Facebook and twitter have been very harsh on Rahul Gandhi over the years, especially in the recent months. His every spoken word in the public domain is dissected and twisted, giving Rahul Gandhi the appearance of a clown. We take him lightly, we ridicule him, there are jokes floating around that depict the Gandhi scion in a frivolous light. He is an easy target because he is not entirely politically mature. He can be impulsive and insensitive.
We derive a strange kind of satisfaction from shaming Rahul Gandhi. His disjointed interview to Arnab Goswami before the general elections turned him into a subject of national mockery, we tried to infringe on his privacy when he was away for around two months, for whatever reason. We call him names and lash him with all kinds of allegations.
It is very easy to blame him for not being the perfect Gandhi, it’s very easy to hold him responsible for the debacle in the elections because he was the face of the campaign.
We do not recognise and appreciate his efforts because we like throwing punches at him, we want him to remain in our eyes the irresponsible brat. Where will the fun come from if we treated Rahul Gandhi fairly?
We give it to him on a daily basis, but he keeps coming back. He knows he has limitations, but that hasn’t stopped him from doing his duty. He recently visited the Maisuma locality, near the city center of Lal Chowk, the hub of separatist protests in the J&K region. He went there to show solidarity with the affected locals, and to have a cup of tea and some snacks at a local vendor.
There was such a hue and cry. We questioned his intentions, we blamed him for politicising his visit when he was simply meeting a few families there, enquiring about the issue they were facing. It was really silly on our part to waste our time, to make comments on social media about his visit. We did the same when he went away on a mysterious vacation, and when he gave a somewhat embarrassing interview to Times Now.
Like vultures, we attack him for his average intelligence, we hold him responsible for every small misery in the Congress party.
Let’s take a step back. Let’s remember where he has come from. Let’s remember that he is trying. Let’s not forget that he has one of the toughest jobs in the country, of reviving a dying party.
He is aware of the public perception, yet, he doesn’t go into a shell. He takes every ridicule and jibe on the chin, with a smile, and moves on. He should be credited for soaking so much pressure and attack from every corner.
It has been over four months now since Rahul Gandhi resurfaced from his sabbatical and there has been a marked difference. He is more out there now. He is interacting with the people, he is going to far-flung places, he is speaking more in the parliament now, he is exchanging blows and not afraid of taking on even Prime Minister Narendra Modi, someone who is a master in the art of politics.
Sense will come, maturity will come, too. He will make fewer mistakes and learn from them. Politically, he is growing up every day. All we need to be is a little patient with him.
I recently read an interview of Ruby Dhalla, a Canadian politician, and I was happy to hear her echo similar sentiments. She said: “people like Rahul Gandhi work hard to engage people and inspire them and make them part of the process. Rahul’s style of politics will ultimately be very positive.”