Baba Ramdev’s farce (sorry fast) started yesterday and is scheduled to end by tomorrow. Just 3 days, I wonder? After the standards set by that other “uncivil” movement – Team Anna’s – isn’t three days a bit of a climb-down? An anticlimax? Besides, considering the personal troubles that Baba Ramdev finds himself in, wouldn’t he need a few months or years just to cleanse himself first, before he mounted a movement against others?
For the fact is that Baba Ramdev has a lot to answer to the people of this country. When questioned on his “friend” Baba’s island off the coast of Scotland, Mr. Ved Pratap Vedic couldn’t answer whether Ramdev owned an island, or had paid for it “by cheque” (or did he prefer to pay by Rs 1000 notes?) or if he had been gifted for free. Everytime Vedic was asked tough questions on Baba, he would give philosophical answers: “someone like Baba should be above board”. Yes, but is he? No answer. It’s a different matter that the anchor of this particular TV channel was only too happy to let Vedic off the hook. Had it been a minister in the government, would he have?
Who is Baba Ramdev and why should anyone even listen to him? To me, he is a barely literate (8th pass) rustic “baba” – at best a guru who has mastered the art of yoga. He has zero understanding of how businesses work – except of course his own Rs 1000 crore empire which no one knows how he manages, what taxes he pays, and what “governance” he follows. He has no understanding of what black money is – except perhaps how to make it himself – or how it flows outside India, or how it comes back, or why it comes back. To argue with him that most experts believe that most black money has already come back into India because Indian equities and bonds have been giving far higher returns is like speaking in Mandarin to a rustic Bhojpuri villager. How would he even start to understand, forget understand the nitty gritties?
A man who believes that homosexuality is a disease which he can cure shouldn’t even be allowed on TV channels. Ultimately, TV channels have a duty to enhance social progress in the country – one exposure to Ramdev takes the country back a few centuries. When one hears Ramdev espouse economic fundas – bringing back black money will reduce petrol prices to Rs 35 a litre, reduce fiscal deficit, and make the rupee so strong that one rupee would fetch 50 dollars, one feels a little sympathy for him. For obviously, his own yoga is doing him no good. If he could cure himself of such delusions first, at least his credibility as a yoga instructor would improve.
What was Ramdev saying about the CBI? That it should be independent? Wonder why he has a worry here…..he should just look towards Haryana. The poor family of the air hostess who committed suicide a few days back is demanding a CBI probe against a former minister of the Congress government in that state. Why CBI inquiry if the CBI is anyways going to kowtow to the Congress’s diktats?
And what support is Ramdev claiming to have? A few thousands gathered from the villages and given train fares (now did he give train fares or did they travel free of cost?) and free food and all hardly looks impressive. Religious gurus are known to accumulate far larger numbers. If Ramdev has any doubts, let him see the Mumbai papers tomorrow. He will see millions gathering all around the city for the Govinda dahi-handi festival. That’s a real crowd. Ramdev’s is nothing but a bunch of religious minded and unemployed rustics.
So Salman Khurshid is right in taunting Ramdev about the fast being nothing but a showing of the Leela itself. Someone else on TV called the Ramdev gig “comedy circus”. Someone else called him a “joker”. As far as I am concerned, he is best forgotten. Erased from media. And that’s what seems to have happened. The print medium has put Ramdev’s fast on the inside pages; even TV channels have hardly bothered to devote their lead stories to him. Sensationalism works on TV and Ramdev is good content….that’s why he gets even that much TV time.
Ugghhh…..why am I writing this post when I am asking TV and print to blank him out? Don’t know really. Maybe I’m really upset that this country has to see religious babas trying to run the country. Maybe I’m shocked at the ignorance of our people. Maybe I’m just appalled at the madness that goes on in this country. Whatever, I hope this is my last post on this wasteful subject…..but given the state of politics in this country, I am not sure.
I urge the people to focus instead on the real issues. Let’s get all hands on the deck to focus on policy issues. Let’s hold rallies demanding the opposition (including Mamata) why they have so much fear of foreign capital. Let’s put pressure on the RBI to reduce interest rates – because keep rates high is hurting manufacturing, but doing nothing good for agricultural food prices or fuel prices at all. Let’s remind the CAG that auditors should keep a low profile and present their reports to the right “committees”, not hold press conferences and politicize constitutional positions.
The real truth is that Baba Ramdev needs to cleanse himself first rather than cleanse the political system. For this he needs to fast much longer. But maybe he needs to fast in the Himalayas, outside the glare of TV cameras. Now can he do that? No way!