Why Rahul Gandhi’s vision of India is one with opportunity & inclusion

Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo walk inspired tens of millions of Indian people to join and express their concerns, commitments, hopes, dreams and aspirations as much Indians settled abroad, writes NRI-philanthropist Frank Islam

Washington DC | Updated: 01 June, 2023 03:05 pm IST
Rahul Gandhi, Frank F. Islam
Rahul Gandhi & Sam Pitroda meet US billionaire philanthropist Frank Islam.

On behalf of my wife Debbie and our co-host, Sam Pitroda, it was my pleasure and privilege to welcome Indians and US locals to this reception and dinner with Rahul Gandhi this week in Washington DC.

I am sure most of those who have followed Rahul’ Bharat Jodo Yatra, which began last September and concluded in January, know its success.

Let me take the perspective on the walk one step further though and say that I believe we came together at this event to host Rahul as concerned individuals to help “unite and renew democracies.”

Rahul Gandhi, Frank F. Islam
Rahul Gandhi & Sam Pitroda meet Frank Islam.

I say this because the Republic of India and the United States of America are the two largest democracies in the world.

I think most will agree with me that over the past decade or so both of our great democracies have become more divided and exclusive rather than united and inclusive.

I believe people will also agree that how our two great democracies evolve will determine the fate and future not only of India and the U.S. but of democracies around the world.

Rahul Gandhi, Frank F. Islam
Rahul Gandhi during a US visit.

Will they become more democratic or more autocratic?  Ensuring that they become more democratic is the challenge and opportunity at this time and for this century.

At the outset therefore, I want to thank for the investment they have made to the commitment to the future of democracy in India, the United States; and world-wide.

That said, let me share a few thoughts about Rahul Gandhi and Sam Pitroda.

Here are three thoughts on the leader that Rahul Gandhi is

First, congratulations to you him and the Congress Party for the overwhelming victory over the BJP in the recent elections in the state of Karnataka.

The margin there is an indication that electoral politics in India may be starting to turn around as we move into the 2024 national elections.

Second, the Bharat Jodo Yatra from Kerala to Kashmir, which took nearly 150 days, and covered 2,500 miles through some difficult terrain and weather, took considerable discipline and determination.

Most importantly, however, that walk was a labor of love – a love of India and its people, a love of what India has been and what it can become.

Third, the walk inspired tens of millions of Indian people to join and express their concerns, commitments, hopes, dreams and aspirations.

That is Rahul Gandhi’s vision for India – one India and one people united in the pursuit of equity, opportunity and inclusion – an India where all voices matter and are heard and not just those of a chosen few.

Rahul Gandhi, Frank F. Islam
Rahul Gandhi with US billionaire philanthropist Frank Islam.

I must also say that that I think that because of who Sam Pitroda is and what he has accomplished that he is the perfect person to introduce Rahul Gandhi abroad.

People must know Sam as the telecommunications genius, inventor, and entrepreneur who is credited with founding the telecom industry in India in the 1980s.

Since then, he has worked tirelessly for more than four decades as a leader in helping to bridge the digital divide globally.
You probably are aware of the role that Sam played as an advisor to Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, leading missions to revolutionize the use of technology to upgrade life in a number of areas throughout India and founding and serving as the first chairman of India’s Telecomm Commission.

What people may not be aware of is the critical roles that Sam has played in making the Indian democracy a better and fairer one for all of its citizens regardless of caste, color, or creed.

From 2005-2009, he headed India’s National Knowledge Commission which put together a blueprint for the reform of India’s knowledge-related institutions and infrastructure.

In 2013, he was the advisor to the Prime Minister on the Public Information Infrastructure and Innovation.  In that role, he was instrumental in putting together plans to improve the nation’s performance in key sectors such as education, health and governance and an action plan for a decade of innovation to make India competitive globally.

This is why I say that Sam Pitroda is the perfect person to introduce Rahul on his visits abroad.

Like Rahul, he not only has talked the talk, he has also walked the walk to Unite India and to unite and renew democracies around the globe.

It’s time Indian Americans must realise why Rahul’s visits abroad can be turnaround feature for the Congress if it has to make more headways in 2024 polls.

Frank F Islam is an entrepreneur, Civic Leader and thought leader based in Washington DC.

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