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There is no Hindu in nationalism: Rahul Gandhi says at Cambridge University

There is no Hindu in nationalism: Rahul Gandhi says at Cambridge University

Cambridge, UK: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Monday attended an event at Corpus Christi College at the prestigious Cambridge University entitled 'India at 75', where he alleged that the way conversations are happening in our country is being redefined, and that there is a "systematic attack" on the institutions that let India speak.

The event was organised by the School of the Humanities and Social Science at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge University, as a part of a series of events to celebrate 75 years of Indian independence.

Largely talking to an Indian student base, Mr Gandhi touched on several topics during the event, ranging from Hindu nationalism, the role of Gandhi's family within the Congress party and efforts put forth to bring together the people of the country.

Gandhi was in conversation with Dr Shruti Kapila, an Indian-origin academic from the university. He reiterated several key points from last week's conference, including the "deep state" impacted the country's politics.

He said, "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 organisation. And, as the conversation is being stamped out, the deep state is entering those spaces and redefining the way that conversation is happening."

Rahul Gandhi spoke about several topics with the students, among which was his view that India is a "union of states" as opposed to simply a nation. He insisted that the concept was beautiful, whereby every state and its people were given their rightful place. The former Congress party chief said, "I think this goes to the heart of Indians". He also said that the vision of India that is created by Prime Minister Narendra Modi is not inclusive. Not incorporating all of India's population is unfair and goes against the very idea of India, NDTV reported.

Responding to a question about secularism in India, Mr Gandhi said, "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."

"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 added.

The fight that his party is undertaking, according to him, is against the accumulation of wealth by a few, and the capture of institutions 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 Mr Gandhi.

Mr Gandhi stated that he didn't agree with the term "Hindu nationalism" when asked what was Congress' plan to counter it.

"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 demonise 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.

Gandhi was criticized by the BJP, saying that he was besmirching the country with his frequent comments against PM Modi, adding that he will be seen as betraying the country with his remarks about India from foreign countries.

Gaurav Bhatia, the BJP spokesperson, was reacting against Gandhi's remark at a conference organised on Friday by non-profit think-tank Bridge India in London.

"That's for the Congress party to decide. There's a presidential election, the party has to decide," he said when asked if the party needs leadership outside the Gandhi family.

This event was the conclusion of Rahul Gandhi's UK tour, which began last week.

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