Is Baba Ramdev’s Movement Politically Motivated? Is It Good For The Masses?

Posted on June 3, 2011 in The Opinionated, YKA Editorials

By Anshul Tewari:

If only fasts could root out corruption, we would have been an honest nation.

After Anna Hazare it is Baba Ramdev’s turn to come to the limelight with his fasting strategy against the black money stored in Swiss bank accounts. Beginning June 4th, Ramdev will fast to act against the Government and put pressure on them to bring back the black money stored in swiss bank accounts.

The board displayed outside the Ram Leela maidan, which talks only about a Yog Shivir.

While he will fast only for 14 hours on June 4, Ramdev has already been circled with allegations that his move is politically motivated and is nothing but creating a ruckus for the UPA Government. Moreover, this fast does not seem be all that apolitical, and his supporters seem to be confused. Ramdev has been a known supporter of Hindutva ideologies and this time too, support from RSS has raised many questions. A report in NDTV shows how the people who have come to attend the Satyagraha are confused whether it is a Yog shivir or a campaign against corruption. Ram Leela maidan has been booked for one month and all that the board outside of it says is that a Yoga camp is being organized by Baba, free for all. Best strategy to gather support and mobilize people.

We even asked a few people standing inside the Ram Leela maidan about the fast. One of them said, “Baba iss baar free ka Yog shivir laga rahe hain, main to wahi dekhne aya hu”. (I have to come to attend Baba’s free Yog shivir). When asked about the satyagraha, he said, “Haan, baba TV pe bol to rahe the, lekin iss baar free ka Yoga bhi sikhayenge” (Yes, baba was talking about it in the Television, but he will also teach free Yoga this time).

Moreover, this fast should not be seen as a movement for change, but rather as a part of competitive politics to challenge similar groups of the civil society and to showcase the Babas’ power to mobilize more people than anyone else could.

Do these campaigners have any clue of how the corruption works in India? Get real! Do you think that a downtrodden labourer living in a far flung village of Balgudia, troubled by the local police master would be able to make use of the Jan Lokpal Bill (for instance)? Do you think that the real Indian, the aam admi would care about fighting against a strong politician and possibly jeopardize his job, his meals, his house, his life? It is time to get real!

Baba Ramdev is a rich man worth millions of dollars (check this report) and still claims that all he owns is a Saffron dhoti. His property is in thousands of crores. Had he been so self-sacrificing, he would have made sure that the poor benefits from his Yoga for free. He would have donated a small amount, if not a heavy one, to the education of the poor children all over India, establish first class schools with the best teachers, worked to eradicate child labour and stop the huge sex racket going on in Haridwar and Rishikesh. Does he have any clue about the deep rooted problems of India? If they really want to change the face of the country and establish honesty in the bloods of the people here, they must pull in their resources (which they are spending on organizing lavish fasts) and put it to better use. A visit to his home-village would show you the condition his own family lives in.

The people of his village and Shankaracharya himself have stated that all this is a political move.

Baba Ramdev’s fast to protest against graft stands in contrast to the one of activist Anna Hazare not just in terms of the lavishness of arrangements but also the fast itself. (source)

CNN IBN had exposed how Babas’ board was openly collecting donations in Lakhs to fund his Satyagraha. An open support by the RSS and BJP has raised even more questions as to whether all this has been formulated and politically motivated.

Had Ramdev put the same power behind fighting for the rights of the real India, he would have been a bigger Hero. For me too! How can a man, who makes derogatory comments about peoples’ sexuality and psychology, understand the need of the hour? If only 14 hour fasts could help.

Irom Sharmila Chanu has been on a hunger strike since 2000, protesting against AFSPA in Manipur. True fighter, this lady has left no stone unturned to prove that she is the Iron lady of Manipur. She is force fed by using nasogastric intubation.

On May 20, 2011, National Alliance of People’s Movements leader Medha Patkar, seeking amendment to the Maharashtra Slum Areas Act, sat on an indefinite hunger strike in Mumbai. She ended it on the eighth day on May 27 after the Maharashtra government declared setting up of two joint committees comprising members of the civil society to look into irregularities in slum development projects. (source)

Gandhi ji, who was a leader of the masses, a supporter of non-violence, also used to fast to put pressure on the British Government. His longest fast unto death agitation lasted for 21 days once in 1933 and on another occasion in 1943.

These are the people who set examples by fighting for the real causes. They do not preach, do not demand media attention and do not make use of derogatory language to prove their point. They are not motivated by political parties or power.

Will Baba enter politics? No one knows. May be he will. But is his charm strong enough to garner votes? A question we will ponder upon in 2014.

As of  now, the reality is that this fast, like any other, looks like just another move to display the strength and mobilization power the Baba has. If he really wants to eradicate corruption, he must first start by working for the betterment of his people by engaging in social activities beyond Yoga.

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