A day ago, Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi advocated the inculcation of the Buddhist idea of “compassion” to meet challenges posed by globalisation, which, he said, “excludes as much as it includes.”
This was the first time, he has used such an idiom, which has led to speculation whether his sister, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, has begun to influence his thoughts.
It is no secret in the Capital that Priyanka practises Buddhist meditation.
In fact, she is known to discuss any issue from this perspective with her close aides and friends.
In fact, she often asks about any public project in her mother Sonia Gandhi’s constituency from the perspective of “compassion quotient.”
She always wishes to know how a project has been conceived to relieve the people’s sufferings and make their lives better.
Compassion Quotient, like Spiritual Quotient, Emotional Quotient and Moral Quotient, is the buzz word among the new age gurus, who are popular among the GenNext.
On October 19, Rahul chaired the Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Contemporary Studies’ 20th anniversary lecture — Globalisation, Justice and Rights, which was delivered by Professor Thomas Pogge of the Yale University.
He chose the Buddist concept of compassion to express his views on globalisation, right in the presence of his sister, Priyanka.
As he put it, “There are millions left out of the process, millions who do not benefit from globalisation and millions more damaged by its asymmetrical application of power. The local networks that protected them no longer exist.”
Rahul said: “Like globalisation, there is another idea that has been around for thousands of years. It is the same idea that was spoken about in the deer park in Sarnath. An idea that has always been the basis of justice and rights, it is the idea of compassion. Compassion comes from understanding that we are all part of the same system - I am you and you are me. Compassion allows us to see that the rights of others are as important as our own. Like change, we must ensure that the idea of compassion is always with us.”
Rahul’s reference to Sarnath was to the Buddha who delivered his famous sermon from there. While Rahul may have intended only to red-flag concerns about globalisation but he left his audience with no doubt that Priyanka’s love of Buddhism had cast its influence on him too.