The Freedom to Choose

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As the nation chooses its next political leader today and a few of my close ones express their disappointment, I wonder how much of a freedom to choose (all of) our nationals enjoy. Hence, this post.

We all enjoy the right to choose, but the freedom to choose? Or to exercise that choice? Let’s examine.

Rahul Gandhi lost Amethi to Smriti Irani with a huge margin. Surprising? A little maybe. But, that’s Amethi’s choice. There was something else that caught my attention and got me wondering. I’ll come to it in a bit.

Rahul Gandhi who chairs Indian Youth Congress has little in common with the youth of India, people whom he apparently represents in politics.

  1. He has a fancy, heavy-weight surname and has an Italian-origin mother.
  2. He is still unmarried (since getting married is every Indian’s sole purpose of life, as per the unwritten Indian Family Laws).
  3. He was home-schooled. (That would be fun, right? I love self-paced courses.)
  4. He studied under a false name in foreign universities.
  5. He has spoken for the rights of farmers and enjoyed a quick getaway to the jail for the same.
  6. He has a terrible stage presence and speech delivery skills.
  7. He gets bullied by his peers and seniors and trolled by most of all who know about his existence.

It’s a long list, but so-fuckin-privileged han!

Sorry! The 6th item is common with a large percentage of the youth, but you get the drift, right? We’re not like Rahul Gandhi and he’s not like us at all. So, why should such a privileged, fair-skinned, unmarried man represent us?

Such a pity that his wishes to resign as the president of Indian National Congress today were quickly put out by the party members.

Sigh.

While he is being forced to sit tight on his chair, I’m forced to think of how much freedom privileged kids have in choosing a career path of their liking. Or specifically, this kid.

I finally arrive at the point. 

Let me get this out of the picture that I’m not pro-congress, pro-politics, pro-Rahul Gandhi or anti-anyone. I’m pro-choosing.

Many of us grow up to pursue our parents’ occupations. So, I understand Rahul Gandhi pursued a political career, even though his father was pulled into it by his mother, Indira Gandhi. Rajiv Gandhi wasn’t scholarly, but he was a pilot when he joined politics.

I wonder if Rahul Gandhi was ‘given’ a similar chance. I wonder if his passions lie in politics. Also, I’m questioning it like my relatives would have had I not been doing well in my writing career. (I chose it over degrees in Engineering and Management.)

“He was given many chances to polish his political skills. He squandered them all,” many would say that. Well, possibly! No other outsider or independent candidate inherits that kind of public support or leaps of faith. Perks of a fancy surname! Perks of being in a nepotist business! Perks of being born in a nation full of blind supporters!

Yes, a lot of things fell into his lap (at this point, I feel they were stapled on his body). And yes, he kind of screwed them all up. Whatever forces were at work, whatever Rahul Gandhi’s fate was, he couldn’t successfully champion his cause or the Indian youth’s.

Neither did he pursue any of his hobbies as freely as most of us do. I’m sure, he must have some.

Now, I’m not suggesting that he should give up. But, what would happen if he quits politics and pursues one of his passions or just retires to a remote place? (Since his resignation indicates that politics isn’t one of his passions.)

People would say that politics were not for him. He is a quitter. Or that he tainted his family’s legacy. And all other crappy things that any person stuck in a place of his disliking would have to bear with. He’d be ridiculed in public and made fun of. Social Media would be sloshed with his memes and he’d become the poster boy for a loser. Wait a second…They’ve already been happening for almost 8 years.

Now, visualise yourself going out in the public and delivering yet another speech with a complete understanding of the fact that your words would only strengthen the meme armada against you. Spine-chilling is a small word for that. Brave is another!

Once in a while, we all root for the underdog. I too did. One-third of the people I know have switched careers when it suited them. Almost every day, we all express our choices and fight for them. Even if it means rebelling against our family legacy.

Unlike us, it took Rahul Gandhi a really long time to muster up the courage to do what an average Indian youth does everyday. I think he should be ‘given’ a chance to discover and pursue the things that bring ‘him’ joy.

To joie de vivre of being an average Indian!

About the author

Mansi Laus Deo

A fan of flaws, an admirer of indomitable grit, and a mess of this universe. Once authored a lesser-known poetry collection, Tinted Glasses, I pause to breathe in moments and turn them into my stories.

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