His father's son: Rahul Gandhi echoes Rajiv Gandhi's ideas, words
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Blame it on the static nature of Indian politics whose context remains unchanged for decades or attribute it to father-son bonding. As he sets out to "transform" the system in India, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi is drawing words, ideas, beliefs and even phraseology from his late father Rajiv Gandhi's speeches.
Even as Rajiv's famous 1985 US Congress address about the dreams of a "young" and "impatient" India has been the leitmotif of Rahul's political action plan, the latter's statement last week in the Parliament Central Hall about his belief in Nishkama Karma of the Gita echoed Rajiv's remarks in 1987 about how his late mother Indira Gandhi "never hesitated to do what she thought was right in the spirit of Nishkama Karma".
This was only the latest evidence of how the young scion of the Nehru-Gandhi family continues to seek intellectual inspiration from his father.
Interacting with students in Srinagar in 2008, Rahul had sought to differentiate between the education systems of India and abroad saying, "We don't ask people (students) to ask questions. When I was studying at St Stephen's College, asking a question was not (perceived to be) good in our class. You were looked down upon if you asked too many questions."
While this had caused outrage at his alma mater, forcing him to later visit the campus to clarify his remarks, it turns out that he was only echoing his father's views on the issue. "In education, our school system does not instill the inquiring spirit in the minds of our children. A questioning mind is not developed. We are taught by rote. We are taught that the teacher is always right and correct. We are taught never to question the teacher," said Rajiv at the Indian Science Congress in Bangalore in 1987.
After presenting the National Youth Awards 1985 in New Delhi, Rajiv had said: "I know from travelling around the country that there is a tremendous amount of excellence available in our people, but the system does not allow it to rise to the top; it suffocates, it stifles, and keeps mediocrity at the top." In another speech on responsive administration a few months later, the then prime minister observed, "Too often, I find that the bureaucracy is closed up into its own little boxes."
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