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Baba Ramdev: From yoga to politics

By Shruti Saxena | Last Updated: Saturday, June 11, 2011 - 22:25
Shruti Saxena
An Epitome

<b>Shruti Saxena</b>

Does Baba Ramdev’s <i>‘satyagraha’</i> have a political agenda? I am still unclear about what is actually in his mind.

The ‘yoga master’ feels that his platform apart from forwarding the divine mission of making the society free from illness through yoga and reclaiming ‘Indianness’, should also propagate against the ills of the society now.

Yes, I believe that Baba Ramdev’s <i>andolan</i> is a common point to join people from every walk of life, as we all are suffering from the common menace of ‘corruption’. But, let’s see the other side of the coin. I feel that what happened at the Ramlila ground was more of a show of power than an espousal of a social cause. The place appeared to be more like a tourist spot, with the script having its share of tragedies and comedy.

His protest appeared more like a lavish party with five star arrangements. One is nearly shocked to see that such massive funds can be mobilised for a protest like this.

It came to light later that Ramdev had already had a pact with the government. But his associate kept claiming that they purposely gave a letter of approval, as they feared being arrested. So if the pact was already made, then what was the need to continue with the agitation? It felt that the fast was a pretext to ensure that gains reaped through the mobilisation should be reaped rather than being allowed to fritter away.

It is evident that a leader takes the first blow in any agitation. He stands with his followers to protect them from the wrath of the police action. But this is politics of different hue. When police approached to take Ramdev away, he jumped from the stage in the midst of his women supporters and disappeared. Few hours later he was spotted in women’s wear hiding himself in <i>salwar kameez</i> and <i>duppata</i>. The ‘yoga master’ later justified his ‘heroic’ act by saying that these are the tactics followed by Shivaji. I feel this argument lacks all the understanding of a democratic society. In a democracy, campaign’s are undertaken to pressurise the government to function properly.

He says he is a believer of Mahatma Gandhi, but he threatened to arm the youth against the government, something which Bapu would have abhorred. However, he later backtracked from his statement, saying that he was misunderstood.

It is right that when the government is not doing its share, then the civil society should take the centrestage. But, the way Baba adopted is certainly not right. It has to be understood that while the civil society plays a valuable part in putting pressure on the government in multiple ways, the idea should not be to destabilize an elected government.

Baba Ramdev claims that he does not have a political agenda behind this anti-graft motion, then, what were the RSS members doing there? You cannot be political and call yourself apolitical at the same time. And if you are doing that, you are deceiving the common public.

Look at another point. When the ‘yoga guru’ claims that he has the agenda to fight against corruption and that he is not a proxy for the BJP and RSS, then why does he never even murmur a word against Karnataka Chief Minister Yeddyurappa, who is also facing charges of corruption? Is A Raja the only corrupt individual in this country? When BJP and RSS can support Baba Ramdev against corruption, then why are they mum about corruption charges against their own chief ministers?

If Baba Ramdev is actually fighting for a cause, then he should have said a clear no to all the political parties, just as Anna Hazare did in his Lokpal drive because he is fighting against “all corruption”.

The list has one more question. Ramdev has declared his multi-crore assets. Once again I am sorry as I still don’t believe it, because I think it is not possible to provide such huge funds to an organisation in white money. I am sure all of us would like to know whether those who are paying him money have filed their tax returns and revealed their sources of income.

I honestly feel that one should protest for a genuine cause rather than any politically or religiously charged agenda. Well, being a common man, I don’t want to raise any more questions against who is doing what. Ultimately, I would like to see the victory of a genuine cause.

First Published: Saturday, June 11, 2011 - 22:25

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