Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi arrived in the UK on Tuesday to kick off his week-long tour with an address at the University of Cambridge and also hold discussions with Indian diaspora groups here. The Opposition MP, who is a Visiting Fellow of the Cambridge Judge Business School will deliver a lecture on “Learning To Listen In the 21st Century.”
The 52-year-old Congress leader last addressed the University of Cambridge at an event at Corpus Christi College entitled “India at 75” during a visit to the UK in May last year.
Finally, RaGa did away with the long beard and white shirt that has become his trademark look ever since the Bharat Jodo Yatra. Images that went viral all through Wednesday showed the Congress looking sharp in a suit and trimmed beard ahead of the lecture at his alma mater, Cambridge University.
Even as the external affairs minister dismisses RaGa and his views over the erosion of democracy in India or the invasive China threat across the Arunachal border, Gandhi has etched for himself, a niche as a speaker on international themes such as “threats to the idea and structure of elected governments,” “erosion of institutions” or the “accountability of administration.”
Speaking at the India@75 event at Cambridge University’s Corpus Christi College on May 23 last year, he had voiced: “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 polarisation, when you isolate and demonise 200 million people, you are doing something extremely dangerous and you are doing something that is fundamentally against the idea of India.”
He also accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of creating a vision of India that is not “inclusive.”
Six years earlier, he addressed a similar event – India@70 – at University of California, Berkeley. The speech touched on “hatred, anger and violence and the politics of polarisation in contemporary India.”
Likewise, during online interviews and interactions in March and April 2021 with different American universities, Rahul charged the BJP and the RSS with “capturing India’s institutional framework.”
“There is not a single institution that is not under attack and it is systematically done. The judiciary, the press, the bureaucracy, the Election Commission … every single institution is systematically being filled by people who have a particular ideology and belong to a certain institution. I would not say eroding, I would say strangling,” he said during one such interaction.
Speaking to students of IMT Business school in Dubai in January 2019, Gandhi said India’s “ethos” was built on “tolerance”.