So the hoopla over Ramdev-Anna campaigns has settled down. Through the drama that got played out over the last two months, the question to ask is who came out clean:
The government, probably, muddled up the most. After sending out a welcome party, it set loose police with batons on protestors at Ramlila. That was just before it gave the Baba a royal ignore. Confused or hypocritical, is anybody’s guess. But government needs to do some introspection about what it wants and how it plans to tackle the increasingly shrill voice of the civil society. The PM has been courageous enough to own up the red carpet welcome decision in his interaction with editors. But his ministers are yet to give a clear picture of the state of things as they stand with Anna and team, which has been merrily government bashing in public. After a string of scams and the Anna-Ramdev fiasco, Congress needs to put on its thinking cap about why Satyagrahas, which were a means of protest initiated by them, are today being held against them!
Not only has the opposition been weak, it sounds and behaves as if it were directionless. The BJP before pointing fingers at the government about scams should put its own house in order in Karnataka and Uttarakhand. While the saffron party’s heart beat for the poor Baba Ramdev, they were nonchalant about Nigamanand’s suffering and subsequent death. To call the government scam hit is one thing, to take ownership of the fact that 2G has its origin in the NDA quite another. At least UPA has put some ministers behind, taking a brave first step. We never heard the conclusion of coffingates and the like. Did we? Besides, who can’t see their attempt to piggyback on the Yoga Guru to take on the government, because they know in their heart they have been unable on their own to put UPA on the mat.
Anna and team need to realize they are not the last word on law. Civil society has a purpose, to act as a pressure group in the democracy but not weaken its foundation. The Lakshman Rekha should be set and accepted. Corruption free country must not translate into chaos. Or the Taliban kind violent punishments that are practiced in the Gandhian’s village! Baba Ramdev has learnt a lesson on politics the hard way. Hunger pangs would have also set off his cerebral juices. With his defiant unwillingness to disclose all his assets (not to confuse with just the trusts holdings that he declared) and chelas who have multiple passports, the Baba would be better off with a little more of introspection. His call for arms showed his immaturity and exposed his inability.
We, the People
We, the people, need to shoulder a large chunk of the responsibility. Rather than being led by blind faith to throw our weight behind Babas and civil society representatives, we need to assess both their ability and credibility to launch a campaign against an elected government. Media being a part of society needs to analyse why it went hysterical over Baba Ramdev and brought into focus Swami Nigamanand plight’s only when it was too late. The common man is right when it wants a corruption free country, but how many of us, who back this campaign, are squeaky clean? Every second babu, policeman, traffic cop, clerk, guard takes a cut. According to Transparency International, 45% Indians have had an experience of paying bribe. As per former CVC Pratyush Sinha, one-third of Indians are utterly corrupt, whereas 50% more are borderline cases. Isn’t it terribly convenient for us to slam a government on black money and then quietly pocket the hafta.
Rather than stand is judgment, we – from politicians to civil society and common man - could all begin by being a bit more honest ourselves.