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Rahul Gandhi speaks to American Indians, focus on the need to defend democracy in India

Rahul Gandhi

New York: Former Congress President Rahul Gandhi addressed the Indian Diaspora in New York and stressed on values of humility, acceptance, and the need to defend democracy and the idea of India.

He expressed pride in the Indian community’s representation of the country in the US and said that their humble and accepting behaviour is commendable. Slamming the BJP and RSS, he said the ongoing political struggle in India can be summed up as the clash between the ideologies of Mahatma Gandhi and Nathuram Godse.

Highlighting the forward-looking, modern, and inclusive vision of Mahatma Gandhi, he said Godse was “violent, angry, and fearful”. He added that Godse could not confront his own reality. Rahul added that Gandhi’s courage in facing the powerful British empire is in contrast to the BJP and RSS's fixation on the past and their tendency to shift blame onto others.

He asserted that hate, violence, and arrogance do not align with Indian values. He reiterated his commitment to serving the people and his belief in the transformative power of love, affection, and kindness.

He also spoke of Ambedkar, Sardar Patel, Jawaharlal Nehru, Basavanna, Narayanan Guru, Guru Nanak Ji, and Buddha as examples of humility. The mention was met with someone from the audience shouting "Jai Bhim!".

He voiced concern over the attack on India's democratic institutions, including the judiciary and the media. Criticising the Modi government, he said the PM is not looking forward. "He is trying to drive the Indian car and he only looks in the rear-view mirror and then he doesn’t understand why this car is crashing, not moving forward and it is the same idea with the BJP, with the RSS… all of them. You listen to them, you listen to their ministers, you listen to the Prime Minister… you will never find them talking about the future. They will only talk about the past and they will always blame somebody else for the past."

The Congress leader asked the diaspora to defend the idea of India and its constitutional values. He also applauded the Indian community for its ability to embrace diversity and extend help to others without regard for religion.

“The other thing that you did was you accepted the culture of the United States, the language of the United States, the history of the United States, the diverse religions of the United States. You did not come here and fight or abuse the culture, the religion, or the history of the United States. So, for us, you and millions like you are ambassadors… people who represent our country and people who represent a particular view of our country because as you know, there is a fight going on back home… a fight between two ideologies - one that we represent and the other, of course, that the BJP and the RSS represent,” said Rahul Gandhi.

Addressing the challenges faced by India, Rahul Gandhi stressed the importance of focusing on the future and adopting a global perspective. He emphasised the need to strengthen the partnership between India and the United States, particularly in areas such as technology, job creation, and countering the economic competition posed by China. He also urged the audience to engage in discussions about the revolution in mobility, data, and connectivity, and the transformation of the world's energy system.

“The Indian community is so intelligent. No! The reason the Indian community is successful here is that the Indian community has respected the United States, the people of the United States, and the customs of the United States and has embraced them. You have embraced the United States, you have embraced the people of the United States,” he added.

He also expressed his willingness to listen to their perspectives and suggestions regarding the India-US relationship and other important issues. He encouraged the diaspora to leverage their talent and contribute to the development of both the United States and India, emphasising that NRIs have historically played significant roles in India's freedom movement.

Rahul Gandhi received a warm reception from New York’s Indian community. An interactive session was held where he spoke to the audience.

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