The manner in which Ramdev was evicted from his protest venue was indeed stupid. I expected better from the people with the responsibility to run our country. A little tactic, perhaps, given that Ramdev is high on nuisance value.
I have a thing against preachers. They talk more, listen less and always want to be in control. Dictatorial. Ramdev is similar. He may not exactly be a spiritual leader, like other swamis and babas, but he does seem have an opinion about everything and packages them along with his yoga lessons to the millions who watch him on TV or buy tickets to see him perform his contortions.
Ours is a free society and everyone has a right to express themselves. He is welcome to and so am I, to counter the absurdities of his ideas and that of some of the people who apparently think the man actually talks sense.
Two of the most retweeted tweets on my timeline:
@KanchanGupta: After reading tweets post-Ramlila ground raid, methinks perfumed bottoms don’t like Ramdev as they feel threatened by unwashed masses.
@fakingnews: Disdain for Ramdev is rooted either in disdain for saffron/religion and/or disdain for rustic and rural Indians
These arguments sound familiar. In fact, almost the same as the ones put forward by the pro-reservation lobby who branded anyone pointing out the fallacies of the system of reservations as anti-SCs/OBCs. Such arguments require the least effort to conjure and also give the proponents a self-created moral high ground. Ramdev is not the representative of the “unwashed masses” or the “rustic or rural Indians”, though he might claim to be. Nor am I that of the so-called ‘urban elite’ (the counter attack to this post is bound to describe me as such.)
I don’t have a problem with the “unwashed masses” and “rustic and rural Indians,” what troubles me is the absurdity of Ramdev’s ideas and the exaggeration in his expressions. Both of which take advantage of the gullibility of the people. He deserves to be garlanded with a Rs 100,001 garland of Re 1 notes for his absolutely out-of-the-box idea of banning Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes. What a great service to the economy that will be.
Since bribes are usually paid in higher denominations, the get the country rid of corruption the sure-shot trick is to get rid of the big notes themselves. Na rahegi baas, naa bajegi basuri? I think Ramdev has heard of hawala? I’m sure he has. There are always numerous alternatives and money doesn’t always exchange hands in many corrupt deals. Has he accounted for the cost to the economy? The time wasted to count the money? The cost of extra space to store the money? The risk of carrying money in a big/suitcase when it could have very easily fitted into the pocket/wallet? The environmental impact in printing 10 paper notes instead of one? And is the black money stacked in the foreign banks in Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes? Ramdev, much like his supporters, do not have the time for such impact analysis. Only the idea should sound explosive.
Ramdev wants to bring black money back to the country and seems to believe that the government has the master key to all the bank vaults in Switzerland, Luxemburg, Liechtenstein and Channel Islands. The government can actually do little as the money is in other countries and those banks follow different laws. This is not as easy a task that Ramdev makes it appear to be. But this makes for a good slogan, so yell from the loudspeakers – “Bring back black money!”
The great economist that Ramdev is, he propagates that India’s woes will be washed away by the flood of money from the Swiss Banks. Extra supply of money is not good for the health of a economy. Many of India’s problems are not associated with the shortage of funds but other processes that hamper the execution and distribution. By his logic Ramdev will just print more money to tide over a budgetary deficit.
I support the cause of encouragement of Indian languages, but not at the cost of English, a language that is our gateway to the world. I think Ramdev himself preaches that charity begins at home then why doesn’t his website www.divyayoga.com have a version in a language other than English?
Ramdev thrives on exaggeration. He says he has a billion followers. He says bullets were fired at Ramlila Maidan with the intention to kill him. “He is not like Gandhi. He is 10 steps ahead of Gandhi,” announced a Ramdev supporter. Of course, he is. Gandhi wouldn’t try to escape the police in the garb of a woman. Gandhi walked, Ramdev runs. He is bound to be at least 10 steps ahead. And comparing the Ramlila crackdown to Jallianwala Bagh!
Death penalty for corruption. We know the kind of countries where such things happen. If Ramdev has his way, India will become one.
Also he wants India to end all imports and Indians to buy only swadeshi goods. Someone give this Baba a lesson on the importance of international trade. Please? Also every ailment can be cured with ayurveda and yoga. No need for western allopathy. Let’s bring back the smallpox virus and see what Ramdev can do to counter it (stupid thought, but such stupidity occasionally need a stupid counter attack). I am also waiting for the day when Ramdev finally proves his claims to cure AIDS and cancer.
India does need to get rid of corruption, but not by the Ramdev model. Chances are it will end up doing more harm than good. It is too personality (and idiotic ideas) driven to benefit our democratic structure. Fasting is not the solution. It is of course a more media savvy. Ramdev has political aspirations. He is denying it now but had announced it in public previously. He is the kind who I would not expect to stand by his words. This anti-corruption ‘crusade’ is only the groundwork for the future political aspirations. Not to forget that yoga is big business, the samaj seva is just CSR.
Now the Ramdevites will say that I am corrupt and/or a Congress symphatiser. I believe I am neither. But they can, nevertheless, continue with their attack. Such abuses are easy to hurl and don’t require much of a thought. Quite like Ramdev’s ideas of combating corruption (or ‘treating’ homosexuality).
Ramdev would have earned a little bit of my respect if he had done something on a parallel level to stop female foeticide/ infanticide or even dowry. But then these issues can’t be made political.
Once the basic necessities are fulfilled, man strives for three things – wealth, fame and power. The first of the two Ramdev already has, now he is out to quench his thirst for the third.
An advice for the administration, one shouldn’t swat a mosquito when it is sitting on your favourite white shirt. Commonsense.