Rahul Gandhi is reading these days. The Congress vice-president has turned to the Upanishads and the Bhagwad Gita to take on the BJP and the RSS.
Since time immemorial, many Indians have taken solace in these scriptures and other forms spirituality, religiosity, rituals in times of personal distress. But the purpose has mostly been self-centered or even mundane — to temporarily divert their minds from their troubles and focus on the positives.
Rahul, on the other hand, is reading the Upanishads and the Bhagwad Gita not for personal enlightenment, or to have a deeper understanding of Hinduism and Indian spirituality, its origin and evolution, but to focus on the problem at hand. Interestingly, the Congress vice-president is spending his time and energy in going through the volumes of the Gita and the Upanishads to fight a political battle against the BJP and the RSS. Much to the relief of the Congress supporters and sympathisers, who still believe in deliverable charisma of the Gandhi-Nehru family, Rahul has not yet turned to spirituality.
Addressing Congress functionaries in Chennai, Rahul reportedly said: “Nowadays, I study the Upanishads and the Gita since I am fighting the RSS and BJP... I ask them (RSS men), my friend, you are doing this, you are oppressing people, but it is written in the Upanishads that all are the same and how come you are contradicting what your own religion says.” The Congress vice-president, thereafter, brought up his favourite theme against the RSS, the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi and said that they don't "understand India".
Rahul's "how come you (BJP) are contradicting what your own religion says" statement also indicates that he considers the ruling party a Hindu organisation and not a political party. The BJP, obviously, will not take to this kindly.
The timing of Rahul's desire to read raises one question — did the wisdom to study the Upanishads and the Bhagwad Gita dawn on him after Congress' humiliating defeat in Uttar Pradesh and devbhoomi Uttarakhand and upon seeing a saffron-clad Yogi Adityanath becoming the chief minister of India's most populous state.
Rahul has not specified which volume of the Upanishads he is studying. There are more than 200 volumes of the Upanishads, first transferred through shurti (oral tradition) and then codified through the centuries, spanning through BC (Before Christ) to early AD (Anno Domini) era.
Rahul's reading capacity and ability to internalise it is not something known to the Indians. It can't be assessed if after reading the ancient scriptures, Rahul will be able to enter into a debate with the RSS on political philosophy and spirituality.
During the Uttar Pradesh election, Rahul first compared Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Shah Rukh Khan of Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge and then with Gabbar Singh of Sholay — neither the Congress workers nor the audience could understand the reference. In fact, many were seen leaving the ground after Rahul started using his favourite punchline.
Similarly, during the 2014 Lok Sabha election, Rahul used to talk about "escape velocity" — his innovative political thoughts remained a mystery to most.
By the time Rahul gets to campaigning for the next round of Assembly elections — Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh — by the year-end, he will most probably come out with more convincing arguments drawn from the Gita and the Upanishads. After Rahul is done studying the scriptures, may be the Congress workers could coin a catchphrase to respond to Sangh Parivar's 'Jai Sri Ram' war cry.
But the Congress workers also have a reason to fear. If Rahul seriously internalises the philosophy in the Gita, he might go in the path of renunciation and come to the conclusion that Modi's victories were for the good and BJP's gains in other states would be for the good. He is responsible for nothing and need not do anything to turn Congress' fortune for it was never his, nor would ever remain attached to him.
As the well-known precis of the Bhagwad Gita has it: "Whatever happened was good. Whatever is happening is good. Whatever will happen will also be good. You need not have any regrets for the past. Do not worry for the future. Live in present. What of yours has gone to make you cry? You came empty-handed and you will go empty-handed. Which is yours today, belonged to someone else yesterday, will belong to someone else tomorrow. All these things, which give you happiness, is the reason of sorrow. What did you bring with you that you have lost? What did you create which is now destroyed? What you have taken you have taken only from here. What was given was given only from here. What is yours today, was someone else's yesterday, will be someone else's tomorrow. Change is the law of the universe."
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Updated Date: Jun 05, 2017 22:02:52 IST