Rahul Gandhi to Cambridge students: Learn ‘Art of Listening’, to promote democratic environment

Rahul Gandhi (File photo).

London: Congress President Rahul Gandhi has called for a new thinking to promote a democratic environment in the world, as opposed to a coercive one. He placed special emphasis on the ” art of listening’,  saying people around the world need to find a way of listening compassionately to new concerns in the 21st century that has been transformed by the shift of production away from democratic countries.

“The art of listening” when done consistently and diligently is “very powerful,” he said in a lecture to the students of Cambridge Judge Business School here.

Kamal Munir, Pro-Vice-Chancellor at the University of Cambridge and Professor of Strategy and Policy at the Cambridge Judge Business School introduced Gandhi as one who ” comes from a “long lineage of global leaders”.

The Congress leader expressed concern over the decline in recent decades of manufacturing in democratic countries, including India and the US, and its shift to China, which, he said, had produced mass inequality and associated anger that need urgent attention and dialogue.

“We simply cannot afford a planet that doesn’t produce under democratic systems. So, we need new thinking about how you produce in a democratic environment compared to a coercive environment, and a negotiation about this,” he said.

Gandhi’s lecture was divided into three parts, starting with an outline of the ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’, a 4,081-km walk he led through 14 Indian states from September 2022 to January 2023 to draw attention to “prejudice, unemployment and growing inequality in India”.

The second part of the lecture focused on the “two divergent perspectives” of the US and China since World War II and especially since the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union.

The former Congress President said that in addition to shedding manufacturing jobs, the US had become less open after September 11, 2001, while China “idolises harmony” through organisation around the Chinese Communist Party.

The final aspect of his lecture was around the theme of “Imperative for a Global Conversation”, in which he knitted the themes together in a call for a new type of receptiveness to various viewpoints — explaining that a ‘yatra’ is a journey or pilgrimage in which people “shut themselves down so they can listen to others”.

Gandhi is on a week-long tour of the UK during which he will hold some closed-door sessions on Big Data and Democracy and India-China relations at Cambridge University. He will interact with representatives of the Indian Overseas Congress (IOC) UK chapter and also address an “Indian Diaspora Conference” planned over the weekend in London.

The Congress leader appeared in a new look at Cambridge, very different from the one with grown beard and ruffled hair which he had donned for the last few months during the Bharat Jodo Yatra. Here he was sporting  short hair and a trimmed beard. and appeared in  a suit. (With IANS input).


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