ThePrint asks experts:
Should Rahul Gandhi’s religion matter in politics?
Rahul Gandhi never declared his faith in any religion till he sailed forth to conquer Gujarat. Clearly, his political strategists have told him that it would pay to swipe the ‘Hindu card’ in this election. The ‘Muslim card’ ran out of credit long ago.
That explains why Rahul has begun talking of the Upanishads, the Puranas and the Bhagwad Gita. Poseurs are like crows pretending to be peacocks. Sanatana Dharma is a lived and living religion, not the revealed word of god entombed in tradition. Had Rahul truly internalised the big books he claims to have read, he would not have made a show of visiting temples for a public affirmation of faith.
Here are other sharp perspectives on the relevance of Rahul Gandhi’s religion:
Rahul’s use of faith as a theatrical prop is evident from his posing as a ‘Shiv Bhakt’ in Gujarat where Somnath occupies a special place in the popular imagination. Had wisdom dawned upon him before the UP election, he would have probably called himself a ‘Ram Bhakt’. Will he call himself a Vaishnav in Odisha? Would he dare call himself a Pandit in the Kashmir Valley?
Had Rahul believed in the precepts of Hinduism he would have simply said that he is honest enough not to lie in a house of god and hence his name was entered in the register for non-Hindus visiting Somnath. Instead, he had a fawning courtier declare that he is a twice-born ‘janeu-dhari’ Hindu.
That’s not a public declaration of being Hindu; that’s using Hinduism as a cover to assert the privileges of those to the manor born – a Nehru-Gandhi dynast destined to rule India can’t be a Dalit, an Adivasi, an OBC or any of the lesser castes; he can only be a twice-born Brahmin.
That’s why Rahul’s fake faith in Hinduism matters and needs to be called out.
Kanchan Gupta is a political commentator.