NEW DELHI: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, while comparing a pilot with a leader, said on Thursday that the former gets into the finer details of something and then looks at the big picture and this is how it trains a person for life as a leader.
He is heard saying this in a video clip uploaded on social media while he was taking a round of ‘Shri Rajiv Gandhi Photo Exhibition’ organised by the Indian Youth Congress in the national capital. The video clip, uploaded also on YouTube, is titled ‘The Joy of Flight’ and its duration is of five minutes and 42 seconds.
The clip has photographs of his father and former prime minister late Rajiv Gandhi in the role of a pilot. Rajiv Gandhi was a commercial pilot before joining politics in the wake of his mother and former prime minister late Indira Gandhi’s assassination on October 31, 1984.
Shri @RahulGandhi fondly remembers the common passion he shared with his father & former Prime Minister, Shri Rajiv… https://t.co/48Prg6mgem
— Congress (@INCIndia) 1630584616000
Asked how being a pilot trains one for life as a leader, Rahul, who also is a trained pilot, said, “You know pilots have a very particular ability that comes from their training and it is this idea, that you have to move, from a 30,000 feet vision to details in the cockpit. If you lose track of details in the cockpit, you run into trouble. And if you lose track of the 30,000 feet picture you run into trouble.”
He said, “So a pilot, and I am one, we move from these two spaces very seamlessly and very quickly. Pilots also when they fly, their imagination isn’t blocked by roads, by railway lines. Their imagination is at 30,000 feet, so they have this ability to see large systems. And this is what really helped my father.”
Rahul said he could see this process taking place where he would go and meet people, get into their details, understand their details and then instantly move to 30,000 to 40,000 and 50,000 feet and look at the big picture. “His (Rajiv Gandhi’s) work was constantly moving between these two perspectives and always understanding that imagination can bridge anything so that to me was a very powerful thing that my father had,” he said.
The exhibition also had photographs of several aircraft along with those of Rajiv and Rahul Gandhi.
Rahul is seen identifying the aircraft such as DC 3, favourite of both Rajiv and Rahul Gandhi. “That’s the most beautiful plane and it’s the first plane my father flew commercial on,” he said.
Pointing at another aircraft, he said, “See that’s the real thing! In fact I’ve sat with him (Rajiv Gandhi) in that plane when he used to fly. That’s a King Air.”
He said generally whenever he was in a plane or helicopter with his father, he was put into the cockpit. Rajiv would ask him about all the instruments and other details.
Later, Rahul learned how to fly when he was in college. “I remember we once went to Jaipur, Udaipur and then we went to Bombay and then we went to Srinagar as well,” he said.
He said it was exciting because those were all normally early morning flights. “Sometimes it would just be a surprise you know he’d come into my room. I remember once he came into my room at about 3:30 in the morning. He’s like, ‘okay, get ready. So I was like, ‘What is this, get ready?’ So he didn’t tell me why or anything like that. So I was like ‘okay’. I had a little aluminum case. I packed it with shirts and my pants and my shoes and then I remember walking out in the dark and going,” he said.
Talking about his uncle Sanjay Gandhi, who died in a plane crash while flying, Rahul said, “Look if you’re a pilot, that’s a risk you take. So, my father told my uncle. Because my uncle was flying a particular type of plane – it was a Pitts. It’s a very aggressive plane. My father told him that you know, don’t do this. My uncle really didn’t have the experience. My uncle had similar hours to what I have about 300-350 hours. And, he shouldn’t have been flying that plane. And, he flew it. And that’s what happens when you don’t have the experience and you fly. It’s easy to kill yourself.”
On the reaction of his mother and Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi about Rajiv flying, he said, “Yeah, my mother was worried. So every time my father would go on a flight, you know it would be, my mother would have this record playing in the background that he’s on a flight. It’s so dangerous and she’d be worried and she’d be transferring that worry. Then once there was some problem with Kashmir and then there was some issue with his aircraft. So my mother, I remember, getting very worked up.”