There is 'systematic attack' on institutions that allow India to speak, alleges Rahul Gandhi
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has alleged that there is a ''systematic attack'' on the institutions that allow India to speak and as the conversation is being stamped out, the ''deep state'' is entering those spaces and redefining the way that conversation is happening in the country.
During an event entitled 'India at 75' at Corpus Christi College at the prestigious Cambridge University on Monday evening, Gandhi spoke on a broad range of subjects from Hindu nationalism, the Gandhi family's role within the Congress party, and efforts to mobilize the people of the country as he fielded questions from a large Indian student base.
In conversation with an Indian-origin academic from the university Dr. Shruti Kapila, Gandhi reiterated some of the points he made during last week's conference, including the impact of the ''deep state'' on Indian politics.
''For us, India comes alive when India speaks and India dies when India goes silent. What I see as going on is a systematic attack on the institutions that allow India to speak – Parliament, the election system, and the basic structure of democracy is being captured by one organization. And, as the conversation is being stamped out, the deep state is entering those spaces and redefining the way that conversation is happening,'' he said.
Outside the lecture theatre, a small group of students had gathered with placards that read: ''Rahul Gandhi keep your promise on mining'' concerning the Adivasis in Chhattisgarh, an issue he said he was working on within the party.
He went head-to-head with students on several other topics, including his view of India as a "union of states" as opposed to a nation, which he insisted was a "beautiful idea" that gives the people of every state their rightful place.
''I think this goes to the heart of Indians,'' the former Congress party chief said.
During the interactive session, Gandhi also said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is creating a vision of India that is not inclusive of all parts of the country's population, which is unfair and goes against the idea of India.
''I have a problem if anybody has a vision for India that excludes people, I don't care who's being excluded. I have a problem with it because it is completely unfair, it ignores that there is tremendous energy in the people being excluded and I have a problem with it because that's not what India is," said Gandhi, in response to a question about secularism in India.
''I think it goes beyond secularism. You have to include every single person with compassion. Mr. Modi is constructing a vision of India where he's leaving out huge chunks of our population. And, that's not a vision of India, that's a vision of a part of India," he said.
The Congress leader asserted that his party's fight was against a massive concentration of wealth and capture of institutions within the country, including its media.
''You will not see this talk for more than 30 seconds anywhere in the Indian media. The reason is the Indian media is captured. It is controlled by a couple of large industrialists who support the government. So, we are not fighting a political party. We're fighting a capture of the Indian state and it's not easy… it will take time, it is going to have a life, it is going to be difficult but we're doing it," said Gandhi.
''There is nothing Hindu about it and actually, there's nothing nationalist about it. I think you'll have to think of a new name for them but they're certainly not Hindu. And, I have studied Hinduism in enough detail to tell you that there's absolutely nothing Hindu about wanting to murder people and beat people up," he said.
''My problem with the RSS and the Prime Minister is that they are fiddling with the foundational structure of India. When you play the politics of polarization, when you isolate and demonize 200 million people, you're doing something extremely dangerous and you're doing something that is fundamentally against the idea of India," he said.
''I'm sure there are good things the Prime Minister has done, but for me attacking the idea of India is unacceptable," he added.
The BJP on Saturday had accused Gandhi of harming India in his comments against Prime Minister Modi and alleged his frequent critical remarks about the country from foreign soils amounted to betraying it.
Gandhi said his party is working on plans to go to the ground with padayatra, meet people and walk with people as a way to actively mobilize people from October-November after the Congress presidential elections in August.
The event, organized by the School of the Humanities and Social Science at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge University, as part of a series of events celebrating the 75th year of Indian independence, marks the conclusion of Gandhi's UK tour which began last week.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)