Rahul Gandhi recently addressed a gathering of some 2000 students of Mount Carmel Women's College in Bangalore. During an interactive session with the girls, Gandhi happened to ask "Is Swacch Bharat working?" The girls roared back with a mix of 'yes' and ‘no’. He repeated the question but to the same effect. "How about Make in India? Do you think its working?" he asked but once again he got a mixed response.
In reply, a student of the college, Elixir Nahar, wrote an open letter to all the '#RahulStumped Enthusiasts' saying that Rahul Gandhi was not snubbed at all.
Since much else of what Gandhi said was drowned in the widely-reported "ha-ha" moment, here are some pointers from his interactive session with the Mount Carmel girls.
- If you want to achieve anything in life, you have to listen to people, appreciate people and work with people around you. You are only going to be successful if you listen to people around you, work with people around you and carry them with you.
- Women do not have the place they deserve. They are mistreated, made to feel uncomfortable, categorised -- someone is pretty, someone is thin, someone is smart, these things the society invents. For me all of you are beautiful, every single one of you has a place in this country and every single one of you needs to be respected and given that place. And that is what I sit here fighting for...Carrying out physical violence on a woman because you don't appreciate what she does, in this country, that is not acceptable and that is something that I will contest and I will fight for.
- There is a central difference between the Congress and BJP-RSS: we want to give every single person space in this room, even if we don't agree with that person. We want to give them the space to talk. We want to listen to them and say that we don't agree with you but as an Indian and as a member of this college, you have an equal right to put your views across.
- That is what is disturbing about the country today. We can have FTII students being shut up and not be listened to. They can go on strike as long as they want. A member of the government does not have the decency to go there and say, okay why are you complaining. After that you can say we don't agree with you and you are wrong. At least go and have the conversation.
- My vision of India is what the people of India want. Let's discuss what you want, we put together and that's the vision of India. Who is Rahul Gandhi to have a vision of India?
- If you look at our political system today, very few people have decision making power in it. In the central government today, there's only one man who decides every single decision. It can't possibly be that one man has all the answers to this country, it can't be.
- The PM believes that India can be run through the PMO. He believes that Narendra Modi jee himself can transform India. I don't believe that. I have seen India for too long to believe that one man can transform a country of 1.3 billion people. I believe that the only way to transform this country is to empower the people of this country.
- If somebody has an issue, if somebody is concerned, it is always better to talk to them and understand what they are saying. Just attacking them doesn't give you a solution. I think the most important thing is to listen to people. Shouting at people is very very easy. If someone says something you don't like, you can shout at them, abuse them, beat them and shut them up. That's easy to do. It's not very difficult. But it's much more powerful to listen to someone. It's much more powerful to engage with that someone and say listen, what is it that's concerning you, come, let's talk. Let's have a conversation, let's see if we can work something out. Same way, hating someone is very easy. It's the easiest thing to do. Loving someone is a much more powerful thing to do. The more conversation the better, the less nastiness the better, the less hatred, the better, the more love and affection the better. It's just a different philosophy. I don't like what's going on with regards to intolerance It disturbs me as an Indian. I don't like when a young Indian speaks, he is shut up and bullied.
Watch the full speech: