Monday, June 13, 2011

Ramdev Baba's fast

I had my doubts about the timing and the purpose (in terms of what it would achieve) of Ramdev Baba's fast primarily because it came so soon after the popular Anna Hazare fast which threatened to take a.course beyond the government's scope if it did not agree to his demands. To come with a special charter of demands under a different banner when things seemed to be rolling along fine in the same direction seemed rather repetitive and pointless. But as we discovered, we did find that it was not pointless at all. Baba brought out quite a few points that would never have been brought out otherwise.

Firstly that four Union ministers would go and meet him to make him give up the fast. I could not believe that they could be so stupid as that. Calling off the fast after a meeting with four ministers would only raise doubts on  his credibility (knowing how credible our politicians are and what they are capable of - you can imagine the general run of the conversation they must have had), and he would be stuck with the tag of a rat. So if anything, that meeting must have forced Baba into undertaking the fast. No escape route!

Secondly, since the Baba is doing this thing of telling the government to do its job (how dare he!), the government promptly unleashes all departments at its service which until now were waiting patiently. (Their job of course is to wait patiently with all evidence until the time the government sets them loose.)

Thirdly, we are shocked to find that the Baba has trusts worth Rs. 1100 crore! Now who the hell gave so much money for his trusts and companies which include transport, real estate etc? All focus is now on how much he has earned. And ahem, was it all non-corrupt money? Is it possible that one can generate so much funds in a short span of time by teaching yoga? Do we see our entrepreneurs now starting a yoga or spiritual division? Many of them are very religious and spiritual people as we all see in the papers - a spiritual division might not be a bad idea if there is so much money in it! Or wait a minute, is it their money?

Fourthly, that the Baba flies around in chartered planes and stays in hotels (looked like a five star one for me) and that he had planned a plan B to escape in women's clothes. Why the escape at all? Why not get arrested? What was the logic? And why all the hush hush midnight job for this drama if the police were to beat everyone up anyway? This was one of the most interesting parts of the whole episode where the Baba was probably under the illusion that he was an erstwhile maharaja and he was under siege and he should make a dramatic escape. I would have advised the use of a mask, probably a Manmohan Singh, Kapil Sibal, Digvijay Singh mask to escape. It might have worked better than a salwar kameez. Did I hear someone whisper that it was a Patanjali brand of salwar kameez?

Fifth, the entry of the congress spokesperson Digvijay Singh who is amazing everyone with his penchant to talk anything. So disconnected is his talk is he that he beats Cyrus in his column Cloum No.1. Anna Hazare got it right when he said that Diggy might want to visit a specialised institution for finding some startling  similarities between the backdrops of Anna Hazare's dais and the Sangh parivar's dais. (What was he doing at a Sangh parivar meeting by the way?)  So the government has trained a battery of politicians who keep talking all kinds of nonsense - some talk in favour, some are anti and some are allowed to talk whatever they want. Funnily they are all senior people and do look like they are educated and are sane but the things they do and talk does not fit in with that. So a good guy runs up with candy and forces the Baba to continue, the bad guys arrest him and the vague guy start piling on with his rants. A well-orchestrated job that only the government could have done. Well done!

Sixth, the fast continued in Haridwar as a weak Baba showed a bad display of his yogic powers by becoming all weak after a few days. We expected that a trained yoga practitioner would last many days and still emerge smiling, puzzling the world, in his pink health doing push ups on his pinkie, after many days of the hunger fast. But our Baba seemed knocked out for the count when in fact many others who take up such fasts looked wonderfully healthy in the past. For example our KCR  looked fit and healthy after many days of fast as the government dilly dallied between its many options. If anything, Baba was a bad advertisement for yoga practitioners who we all thought (and worse, probably the west thought) was full of miracles. This was no miracle as Baba looked ill. In his favour he might have really undertaken the fast unlike many other leaders. But in wanting to still win the battle, the Baba might have lost the war! The battle for yoga, Bharat swabhimaan (which is a bit low after all this) and a corrupt-free world! Errr, Baba we do not really believe that it is possible even though we'd like to push for some reforms. You see we are all corrupt already! This government truly represents us.

Baba nurtured hopes of raising an army which raised the hackles of Chidambaram. The irresponsible and far-fetched-comment brigade in the government instantly linked the idea to training Maoists and terrorists and stopped short of linking it to the Al Quaeda and the LeT which they withheld for future use. I am surprised that at that stage Arundhati Roy did not step in to support Maoists whose fair name was now being dragged into this unholy war unnecessarily. As it is we have all sorts of senas in the country which seem to be far more proactive than the government senas in doing their thing, whenever, whatever- another sena will hardly bother us. We all all getting s***wed anyway.

The Sangh Parivar was quiet as the Baba's condition worsened, the BJP's footwork was like that of some of our cricketers - neither forward nor backward, and the Baba was finally alone with our friends from the Lok Pal Bill doing the one significant thing they could have done in his support - abstaining from a meeting in protest of his arrest. Now how will that serve the purpose of our Lok Pal Bill for which they are all fighting, I know not, but if I were them, I'd be doubly careful with Mr. Sibal around. He is fully capable of bringing out the Bill on his own!

I forgot Sri Sri Ravi Sankar who persuaded Baba to drink lemon juice and honey (this times really), probably the only one who genuinely made an effort to end a pointless impasse. Of course the media instantly started talking of his (Sri Sri's) assets as well. I wonder where it will go now, but enough has been brought out already in these few days of muted drama. One can only say that the Baba's first step into the world of politics was eventful, if not a stormy one.

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