A Cynic’s Diary II

A lot , I repeat, a lot has already been said about Baba Ramdev and his fast-unto-death (or party ticket,eh?). From SRK to Salman, Sagarika Ghosh to Arnab Goswami, Facebook to Twitter, people have described it as a mere political gimmick, an act of rare patriotism, Gandhi 3.0  et al. If you do not support his mission, then you are tagged as unpatriotic, cynical, upper-class snobs etc etc. But then this is a cynic’s diary and I don’t give a damn about what people say (except ofcourse your valuable comments. :D)

I, like most Indians, agree in principle with both Anna and Baba Ramdev. The black money stashed in Swiss bank accounts can almost single-handedly solve the problem of poverty in India. Also, there should be more stringent laws to see it to that the money, if ever, brought back from these accounts actually reach the people and do not land back in Swiss Banks, albeit under different account holder names. So far so good.

My problem is with the method. Remember Kirori Singh Bainsla, the Gujjar leader, most famous for blocking railroads for getting reservation for Gujjars for almost every post, from peon to Prime-Minister (for himself). Remember Potti Sri Ramulu, the man behind formation of Andhra ( I am not saying that carving out smaller states based on language etc was a bad idea but the process has continued unterminated….JaganMohan Reddy). Isn’t this fasting-unto-death in presence of media limelight akin to those protests? Holding the state to ransom?

It is all so nice to compare this fasting method to the one adopted by Bapu but there is a basic difference. There was no democracy at that time. But now, we are a fully democratic republic. If Baba Ramdev has a problem and thinks that only he can save this nation, he should contest an election by all means, get elected and then present a bill in the Parliament to bring change. What Anna Hazare (post World Cup) and now Baba Ramdev (post IPL) have done is setting up a bad precedent. You want something, tell media channels that you are fasting-unto-death, go to Jantar Mantar, sit on a Dharna…..etc etc. I am not saying that all people who do so get their demands fulfilled but it is certainly worth a try. Don’t be surprised if tomorrow Mr. Bainsla is seen using a similar ploy, or if some Telangana supporters go on a fast.

I, to some extent supported Anna Hazare’s case but Baba has diluted the seriousness of the issue.

Some of the demands of Baba Ramdeva are ludicrous and some of those are the ones that the government has shrewdly already agreed to.

Engineering and Medical education in Hindi. As an engineer, from self-experience, I can say that it was pretty tough understanding a few concepts even after referencing several books from world-renowned authors. But then, Hindi is our mother tongue and we have a rich collection of Marathi books on Brillouin zone.

Abolishing Rs.1,000 and Rs.500 currency notes. I think this one has more to do with health rather than corruption. People carrying large bundles of money should make them stronger. Nice move.

Replacing the British-inherited system of governance, administration, taxation, education, law and order with a swadeshi alternative. Dear Baba Ramdev, please clearly state what this desi alternative is. Raja, Maharaja and all…..mazaa aayega. Or the swadeshi system where the male is all powerful and the females are mere puppets. Or the Varna system as there was during Ram Rajya.

Ensuring that all citizens declare annually their incomes. Yea, the government doesn’t want to do that cuz otherwise there will be a lot of tax-collection and Income Tax Officers would have a lot of work to do and the government is an ever so considerate employer.There are ways by which this can actually be done but suggest those ways rather than just sitting there and doing Alom-Vilom.

Jiska kaam usi ko saaje

Dooja kare to bandar laage

6 responses to “A Cynic’s Diary II

  1. Nice. It’s obvious that there are political motives to this once pious way of protest. Anna Hazare did it for a purpose, Baba Ramdev has done it for his following and his arrest has been such a nice pat on his back – his lower back.
    The difference is, when Gandhi fasted unto death, it was for the very formation of this democracy – which the writers of our constitution did well to create a jocular cacophony of. What Anna did was a constitutional protest. What Baba did was nothing. His buzz has now been dowsed with alcohol with his arrest. Rightly so. And I’m not saying that alcohol is a bad thing; for I myself happen to be its patron.

  2. It is rather interesting if you think about what happens after you decide to being that money in? (I frankly do not understand how that would happen – not politically but in terms of currency transfer to the GoI). The only feasible solution is that the GoI uses that fund to pay off its external debts and use the money (in INR) that would have been used to pay that debt to fund the public welfare schemes. But then again bringing in such a non-trivial amount of money into the economy would be disaster in term of its fiscal policy implications. Why should I (who has not indulged in any sort of corruption – almost!) see the value of the 100 Rs note in my pocket get reduced to something like 95 just because artificially the money supply had been leaking for several years (to the swiss banks)?

    My submission is: You are absolutely bang-on about the anarchist methods but even the implementation aspect is non-trivial (which I am afraid people are not bothered with!).

  3. your arguments are wrong.
    equating ramdev’s protest to bainsala’s protest is definitely wrong. he blocked roads, caused deaths of people, here he was confined to a ramlila grnd from which he was evicted at 2 am under the pretext that those sleepy people were about to cause a law and order problem, ( were they gonna have a mass orgy there that the police had to tear gas their ass out of there ? !!!)

    Holding the state to “ransom” through protest is wrong because we are a democracy: this argument is so wrong on so many levels. Democracy especially the indian one where dynasties are ruling political parties needs participation from people and people dont just up and go somewhere. there is always leadership required. I can understand if you say he is not as shrewd as gandhi, not as brilliant but dont just say that protesting is wrong especially when you yourself have at one point participated in anti-reservation protests.

    His demands for (1) “Engineering and Medical education in Hindi” (2) “Abolishing Rs.1,000 and Rs.500 currency notes” (3) “Ensuring that all citizens declare annually their incomes”
    these are not valid arguemtns against ramdev, just because something seems difficult no lets say impossible doesnt mean it should not be attempted (britishers said self rule was impossible for indians).
    specifically about hindi education it doesnt say you have to make it compulsary. and also why do you think it impossible. I mean chinese people do it in their own language, the japanese do it. japan and china are doing okay engineering and medical science wise.
    “Abolishing currency notes” it doesnt seem practical to just abolish it but not printing more can be one way. and you know the rationale behind it so i wont go into that.

    • pre·cau·tion·ar·y
      taken in advance to protect against possible danger or failure. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Precautionary_principle
      And I strongly believe riots are but a mass orgy.
      Why I support Anna and not Ramdev is because Anna asked for formation of a committee which will draft a bill rather than spelling out the law himself. That is not democracy. Not just the Indian public, but people anywhere, need a leader. But to assemble your thousands of followers under the pretext of Yoga and then disseminating political agenda is not being a leader. Do you really think the ladies and kids there were for anti-corruption satyagraha?
      When I was 10, I don’t think there were 1000 rupees notes in circulation. India was a corruption-free country in 1997.

  4. Dear Ankur please explain the anarchism in the last para.
    Ramdev is one of those people who only knows how to speak and has limited experience. He might have successfully started a company dedicated to Ayurveda but doesn’t know the implications of scaling up his narrow minded (to say the least) concepts in a zillion times complicated system.

  5. Good one J. Well said. As an ex-monk 😉 myself, I see the amount of ignorance Ramdev’s hyperventilated brain exudes. I definitely appreciate and respect his efforts as far as ‘physical health’ is concerned.

    But if he was any spiritual, a simple law of ‘is, was, will’ would sum up all that he needs to know about this world. I don’t know how to react when a lot of innocent people out there listen to his idiotic statements like ‘Ram Raj’, ‘Studies in Hindi’ etc.

    Keep it up.
    [more explanation is available if anyone needs clarification]

    Cheers,
    Preim

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