`Don’t dilute my character with saffron colour`
In a candid chat with Swati Chaturvedi of Zeenews.Com on her show Kahiye Janab, Baba Ramdev shares his views on corruption, black money and a lot of other controversies that have surrounded the yoga guru.
Swati: You have been very popular among the television viewers but off late, many controversies have surrounded you. You were also accused of opposing Anna Hazare’s movement. What do you have to say?
Ramdev: The first issue was to introduce the Lokpal bill. Secondly, Black money is a very big issue. The matter in question is the huge sum of money amounting to Rs. 400 lakh crore. We just need 400 Hasan Ali and 250 A Raja to accumulate such a huge sum. The thing is we have not jumped on Anna Hazare bandwagon. And no one can say that we have opposed Anna Hazare’s movement. We have started a movement that highlights the issues of corruption, corrupt administration and black money.
Swati: But you are no stranger to controversies.
Ramdev: I don’t want to breed any kind of controversy. My target is not to hit any person of the civil society or any politician in particular. I only want the country to prosper and be free from the evils of corruption. I want the issue of black money to be addressed.
Swati: And what about your tiff with Digvijay Singh?
Ramdev: The greatest challenge that the political parties face is to efficiently fulfil their political and constitutional responsibilities and also to instil faith among the countrymen who have lost faith. The leader that you have just named once said that no one was going to listen to baba, no one was going to convince or persuade baba and that baba’s entire credibility and honour was at stake. But the fact is that I have dedicated my entire life for the mankind let alone honour and things like that. And as far as convincing or persuading is concerned, I wrote to the Prime Minister about a month back and both the PM and the Finance Minister agreed to talk to me.
Swati: How do you feel or what answers do you have to offer to Digvijay Singh’s question on giving an estimate of your own wealth?
Ramdev: No issues at all. My entire life has been an open book. For almost twenty years I have led a very transparent life. All that belongs to me or my institution are quite transparent. I have always tried to give back to the society in all possible means. I have never hidden anything from anyone. Almost ten crore people are associated with me. And all the funds that they have donated are their hard earned money. You can’t call it black money. The more they criticise, the stronger I will become. If lord Ram could be questioned in this country, I am a mere human being. The same Congress has many a times said that they don’t espouse Digvijay Singh’s comments. So how does his comment matter?
Swati: Congress party has said that you have links with BJP and the Sangh Parivar?
Ramdev: First, I am not going to form any political party. Sangh is an eighty year old organisation which in its own way has been serving the society. BJP is a political party. Saffron has always been a part of the country’s culture. The Indian national flag also has saffron colour. Does that mean that Indian flag too is with the saffron organisation? Don’t dilute baba’s character with the saffron colour. I believe in Naa kahu se dosti naa kahu se bair (Neither friendship nor animosity with any one). The entire country is reeling under extreme pessimism. We only have to find solution to that.
Swati: I don’t agree about your take on pessimism. Kanimozhi, A Raja and Suresh Kalmadi are in Jail. So you can’t say that the country is reeling under pessimism.
Ramdev: Country is moving towards hope now. Hasan Ali, A Raja have dented our economy in a huge way. Now we need recovery of the money that the ex-chequer has lost owing to scams, black money and corruption.
Swati: So many corrupt people are languishing in jail. Do you think it is because of the Supreme Court or it is because of the public pressure or the government itself is to be credited?
Ramdev: We have been persistently fighting for the issue of corruption and black money. In the last five years, we have mobilised millions of people. Firstly, I would like to give credit to the people who have supported the cause of black money and corruption. Secondly, I would like to give credit to the media and thirdly the government. The government has proved itself to be accountable and also took action against its own ministers. I agree, lots have arrests have been made, but now it’s time for recovery.
Adapted by Reema Sharma