When Baba Ramdev a yogi who has won the hearts and the wallets of millions chose to embark on what one speculates could be a political career, the weapon he chose was a strong and non negotiable one – corruption and black money. Call it opposition or attention seeking, Baba Ramdev’s arrival in the capital was sensational and his departure even more so,leaving behind a trail of many unanswered questions which the days to come will hopefully answer.
The black sheep (read politicians) in this country have had a field day feeding off each other’s follies and serving the public a stew made of politics, relegion, history and ethics. The ruling Congress which remains in power thanks to a masterstroke of democracy commonly referred to as ‘a coalition’ chose the most undemocratic way of addressing a peaceful protest through brutal force. It forced Baba Ramdev out of the Capital but it could well force the UPA out of the government as it gave a thus far directionless opposition the chance to ride on the plank of mass frustration highlighted by people of mass appeal, be it Anna who has begun to develop it or Ramdev who already had it.
Interestingly the blackest of all the corrupted sheep the civil servants escape attention and punishment.
Finally there is the black money, usually pushed out of the country or under the table it now runs the danger of being pushed under the carpet between political hyperbole. The quantum of Indian black money stashed overseas has undergone several estimates the Baba’s version being by far the most adventurous but there is little doubt that if repatriated this money could substantially reduce our fiscal deficit or even turn it into a surplus. I would also significantly reduce our inflation while ensuring a double digit growth for a long time to come. It may not as Baba Ramdev claims make the rupee valued at 50 dollars but it could ensure that the poorest Indian gets at least 2 dollars a day to live on four times what he gets today.
Of course this is all wishful thinking, but it can be done.
The manner and speed in which Ramdev wants it done may not be desirable or possible but it still needs urgent attention. The move has been made and needs to become a movement. To become one it needs patience perseverance and sometimes even penance. It also needs pressure, ploy, propaganda and populism. But most of all it needs ‘people’ to make it happen.
Having said that, the questions remains, who is Ramdev? What authority has he? Are his methods right? Are his demands reasonable? These are questions which can be asked. However one cannot deny that he has lit another spark in what has always been at best an undying subject of disgruntlement and made us no better than a living corpse. The yogi would call it shavasana – the posture of a corpse signifying rest – a luxury we cannot afford in our fight against corruption.