Rahul Gandhi while delivering his first speech at Congress’ chintan shivir at the Jaipur on the concluding day said that the people of this country are his life and he will fight for them. “The people of India are my life and I will fight for the people of India and for this party. I will fight with everything I have. I invite all of you to stand up and take on this fight” said Rahul Gandhi amidst loud applauds.
Full text of Rahul Gandhi’s speech
This is a huge honour for me. Over the past 8 years and in the past 8 years the party has taught a lot to me. The party has reposed tremendous faith in me and I want to thank all of you from bottom of my heart for all the help and directions they have given me.
There are people from south India who want me to speak in English. There are people of north India who want me to speak in Hindi. As a tradition I will first speak in English and then in Hindi.
In 1947 India was liberated, not by arms, but by unleashing the voice of our people. Other countries fought violently; they fought with weapons; they fought with death; India fought with non-violence and with voice. Everybody told us that it can not be done. They told us if we want to get rid of British you have to use violence. But the Congress party said no and also said that we are not going to use violence. We will use non-violence and we defeated the biggest empire of that time and sent them home.
This was the energy behind our freedom movement. Voices.. millions and millions of voices.. Gandhiji’s successors led by Jawar Lal Nehru freed voices of every Indian by ensuring the democracy and became the bedrock of our constitution. Relentlessly championing the voice of every Indian will always be the essence of the Congress party. Every single Indian, without seeing his caste or religion, will be supported by the Congress party… no matter who he is.. no matter where he is.. If he is an Indian we work for him.
Let us look at the 60 years of India’s successes. They have all come when we gave our people voice. The green revolution restored the voice of the farmers.. Bank nationalization restored the voice of the poor.. IT and telecom revolution literally gave the people voice for million and millions of people. If you have got the mobile phones in your phones in your pockets that was the result of that revolution.
It is an honour that Manmohan Singh Ji is sitting here. Because he spearheaded another revolution.. In 1991 he unleashed the voice of thousands in the field of entrepreneurship and changed the country for ever..
The UPA Government has followed Gandhi Ji’s model. It has created platforms for those denied their voice in the political system. For the first time in our history our people have been guaranteed their basic rights; social and economic rights.. The food Bill will ensure that no mother sees her child goes hungry at night.. RTI gives every single Indian the right to personally take on the battle against corruption.. MNREGA has given millions of Indians pride in their work; The right to education enables every child to aspire to greatness. All of these radical innovations were possible only because of the growth provided by the Congress party and the UPA.
But there are many challenges ahead. The voices of the million of Indians today are telling us that they want a greater say in governance, in politics and in administration. They are telling us that the cause of their lives cannot be decided by a handful of people behind closed doors who are not fully accountable to them. They are telling us that India’s system of governance is stuck in the past; it has become a system that robs people’s voice; a system that disempowers instead of empowering;
But why we have been in this situation? Our ministries do the work of panchayats; Why do our Chief Ministers need to appoint a teachers? Why do our Vice Chancellors chosen by people who are far removed from the education system? No matter what the state you look at; No matter which political party you look at; Why do a handful of our people control the entire political space?
Power is grossly centralized in our country. We only empower the people at the top of our system. We don’t believe in empowering the people all the down all the way in the bottom. Every single day I meet people with tremendous understanding. Almost everywhere they are kept out of system.. No one can hear their voice.. No matter how much they try to speak.. no one listens.. I also meet people holding high positions.. they have tremendous voice but no understanding of the issues at hand..
Why this happens? It happens because we don’t respect knowledge.. We respect positions.. It doesn’t matter how much wisdom you have, if you do not have a position you mean nothing. This is the tragedy of India.. Why the youth are out on the streets? They are angry because they are alienated. They are excluded from the political class.. They watch from the sidelines.. Why are our women suffering? Because their voices have not been trampled upon the people with arbitrary powers on their lives. Why our poor are confined to poverty? Because decisions regarding their lives and the services they need are being taken by people far away answerable to them only in theory..
Unless we respect and empower people for their knowledge and understanding we cannot change anything in this country.. All our public system, administration, justice, education and political system are designed to keep people with knowledge out. They are all closed system. Their design creates mediocrity and mediocrity dominates. Mediocrity dominates discussions and the voices are crushed by the loudness of the people who posses neither the understanding nor compassion. Success in these systems does not come through building. It comes by excluding. It comes not by pushing people forward but by holding people back.
Everyday initiative is killed to maintain the status quo. We do not praise our colleagues or look at their strengths. We only look at the ways to neutralize them. Every day we face with the hypocrisy of this system. We see it every day but we pretend that it is not there. People who are corrupt stand up and talk about eradicating corruption. People who disregard women in their entire life talk about women’s rights. Until we start to respect and empower the people for their knowledge, for their understanding, we are never going to change this country.
We need the aam aadmi to participate in politics. Even if I speak, the decisions have been taken inside closed rooms. There is a young and impatient India and it is demanding a greater voice in the future of the nation. Let me tell you that they are not going to watch all silently.
Our priorities are clear. The time has come to question the centralized, unresponsive and unaccountable system of decision making in governance, administration and politics. Lots of people say that the system needs to be run better. What we need is to transform the system. We need to rethink about the system and we should reform it..
I am optimistic.. We have already put the building block for this revolution in place. And to a big degree I would like to thank the Congress President, the Prime Minister and the Congress party for putting these building blocks in place. Let me tell you what these building blocks are..
India is more connected today than it was ever been. We have the networks of roads, information, communication, people and media for new ideas to emerge. It is no longer possible to limit an idea.
Let me speak about Aadhaar. It gives us an unprecedented mechanism to recognize the unique journey and aspiration of every single Indian, no matter where he is. Direct Cash Transfer is going to allow us to respond to these dreams with an empowering delivery system. My father used to talk about 15 paise to rupee reaching the people. We today, are preparing a system that is going to answer that question. Now 99 percent of their money will go to the people. It is a revolution and no other country has done it. We are preparing that revolution.
We prepared the revolution and our opponents say that we are bribing the people. Giving the people their due is now called bribing the country. They say because they are scared. They understand what Aadhar can do, they understand what cash transfer can do, and most importantly they understand what people in the Congress party can do.
Panchayatiraj and women Self help movement gave us a platform to transform our democracy.. The balance of power in decision making must shift away from Delhi and state capitals to panchayats and wards. Congress party must wage the continuous and relentless battle to overcome social prejudice and discrimination against women, dalits, minorities and tribals.
I am optimistic about the building blocks but I am most optimistic and excited because I see the energy, the passion and the capability of the youth. We need to address their urgent demands for the jobs, now. Our institutions for learning and training must respond, first and foremost, to prepare youth its skill for the best jobs in the world. Equally, the decision that matters to creating jobs needs to be further liberated from irrational red tapes and outdated laws so that the tremendous energy of our youth can be wholly unleashed.
Now let me talk something about our organization. You have given me a big responsibility. Congress is a big family.. the biggest in the country and the world. Any one from Indian can join us. We need a quick transformation but proper thoughts are required to do it. For transformation, we all should work as a unit by listening to everyone’s voice.
I was heading the NSUI and Youth Congress and now I am the Vice President of the party. You should not feel that Rahul Gandhi listens to only NSUI and Youth Congress. Rahul Gandhi’s family is always with every one of you. From today onwards Rahul Gandhi will work for all in the party. I want to assure you that I will treat every one of you equally whether you are from Youth Congress, NSUI or any other party outfit. I will listen to all of you and will try to understand your problems.
There is no any permanent law and policy for Congress. It is the biggest party in the world and we keep on changing our policies as per the need of the system. That is the beauty of the Congress and on many occasions I myself thought how the system works in Congress. But people support us and we keep winning elections.
Congress is the party made by Gandhi Ji and it is filled with the DNA of India. Even our opponents are surprised to see the upsurge of our party. There are many parties who stand for certain religion, caste or community but we say that we are for Indians. We don’t see people seeing their caste or religion and we treat every Indian equally.
Still we need a proper system. We need to focus on effective leadership building. We need to develop more and more efficient leadership so that after five years we will not feel any shortage of leadership to run the states as well as the nation. We should build able and secular leadership for the future of our party and the country.
We should be careful in ticket distribution for elections. On many occasions we do not discuss with local leadership before distributing tickets. Many leaders from other parties come to us and we give ticket to them. After the elections they just run away. We need to give tickets on merit. We should change this. There should not be any parachuting of candidates from the top. We should respect the feeling of our cadres and leaders. We also should take strong actions against the rebel candidates.
The problem is in the implementation of our policies. You have the knowledge and wisdom and if we try to implement our policies, together, we can be successful and when we are successful no one can defeat us. We should listen more to the voices of the people at the grass root level. If we do so the frustration, anger and pain inside the people will come down. They will start thinking about us positively and that will help us to gain electorally.
I heard our senior leaders as well as the young members in the past two days. There is no shortage of knowledge in our party. No one thinks so deeply like us. I want to learn more from all of you. I want to listen to your voices and take it forward. I want to be a judge, not a lawyer.
I now want to shar some emotional things with you. Today I was standing at the balcony and was thinking about the huge responsibility given to me by the party and the workers. I want to tell a little bit of what I feel. I want to tell you about hope and I also want to tell you about power.
When I was a little boy, I used to play badminton. I loved it because it gave me balance in a complicated world. I was taught how to play in my grand mother’s house by two police men who protected my grand mother. Dear my friends, one day, they killed my grand mother and took away the balance in my life.
I felt pain like I never felt before. Many of us had experienced this and you will therefore understand my feelings. My father was in Bengal and he came back. The hospital was dark, green and dirty. There was a huge crowd screaming outside. They were very angry. It was the first time in my life that I saw my father crying. He was the bravest person I knew but I saw he was crying. Though I was a kid, I could see that my father was broken.
On those days our country was not the same what we see today. In the eyes of the world we had nothing. No cars, money or wealth and every one used to call us a poor country. The same evening I saw my father addressing the nation on Television. I knew; like me he was broken inside. He was terrified.
But when he spoke at that dark night, I saw a small glimmer of hope. It was like a small ray of light in a dark sky. The next day I realized that many people have seen it. Today as I look back I can see that it was that small ray of hope in the darkness that changed India as we see what today. Without hope you can not achieve anything. You can have plans, ideas, but unless you have hopes you can not change things.
Now I want to talk to you about power. Last night every single one of you congratulated me. But last night my mother came to my room. She sat with me and she cried. Why did she cry? She cried because she understands the power so many people seek is actually a poison. She can see it what it does to the persons around and the people they love. Most importantly she can see it because she is not attached to it.
The only antidote to this poison, for all of us, is not to become attached to it. We should not chase power for the attributes of power. We should only use it to empower the voice of people. It is my mother’s experience in her life time, it is my experience of 8 years, and I am sure many of you who deal with power every day understand what I am saying and realize the positive and the negative. We must not forget that there is negative and you have to be very careful when you administer the power.
Today India is not like it was in 1994. We are no longer seen as worthless. Today the entire world is quoting us. Today we are the future and as I said before nations are not built on schemes and plans but is on the foundation of a hope. I am standing here because the Congress party is the symbol of this hope and has a potential to embody it.I want to end by saying that the Congress party is my life. The people of India are my life and I will fight for the people of India and for this party. I will fight with everything I have. I invite all of you to stand up and take on this fight.