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At Simara,Rahul ‘bridges gap’ with a handshake

AICC general secretary Rahul Gandhi has exhorted people to give up the practice of touching feet and start shaking hands instead.

AICC general secretary Rahul Gandhi has exhorted people to give up the practice of touching feet and start shaking hands instead.

His advice to a group of women at Simara village in Amethi on Thursday came in the presence of British Foreign Secretary David Miliband who was on a two-day visit to Rahul’s parliamentary constituency.

At the end of over an hour long interaction with a self-help group (SHG),as the two dignitaries got up to leave,women rushed to touch Rahul’s feet. “Ab yeh pair chhoona band karo,ab haath milao (stop touching feet; shake hands now),” Rahul told them. Although he started shaking hands with them,a few still ignored his advice to touch his feet.

Appreciating the candid advice of the scion of the Nehru-Gandhi family,Congress sources said his remarks were made in the context of women’s empowerment. After attaining a certain measure of economic independence and empowerment,there is no need to touch anybody’s feet as a mark of deference,they said.

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“He was not questioning any Indian tradition. He was trying to make women realise their power and potential,” said a senior Congress leader.

The AICC general secretary struck a good rapport with the British Foreign Secretary,playing the role of a translator and interpreter for Miliband during their interaction with villagers in Amethi.

At the end of their interaction,when Rahul informed them that the visitor was thanking them,women insisted that Miliband should thank them directly.


“Hum thunk yu samajhte hain” said a woman evoking laughter. “If the future of India is represented by you,your children and grandchildren,the future of India will be very bright,” said Miliband before bidding them adieu.

At a villager’s house where a bonfire was arranged for the visiting dignitaries,Miliband wanted to know from a young boy whether he had finished his homework. As the boy responded that he took tuitions,both Rahul and Miliband had a hearty laugh.

First published on: 17-01-2009 at 12:45:52 am
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