New Delhi: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said during his lecture on Tuesday at the University of Cambridge that the anger over shifting of manufacturing from “democratic countries” like India and the US to China needs “urgent attention and dialogue”. Speaking at the university’s Judge Business School on the subject ‘Learning to Listen in the 21st Century’, Gandhi focussed on the “art of listening” and called for a new thinking to promote a democratic environment globally. The “art of listening”, when done consistently and diligently, is “very powerful,” he said.
“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 included the mention of the Bharat Jodo Yatra, the recently-concluded 4,000-km walk led by him through 12 states from September 2022 to January 2023 to draw attention to “prejudice, unemployment and growing inequality in India”. He explained to the MBA students that a “yatra” is a journey or pilgrimage in which people “shut themselves down so they can listen to others”.
His lecture also addressed the “two divergent perspectives” of the US and China since World War II, especially since the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union. Gandhi said that in addition to shedding manufacturing jobs, the US had become less open after the September 11, 2001, terror attacks. Meanwhile China, he said, “idolises harmony” through organisation around the Chinese Communist Party.
In the final leg of his lecture, Gandhi talked about the “Imperative for a Global Conversation”, as he knitted the different strands together in a call for a new type of receptiveness to various viewpoints.
Gandhi was introduced to the Cambridge MBA student audience by Kamal Munir, Pro-Vice-Chancellor at the University of Cambridge and Professor of Strategy & Policy at Cambridge Judge Business School, as a member of a “long lineage of global leaders”.
During his week-long UK visit, Gandhi 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.