Rahul Gandhi, the Congress leader, has said that there is a “systematic attack” on the institutions that allow India to speak, and that as the discourse is stifled, the “deep state” is invading those places and redefining how the country’s conversation takes place.
During an event titled ‘India at 75’ at the prestigious Cambridge University’s Corpus Christi College on Monday evening, Gandhi spoke on a wide range of topics, including Hindu nationalism, the Gandhi family’s role within the Congress party, and efforts to mobilize the country’s people, while fielding questions from a largely Indian student base.
Gandhi spoke with Dr. Shruti Kapila, an Indian-origin academic at the institution, about some of the arguments he made at the conference last week, including the impact of the “deep state” on Indian politics.
“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, election system, 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,” he said.
Outside the lecture theatre, a small group of students had gathered with placards which read: “Rahul Gandhi keep your promise on mining” with reference to the adivasis in Chhattisgarh, an issue he said he was working on within the party.
He debated students on a variety of themes, including his view of India as a “union of states” rather than a nation, which he described as a “wonderful vision” that gives the people of each state their proper place.
“I think this goes to the heart of Indians,” the former Congress party chief said.
During the interactive session, Gandhi also said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is creating a vision of India that is not inclusive of all parts of the country’s population, which is unfair and goes against the idea of India.
“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,” said Gandhi, in response to a question about secularism in India.
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