- World News
- In Pics
After a super-hit graduation ceremony at their Goa campus with cricketing legend Rahul Dravid gracing the occasion, the BITS Pilani group decided to bring on another Rahul from a different walk of life, to grace the ceremony – none other than Nehru-Gandhi scion, Rahul Gandhi. The UnReal Times correspondent Rajniti Sarkarwala brings you the transcript of Rahul’s speech. (Ed: Do read Rahul’s speech to appreciate this better)
The auditorium in BITS Pilani’s Goa Campus is teeming with young, dynamic graduating students, who cheer loudly as the Nehru-Gandhi scion walks in, accompanied by Mani Shankar Aiyar and Digvijaya Singh.
Birla: Now then, what message would Shri Rahul Gandhi like to give to the graduating batch?
Rahul Gandhi: Let me ask you the same question, Birlaji. What message would you like to give?
Birla: Err… well… er…
Rahul Gandhi: Haha…relax. I’m just kidding!
The students laugh politely. Mani Shankar Aiyar and Digvijay Singh, however, hold their sides and guffaw uproariously for a full minute, after which they manage to catch their breath and stammer, “Good one, Rahul Baba.” Rahul baba begins his speech.
Rahul Gandhi: With the blessings of Mrs. Sonia Gandhi, I hereby begin my speech. Most of you might know me, but for those who do not, my name is… one sec… I’ve lost it (rummages through his notes for a few seconds)…Yes, my name is Rahul Gandhi.
It is an honor and privilege to be among you today to deliver an address on the graduation ceremony. It is fascinating to visit an institution like BITS, because I have always believed that we are not a nation. All of us are bits….of energy and our country is something that is moving forward by this collection of bits. (People in the audience look at each other in confusion) If India is an engineering college, Congress is the principal.
I am also really lucky. I have been told that BITS stands for Birla Institute of Technology and Sciences, and that the minimum marks required to come to BITS is 75%. Luckily such standards do not apply in selecting your chief guest (“or I wouldn’t be speaking anywhere” mutters Rahul to himself) A decade since my entry into politics has been a wonderful period of introspection and an opportunity to reflect on my career. Looking back I am certain that politics has made me worse, though not a well-rounded person like, say, Mr.Gadkari, it certainly gave me the opportunity to become more amateur personally and the platform to be insulated from both success and failure. I am often asked for advice, how to be successful. I can only say, that if you expect one man on a horse to come and give you advice on success – boss, not happening!
I’d like you to picture a boy from a royal family. I was that boy. My father was the Prime Minister, as was his mother and as was her father. Politics was always on at home and my father had politics everywhere, in his shirt, in his pant etc. As a young boy, apart from Rani ki Jhansi, I hero-worshiped my father. I remember at some point, feeling deep inside me, what I wanted to do – nothing! Finding myself in the Gandhi household was no accident of birth, it appeared. I learnt that sometimes royalty just stares you in the face.
Through my school days I was getting more and more into my own world of nothingness and timepass. However there is an interesting story from my school days which I would like to tell you. My parents had the same doubts and fears as many other parents of our time. What was to become of me if all I thought about was nothing?
When I was in 8th standard, they took their concern to Mr. Girish, my school principal. I had just scored 15 for the second time in a row. My parents met my principal and apologetically stated that as my studies and school attendance would interfere with my politics, they could not ask me to enter school. They therefore sought his advice on the way forward. Mr. Girish, my PT master, after giving them a patient hearing, told them, you leave his marks to me, I will handle that, you let him learn politics. Had Mr. Girish disagreed with my parents’ concern, there was a chance I would’ve stopped being in politics altogether, developed some intelligence and made some difference to the world – life would then have followed another script. I learnt that support always comes from the most expected places and it makes all the difference. (Watching from their drawing rooms, Mayawati and Mulayam Singh Yadav sit up abruptly)
Though we did not have the chance to regularly play elections of national quality, I made up some unusual drills for myself. I would go to Dalit farmers’ houses and eat their daal-chawal, to simulate what mocking the poor might feel like. I got many puzzled looks – to many it seemed like a waste of time. By this time I was being talked about as a national probable. I even captained the Congress under 19 team, I mean, the Youth Congress. The question I got wherever I went was: When are you going to lead the country? Now this is not something I had any control over, but the question began to dominate my life and my career. I somehow ended up being safe for many years in the Youth Congress, before getting my national grade. It was frustrating. I remember putting a sticker on my jet plane which read, “God’s delays are, unfortunately, not God’s denials.” It was a gentle reminder to myself that I can’t escape the limelight for long.
The opportunity that I had to play with some experienced spinners from Hamara Congress helped me play with Manish Tewari and Kapil Sibal with confidence. Those Dalit farmer visits did seem silly, when I played the likes of Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav on tough pitches, but the spinners never made it seem so. When I speak to youngsters, I like talking about no phase of my life, likening it to an empty plot which I am never going to entangle.
You can take a moss and plant it in the ground, water and nurture that for an entire year. You will not see any growth. In fact you will not see growth for 10 years. In fact, you will never see any growth at all. But it will still be all over the place. This phenomenon reinforced my willingness to remain omnipresent, yet, dormant in my journey.
Overall I’ve had an extremely gratifying career- no highs, no lows. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed being where I stood, sense of peace and parity, because it is then I realized that you do not have to be the number 1 in the world, you just have to be in a number 1 family. Reaching that peak is the highest peak there is. I would like to wish all of you the very best!
And for those who haven’t graduated, do not worry. After all, graduation is just a state of mind.
Students in the audience look at each other trying to figure out how to respond, when a bunch of Youth Congress workers way back in the hall break into rapturous applause, thereby getting the rest of the audience clapping as well. Digvijay Singh and Mani Shankar Aiyar are on their feet, wiping their tears, and hugging Rahul Baba. Rahul performs a curtsey and withdraws from the stage. Fade out.