Congress General secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra has concluded her three-day Ganga Yatra in Uttar Pradesh, riding a motor boat with party leaders and workers. She visited several temples, addressed small gatherings and held informal meetings onboard during the highly publicised poll campaign journey from Prayagraj to Varanasi.
Priyanka, then, also paid homage to a statue of former prime minister late Lal Bahadur Shastri. But this act of her became an instant controversy. For, she removed a garland from her neck and put it on the bust of the former prime minister, which is viewed as a cultural faux pas.
People are familiar with her brother, Rahul Gandhi’s verbal gaffes. The Congress president has left his listeners amused many a time with his misspelt words. Priyanka Gandhi Vadra though proved in her short talks she delivered to small audiences and media people along her Yatra that she is faultless in her spoken words.
But her cultural faux pas points to something deeper. For poll campaign impact, one may become Ganga ki Beti or a devout Hindu woman in no time. How long does it take to change one’s attire from a pair of jeans to a bordered sari? But imbibing cultural nuances is a little difficult if one is not surrounded by the elements of that culture.
In Hindu culture devotion and respect flows from a lower level to a higher level and blessings from higher to lower. Garlanding is an act of showing respect. Removing a garland from one’s own neck or that of a deity and then bestowing it on someone else is an act of blessing.
Which of these two acts did Priyanka Gandhi Vadra intend to do while garlanding the statue of Lal Bhadur Shastri?