Spring of change
Rahul Gandhi taking on the highest echelon of the Indian National Congress is no small feat for the Gandhi scion. Rising amid a fair share of negative publicity, a troubled childhood, and a wayward adulthood, Rahul is now seated to officially reinvigorate the party that is losing all its stakes across the country. The Narendra Modi wave that hit India in 2014, has shown no signs of stopping in the three years that have gone by. Taking charge, Rahul enters centre stage at a most tumultuous time, when the party is in desperate need of acceleration and introspection to restart the successful inroads that were lost to the promises of 'parivartan'. While a position of great admiration, he has an indomitable history to parallel. The legacy of the Congress party is a massive shadow that will loom large in his foreground; with big boots to fill in, Rahul must take charge with all guns blazing, leaving no time to falter or spend in new correction. Our country today too is in need of a strong opposition. Communal fury is on the rise. Shameful cases of violence, assassination and hate mongering have inundated our society—majoritarianism is detrimental, not only for the minority but, in the long run, for the majority too. Agrarian crisis is still an impending concern, a merciful monsoon has protected our farmers this year, but the challenges of global warming are increasing by the minute and agrarian India stands to be the most forsaken victim of this 21st-century evil. The population is gradually growing to become weary of the current government with demonetisation and GST not suiting the sensibilities of the average Indian. The small and medium enterprises have faced the devastating backlash of the sudden change in the functionality of the cash economy; they are desperate for a new mode of governance that will reinstate their faith in the Indian democracy. While these loopholes prevail in the current scenario, how well that will transcend on to victory for the Congress depends entirely upon how efficiently Rahul is able to extend his duties as the party chief of the Grand Old Party of India. For his saving grace, he needn't look too far for support. A tilt to the right, towards his mother, might provide him with the necessary concoctions that would be essential to stir up the Congress, successfully assisting them in tapping onto the conflicts that abound at present. While Rahul took on the high chair, it was also time to bid farewell to Sonia Gandhi, the unexpected Gandhi who took charge of the Congress at a most critical stage, turning their fate around and ruling two successful governments at the centre before falling prey to the flipside of coalition governance—corruption in office. Sonia's life has been far from desirable. Aside from the glitz of being a 'Gandhi bahu', the untimely assassination of her mother-in-law and husband, with two young children to raise and an entire legacy of Gandhi-Nehruvian socialism to carry forth, she was served a platter too large for her hands. Yet, Sonia never hesitated. Displaying the resolve of a determined woman, she has been the longest serving matriarch of the INC, despite never been born into this history. She took charge at a time when the Congress held power in barely three states and the Centre was well outside its vision. The unexpected leader, she will be remembered most fondly for reviving the Congress at a time when they were in the strongest need of gravitas to cement their losing position. Setting aside personal crises, Sonia refused to falter, until her government did in the UPA-II regime, with repeated instances of corruption. This corruption is the only black spot with which the present government made its inroads in 2014, reducing the Congress to mere 44 seats in the Parliament. A most humiliating position, yet, a defeat must not erase Sonia's legacy or her journey that begun from nowhere to reach the top. An astute thinker, remaining in the shadows and pulling the reins with utmost efficacy, the country will remember her as the most dignified politician, probably the last in her era—given now, how we have succumbed to a politics of crass remarks and opponent shaming, divorced from the dignity that was displayed by Parliamentarians in the 20th century. Rahul has a long way to go and several barriers to overcome before he touches his pinnacle of success. His determination and perseverance at this critical juncture will be the test that he must surpass. His rivals will leave no stone unturned to shame him for each step he takes, yet, he must remain undeterred in gaining momentum to restore the Congress' lost glory and reinstate India's pride as a democracy that thrives amid celebrated multiplicity. To fight majoritarianism and raise the symbolic tricolour at par with the lotus, Rahul must begin with all guns blazing. India awaits a new future of youthful rejuvenation.