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Despite Seeing Hate, Kharge Staunchly Secular: INDIA Leaders at Book Launch

A book was launched on Wednesday in honour of Mallikarjun Kharge's half a century-long political career.

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Marking 50 years of Mallikarjun Kharge’s successful run in politics, a book was released in the leader’s honour on Wednesday, 29 November.

The book, titled “Mallikarjun Kharge: Political Engagement With Compassion, Justice and Inclusive Development” has been edited by academicians Sukhdeo Thorat and Chetan Shinde and carries chapters from politicians from different political parties. As many as 73 political leaders from across the political spectrum have contributed to the book, said Thorat, at the book launch.

The event was attended by several politicians. Among those who spoke at the book launch were Congress leader Sonia Gandhi, RJD’s Manoj Jha, CPI(M)’s Sitaram Yechury, and DMK’s TR Baalu.

The event was held at Jawahar Bhawan, New Delhi.

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‘Democratic in Everyday Life’: Manoj Jha 

Thorat said the book was scheduled to be released last year, but got delayed due to various reasons, including covid. “I know the views expressed by the authors are honest because they were expressed well before he (Kharge) became Congress President,” said Thorat.

DMK’s TR Baalu expressed gratitude to Kharge for being an important leader of not just Congress, but also of the INDIA bloc.

Jha recounted the first time he saw Kharge in person, at the Rajya Sabha. “I saw him wearing a dhoti-kurta, and I was so surprised.. it’s so rare to see leaders wear that today,” said Jha.

Jha also appreciated Kharge’s conduct as leader of opposition in the Rajya Sabha. “Many people who speak of democracy don’t practice it in their everyday lives.. But he would. In all our opposition meetings, he would let everyone speak first and then speak. He would listen, which is  so rare,” Jha said.

‘Commitment to Secularism Despite Experiencing Hate’

Both Jha as well as Yechury also lauded Kharge’s commitment to secularism.  

In 1948, when Kharge was just 7 years old, he lost his mother and sister in a fire set off by the Razakars or the private militia favouring the Nizam of Hyderabad. He and his father survived the incident.

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“A child who has witnessed this hate so closely, he could’ve lived with that hatred all his life, but you can’t see even a trace of hate in his eyes,” Yechury said.

Yechury added that this is a testament of Kharge’s “strength of character”.

“That’s the hallmark which distinguishes him from so many others,” he said.

Jha touched upon the same in his speech. “He never got bitter on facing discrimination and loss, that’s not easy.  He still speaks of “mohabbat ki dukaan”,” Jha said.

Jha also said that while BR Ambedkar and Jawahar Lal Nehru both understood Buddha closely, Kharge forms an important bridge between the two understandings.

“Ambedkar took the lesson of emancipation (from Buddha) while Nehru took took the lesson of compassion, and you (Kharge) are the bridge between those two,” Jha said.

'Always Honest in INDIA Seat Sharing Talks': Yechury

The leaders also appreciated how Kharge has led the INDIA alliance talks.
“After we formed INDIA, there’s been a lot of talks of seat sharing. There is a lot of back and forth. But he is always honest. He would come and tell us honestly if the sharing is possible or not. No question of betrayal. That’s credibility. He could muster the courage to explain difficult things with honesty,” said Yechury.

Baalu also said that Kharge’s presence has strengthened the opposition.

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'Personal Pillar of Strength': Sonia Gandhi

Sonia Gandhi, who was the chief guest at the event, congratulated Kharge for his commitment to the Congress and the country.

“Not once did Kharge ji compromise on his ideology, not once did he drift away from the cause of the poor… today he stands tall as the Congress president,” said Gandhi.

Gandhi also expressed gratitude to Kharge for “being a pillar of strength” for her.

“To me personally, Kharge ji has been a wise companion and a pillar of strength. He has shown stoic courage and unwavering kindness,” she said.

'Could Not Have Achieved These Heights Without Democracy': Kharge

Kharge thanked all the authors and editors of the book. He also expressed his thanks to the Congress party for trusting him with important roles.
“I was only 29 when I was chosen to contest the assembly elections in Karnataka,” Kharge said.

He recounted his 50 year long journey in electoral politics. “From being an ordinary party worker, I could reach this position because of our democracy. Without our constitution, there would be no democracy and without democracy there would be no opportunity for ordinary people to reach heights,” Kharge said.

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Topics:  Congress   Mallikarjun Kharge 

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