Even if Rahul Gandhi fumbled
again while expressing him out, by our common sense, by the sense of the
public, he doesn't deserve to be hooted.
Yes, the political booing is an
altogether different thing in an age when Indian politics has no talking points
left on norms of ethics.
It can be safely said that the
right intent of Rahul Gandhi, once again, chose the wrong or misplaced words to
express what he meant and since his intent was amply clear, he is to be given
the clear benefit of unclear doubt.
According to the media reports on
his address to the congregation of the women members of the Indian National
Congress yesterday, on the occasion of the 70th birth anniversary of
the former prime minister and his father Rajiv Gandhi, this is what Rahul
Gandhi said - Mr Gandhi, referring occasionally to notes, focused a large
part of his speech on urging his party to ensure the safety of women. "In India, we
worship goddesses," he said. "But the same people who go to temples
to pray to goddesses molest you in buses. Every woman in India has been
oppressed at some point," Mr Gandhi said. (NDTV here - http://www.ndtv.com/article/india/congress-needs-woman-power-tsunami-says-rahul-gandhi-to-workers-578851)
Now, that is basically about a
good intent only.
One of the basic tenets of the
human nature is that we all have good and bad elements within our psyche and
which one plays out when and to which scale is circumstantial, shaped over a period
Yes, there are impulsive gaffes
as well, but they clearly come in the ‘to be given benefit of doubt’ category.
Now, by nature, most of us in the
Indian society are religious and every religious person in this country visits
the places of worship and offers prayers – be the person with refined
sensibility on universal norms of social behaviour - or the person with no
regard to moral values and human life – or the persons in the in-between
Yes, we believe Rahul Gandhi was
addressing to this section of the people in our society who become perpetrators
of crimes, from molestation to rape, from fights to killings, from thefts to
robberies, from bribes to extortion. We cannot say they don’t visit the places
of worship, irrespective of why they visit.
Believing in a God must be about
refinement of the character – but we are living in times when value-distortions
have become so common, so as to become the regulars in lives.
But God never accepts them. God
will never accept them. Even if they visit the places of worship daily.
What Rahul Gandhi said was
correct in intent, yes, but he wasn’t politically correct in expressing
His speech should have been
religion-neutral, like ‘places of worship’ in place of ‘temple’, like ‘Goddess’
in place of ‘Devi’ or doing away with it altogether.
Yes, it can be said it was said
consciously, given the Congress’ history of Muslim votebank appeasement
politics – but, in the changed political circumstances, when the nation saw how
the religious appeasement politics of Congress and other parties failed and how
it polarised the majority Hindu votes – the senior Congress leaders would not
tread that line in the near future, and no Congress strategist would advise
Rahul Gandhi to do so openly – so, here, Rahul Gandhi can be safely given the
benefit of doubt on ‘wrong selection of words’.
It was reflected even in the
media coverage. The speech was delivered yesterday but the controversy erupted only
today after the political opponents including the BJP raised the issue. But it
died down soon with no prime-time media programming centered on it.
Because what Rahul said was not
wrong – because it was said with a right intent – and such rightly-intended ‘gaffes
with wrong selection of words’ don’t make for big news stories.
While speaking on women’s rights yesterday,
even if Rahul Gandhi was politically incorrect, he was correct socially.