“This morning (Sunday) I got up at 4, got into the balcony and thought: ‘Now you have a big responsibility in front of you’.
It was dark and cold and I decided I am not going to tell you only what you wanted to hear. I decided I’m gonna tell you a little bit about what I feel... tell you about hope and power.”
Thus began the second part of Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi’s address to the AICC session here on Sunday. It was emotion all the way, expressed, as he said, straight from the heart.
If he spoke of a system that was mediocre and a youthful nation that is disillusioned with that system in the earlier part of the speech, Rahul turned emotional later as he mentioned that his mother Sonia Gandhi cried on Saturday night as both sat in his room following his appointment as party vice-president.
“Last night (Saturday), every single one of you congratulated me... many of you hugged me and congratulated me. But last night my mother came to my room and she cried. Why did she cry? She cried because she understands that the power so many people seek is actually a poison,” said Rahul.
He continued: “She can see it — what it does to a people around and to the people they love. But most importantly, she can see it, she is not attached to it (power). The only antidote to this poison is we should not become attached to it. We should not chase power, we should only use it to empower the voiceless.”
Referring to the assassination of his grandmother Indira Gandhi, Rahul said he remembered the hope that his father Rajiv created in him as he addressed the nation as prime minister one cold October night in 1984.
“When I was a little boy, I loved to play badminton. I loved it because it gave me balance in a complicated world. I was taught how to play in my grandmother’s house by two policemen who protected my grandmother.
They were my friends. Then one day, they killed my grandmother and took away the balance in my life. I felt a pain that I never felt before. Many of us have experienced this... so you will understand what I am saying.”
He said it was the first time in his life that he saw Rajiv crying. “He was the bravest person I knew and yet, I saw him crying. I was small but I could see that my father was broken. They had taken away his mother.”
Rahul said he saw hope in Rajiv’s address to the nation. “Today, as I look back in a political career of eight years, I can see it was a small ray of hope in the darkness that helped change India into what it is today.
Without hope you cannot achieve anything.”
Then he added: “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 fight,” he said to a thunderous applause.