A substantial section of the media has painted Rahul Gandhi as a progressive, liberal and young leader in India’s political landscape. Now, I don’t want to question their wisdom and I want to avoid getting into political rhetoric on the subject; if they believe he has “come of age” I believe they may have facts to support their assessment.
However, I also have some facts that I would want to present that may make one wonder how progressive and how liberal the Indian National Congress led by Rahul Gandhi is. The answer to this very apparent when one considers their opposition or rather hesitation to sit in the parliament house and vote for the triple talaq bill. While Rahul Gandhi is busy lecturing in colleges on “Women-Empowerment” he needs to be reminded that it was his father who overturned the Shah-Bano judgement and devoid the Muslim women of their basic rights. It is logical then, to expect the Congress to stage a walkout on the triple talaq bill, after all, why would they undo what was the result of their politics of appeasement.
However, Rahul Gandhi has reinforced his misogynist thoughts when he made the statement that the Prime Minister asked a “woman” to defend him. Someone should have told Rahul Gandhi that women defend not just the Prime Minister but every Indian. We come from a land that worships warrior Goddesses like Durga and Kali and our freedom has been protected by women of valour like Rani Laxmibai. You can’t blame him for his ignorance, though, but you must blame him for such a regressive statement. I am yet to see feminists move on to streets and ask for an apology, but then again, I don’t need them to fight this battle for gender equality as they only dilute it with their selective outrage. In fact, many of them hail him as the “most” progressive politician in India.
This most “progressive” leader of India is so proud of being born as a Man that he’s resorted to publicly asking people to “Be A Man” on Twitter, I wonder what it does be to “be a man” or “be a woman”. Isn’t the liberal discourse fighting to break these gender stereotypes? Maybe the fight is not to break such stereotypes but to bring back certain people in power, it seems.
It is not just misogyny; the Congress, its leaders and sympathizers are also some of the most intolerant individuals in public discourse. In fact, their favourite button on “Twitter” is the block button that they use every time someone presents them with facts, data or asks them a question.
This also shows the “elite” mindset that persists amongst them, which forces them to not be considerate of diverse sets of views. But all of this is in contrast with what Rahul Gandhi says or portrays in public life; underneath the hugs and “politics of love” is a great PR campaign that’s trying to rebrand the most regressive party as a torchbearer of the liberal discourse. Interestingly, my liberal friends seem to have no problem with this as these liberal friends represent the ecosystem that has benefited from the rule of Congress.
But irrespective of these branding and PR efforts, the facts will remain the same and when people judge them on facts: they’d realize the truth. The masks are off Rahul Gandhi as he represents everything that has been wrong with the society since decades and when you scratch underneath the surface, you’d find the “regressive party of the so-called progressive leader”.
Karan Bhasin is a political economist by training and has diversified research interests in the field of economics. He tweets @karanbhasin95.