January 4, 2023
If Rahul Gandhi Alias RG were to be a pond with magical rewards for every stone casted, he would have grown into a mountain by now. British-Indian writer Athish Taseer had famously labeled Rahul Gandhi as an ‘Unteachable Mediocrity’ and an opposition candidate that is BJP’s most easy-delicious prey. Rajdeep Sardesai in his book ‘How Modi won India’ writes that Rahul Gandhi never ‘missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity’ and renowned historian Ramchandra Guha often tagged Rahul Gandhi as an ‘Idiot’. After tasting bitter, humiliating and crushing defeats politically and personally in the two General elections and subsequently being at the helm of a grand old party that is reduced to dust losing countless States and seasoned politicians, Rahul Gandhi and his last few remaining loyalists have set the national stage in blaze in the much talked about Bharath Jodo Yatra long march by-foot nationwide rally.
RG who is often smashed on paper for his lack of political initiatives, his inability to capitalize on political opportunities and his impotency to call out his adversaries on sensitive issues has fortuitously found a ground and a stage to demonstrate who he is, defy his political rivals and denounce the diabolique media propaganda. For nearly two decades RG remained aloof from putting up a fight against his adversaries, never attempted to comprehend ground realties and shied away from opting leadership roles in the government or off it despite being an elected Member of the Parliament. RG had a late awakening in the ring of social media after his opponents took it by storm and failed to anticipate its power and influence to a mass audience. Some of the criticisms of RG have been purely political and few others generalized. As a 14-year-old boy he lost his grandmother, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, with whom he was very close to and at 21 he had his father Rajiv taken away in two of the most heinous political assassinations of the country’s history. RG should be a living model for youth in the country, a guide and a help during rough times, not for his success (since he has none or handful) but for his surmountable failures and his grit to withstand those setbacks and his determination to still walk with his head held high. Winston Churchill once said ‘Success is not final and dailure is never fatal, it is the courage to continue that counts’. Moving past all the online shame and mockery, today RG exclusively leans and trusts social media and abhors mainstream media networks for the amount of filth and garbage they excrete every single day.
Rahul Gandhi with stand-up comic Kunal Kamra
Off late, RG is seen having relaxed, easy breezy and amusing walk the talks with young YouTubers and other social media personalities in an effort to reach out to a new niche of voter base. In these informal interviews and conversations RG is to the point, unabashed in his diatribes against the power and presses the interviewers to grill him. One of the most fascinating aspects of RG’s personality was brought out in a recent interview with Mashable India (Online digital platform) where he opened up about his interests and passions in Car and Bike Engines. He claimed to be a die-hard fan of Yamaha RD350, a breakaway Yamaha model with six speed and two-stroke engine that was launched 1973 and disappeared, but gradually held cult status over the decades. RG also introduced a fellow Yatri who owned one.
RG further went in-depth on Automobile technology with extremely PRO views. He further touched on greatness of Japanese and German Automobile Manufacturing traditions, by tugging out an informative piece on roots of their craftsmanship. The Japanese Automobile has direct links with their Steel industry which has its origins from the medieval Samurai sword manufacturing industries and the crafts and similarly, the German Car Manufacturing has its origins from the Battle Axe industry of the early medieval times. RG dwelled on this subject in order to make a point on how traditional craftsmanship could be used to drum up Indian industries that have turned sick and have died down predominantly after the unconsulted implementation of Demonetization and GST policies.
Among the noted people who joined the Yatra was eminent Economist and former RBI chief Raguram Rajan. Rajan sat down with RG and discussed the aftershocks of the Demonetization and GST on middle income Indian families and the poor status of Economy prior and post the Covid years. In the conversation RG was visibly inquisitive and came out as good listener to the views and explanations of the world-renowned economist. With the celebrated actor and politician Kamal Hassan, formerly a vocal critic of the Gandhi family and the congress party, RG indulged in an insightful conversation dwelling on small scale industries, farmer grievances, resisting Chinese production market and competition, volatility and skirmishes at Sino-Indo borders (which is unclear and painted with half-truths by a non-independent media narrative on both sides) and countering propaganda of social divisiveness. RG stressed the ruling government to at the least talk about this privately with the opposition, even if it wants to hide some facts from the mass media. Kamal Hassan made an interesting point denoting some shades of Indian Governments despair towards criticism by quoting “India is still a young democracy despite 75 years of independence, the reminiscence of monarchy is still in our minds and not too far long, we were governed by princely states and politicians expect certain loyalty from people much like the royals and monarchs.” RG conferred with Hassan’s remarks responding that ‘some of the behaviors of our politicians is comparable to a King, like the unilateral decisions’.
Rahul Gandhi with Kamal Hassan
The Long March or in other words Padayatra has long history in Indian political landscapes. Mahatma Gandhi’s Salt March to Dandi in 1930, a symbol of mass civil disobedience movement that spanned over couple of weeks and covered 385 kms and backed by his second major Padayatra in 1933 to protest against untouchability made considerable impact in the social and political dynamics of the nation’s struggle towards complete freedom. In 1983 Socialist stalwart and former Indian Prime Minister Chandra Shekhar undertook a Padayatra from Kanyakumari to Raj Ghat Delhi causing a political shakeup covering over 4200 kms. The 2019 long march lead by then Andhra Pradesh opposition leader YS Jagan Mohan Reddy circling 1400kms statewide for 430 days period sparked a huge upscale in his support base eventually making him the Chief Minister of the state winning a landslide of 151 of 175 Assembly seats. The Bharat Jodo Yatra as of December 23rd 2022 has completed 150 days striding over 3500 kms in lengths and breadths of country’s six different states. Many Political Pundits believe that this Yatra has already garnered significant gains to the congress party in its efforts to come out of the ICU and has impacted in reshaping Rahul Gandhi’s image on a national scale.
This is first time in his political career that RG has exhibited any kind of pronounced challenge against his sworned opposition. The effect of the tremors is felt in the ruling party rather crudely; as the secret agencies are in a full-blown mood in vilifying and investigation people who have shared space and time in the ongoing yatra. The Bharat Jodo Yatra was hurriedly decided and not so meticulously planned congress high command measure to mobilize party cadre at the grass roots and engage in a mass movement around the country fighting hate, bigotry and prejudice and highlighting rapid unemployment and inflation that has rampaged the country in the last few years. Nevertheless, against conventional wisdom and lower expectations, the Yatra has drawn huge crowds and considerable front pages, even surprising some of inner circles of the congress party. The Yatra has immensely helped the Congress scion in understanding the pulse of the deep corners of the country.
Rahul Gandhi in midst of the crowds during the yatra
The Second phase of the Yatra is due in first week of January and is expected to cause a large-scale stir. The essence of long marches is often mystical and spiritual. It is an enroute to understand the people and the problems they are undergoing, trespassing the narratives set by hyperbolic TV media and litter-filled WhatsApp University. Although, Political rewards of the Bharath Jodo Yatra may be dim, but much like The Dandi March of Mahatma Gandhi or the Boodan Yatra of Vinobha Bhave have helped the country to unite and fight. In the words famed journalist Ravish Kumar, “Not all battles are not fought to victory, but are fought to tell the future generation that someone was there on the battlefield.” The Yatra has all the potential to hit the headlines, get people talking and galvanize a base, but will it generate the wings to convert this advantage into electoral success?