavad Gita

Congress President Rahul Gandhi reading on a plane
Congress Party President Rahul Gandhi reads a book while flying over India during campaigning in the national elections. | FINDLAY KEMBER/AFP/Getty Images

ThePrint asks: 

Has Gujarat election shown that civility has disappeared from language of politics?

The Hindus of Gujarat are great Krishna-bhakts. A big reason for this is that the ancient city of Dwarka, the original capital of Gujarat, is where Lord Krishna lived. He appears in many personas in the epic Mahabharata, but his most abiding role is that of a teacher of humanity in the Bhagavad Gita. The Gita is both philosophical and practical. Its practical lesson points to the responsibility of leaders ─ leaders in every field, but especially in politics and governance.

The Gita says: “Yadyadaacharati shreshthastattadevetaro janah” ─ Whatever great men do, common people emulate them.” In other words, leaders’ behaviour and language sets the standard for the rest of society.

It was, therefore, sad to see that the election to the next Vidhan Sabha of Gujarat, which will be concluded tomorrow, has seen leaders of both the contending parties, BJP as well as the Congress, set quite low standards.

One leader of the Congress called the prime minister of the country “neech kism ka aadmi” (low-level person). Thank God, Rahul Gandhi, the newly elected president of the party, lost no time in condemning the remark. Furthermore, he cracked the whip and suspended the offender from the party.  However, the prime minister did not let the matter end there. Twisting the deplorable remark against him, he alleged that the Congress party regards him as a person from “neech jaati” (low caste), thereby discrediting the whole of Gujarat. For Modi, it was an opportunity to gain electoral mileage.

He resorted to two other untruths. One, he said the same Congress leader, while on a visit to Pakistan two years ago, had given Pakistanis a “supari” for his (PM’s) removal. Two, no less than the former Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, and former Vice President, Dr Hamid Ansari, participated in a “secret meeting” with Pakistani officials in New Delhi to influence the outcome of the Gujarat polls.

In this free-for-all, a BJP spokesman badmouthed his opponents by calling them “Khilji ke aulad”. The reference was to a medieval Muslim ruler who had plundered Gujarat. The BJP leaders’ aim to polarise people, by inciting anti-Muslim and anti-Pakistan sentiments, was undisguised.

In this depressing scenario, if there was one leader who tried to follow Krishna’s precept in the Bhagavad Gita, it was Rahul Gandhi. The young Congress chief said he would never permit his partymen to malign the prime minister and, more importantly, declared that his party would defeat the BJP “with love, and not with hatred”.

The Congress may lose, and the BJP may yet again win the election. But both parties should remember that in politics, they are rivals and not enemies. And their leaders must set exemplary standards for the rest of society to follow─and for India’s democracy to be a source of hope and inspiration to the rest of the world.

The writer was an aide to former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. He tweets @SudheenKulkarni and can be reached at sudheenkulkarni@gmail.com.

13 COMMENTS

  1. Mr Kulkarni, your really want us to believe that suspending Mani Shankar Aiyar was an act of propriety? Nonsense! As Balagangadharan V O, above, has pointed out, it was a gimmick. Rahul Gandhi would have shown himself to be a true leader if he had reprimanded MSA, but told the BJP that since MSA was not even an office bearer, leave alone spokesman, of the Congress, his views are not those of the party’s. But he sacrificed a man who was slavishly loyal to him, so that he might bask in the glory of the act. This much is obvious to even the dullest fellow in the country. You want us to believe that Rahul Gandhi’s act was noble!
    Maybe Modi was crass. But Rahul Gandhi proved to be deceptive, a charlatan. This temple hopping, jenevu dhari, rudraksha mala dhari, costume was genuine, yeah? Do you believe that? Why, only recently he was calling the Prime Minister ‘khoon ka dalal’, for having done the surgical strike. All of a sudden, Rahul Gandhi became dignified and well-mannered, yeah? Maybe he did, but I’d like to see more evidence. As of today, I’d rather support a crass person than a charlatan.

    • Well said Ramesh. If it requires these many words to make ‘intellectuals’ like Mr. Kulkarni to understand, so be it. However, in all likelihood, you are expressing your view to a person who is busy building his echo chamber.

  2. It is true that the election speeches in Gujarat by BOTH parties and their associates/partners were sub-standard.
    But Shri.Kulkarni has conveniently given a clean chit to Mr.Rahul Gandhi and Congress for reasons best known to him. Suspending Mr.Mani Shankara Iyer was nothing more than a “gimmick”.

  3. Krishna also told in Githa to do the job best suited for one. Rahul Gandhi is not a politician. If he really follows Githa then he should not have become General Secretary, VP and now president of congress. By picking qualities which suites the author he is doing a mi service to the news.

  4. How Mr Shekhar Gupta can conveniently now forget the phrases like “khoon ki dalali”, “maut ka saudagar”, “shahenshah-ism”, etc. used by the same family against nationalist leader, Prime Minister Narendra Modi ??

  5. Naturally it looks like he is taking Bagavad Gita seriously.
    It’s all about how to be a man with his wife.
    Since all is over, and he has a well assured Job, gifted by her mother and steady income and pension from the so called Gandhian followers it’s something young generations should look to. It’s time that his mother Sonia finds him a Gujrati partner, nay he would have gone through Bagavad Gita but how much Bagavad Gita has gone through him is a mute Q!!

  6. And by the way, the author’s argument falls flat on its face in view of today’s television interview that violates the model code.

  7. “अश्वत्थामा हताहत, नरोवा कुंजरोवा” (Ashwatthama hathahath, narova kunjarova) in Mahabharata.

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