Baba’s Battle against Bureaucracy

A wildly energetic man, high political ambitions and an adamant desire to bring back India’s wealth stashed in foreign bank accounts is all it takes to get thousands of people join hands to fight against the biggest evil eating-up Indian Politics for years!

The fast began at 0430 hours Friday morning despite his five ‘n’ a half hour crusade with union ministers Kapil Sibal and Subodh Kant Sahay on Friday. Under fire for his simplistic views on the corruption debate, Baba’s controversial take on article 377 and the support of the saffron camp, proves that his power and confidence stems from his large number of completely devoted followers. As Baba instigated his fast, the crowd devotedly ensued Baba as he held a Yoga and Bhajan Session. The devotion, for the cause as well as for the leader, is an extravagant example of how a democratic society must act for their rights. The demands put forward by him are as follows:

— Add a provision for death sentence for the corrupt in Indian Penal Code.

— Get all black money from Swiss and other foreign bank accounts.

— Declare of all wealth held illegally by Indians in other countries as national property and charging those with such accounts under the sedition laws

— Abolish Rs.1,000 and Rs.500 currency notes

— Replace the British-inherited system of governance, administration, taxation, education, law and order with a Swadeshi alternative

— Directly empower people to elect the Prime Minister

— Bring income-tax details under the Right to Information Act

— Revoke the Land Acquisition Act and increase the Minimum Support Price of grains to support Agriculture in India.

— Make wages of different categories of laborers uniform across the whole country.

— Promote Hindi at the expense of English in all Technical and non-technical institutes of India.

Almost a year back, Baba Ramdev brought his political ambitions to the public eye but hasn’t worked much for them since then. It was only when the India decided to fight against corruption that Baba Ramdev felt he could lead the movement along with Swami Sadhvi Ritambara, an activist in the VHP’s campaign against the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya, and other religious leaders from the Sikh, Jain and Muslim communities. One of Baba Ramdev’s supporters, Kalu Ram cycled all the way from the state of Gujarat, some 600 miles, to join the protest. Even a group of yoga teachers from Cooch Behar, led by Ajanta Ghosh, promised to stand by Baba till his fight lasted. And now, when even Anna Hazare and Sri Sri Ravi Shankar have extended their support to Baba’s fasting spree, the movement is all set to create history.

Now where this stand-off will end is quite unclear. The government insists it has not given-up trying to talk Baba Ramdev out from fulfilling his demands. The panic of the Indian government underlines a striking vulnerability within the administration. Earlier this year, when a social activist called Anna Hazare began a similar fast in the centre of Delhi, an act that triggered protests across the country, the authorities were quick on their feet, agreeing to his demands for an anti-corruption body but then tying up the matter in bureaucratic wrangling. Whoever takes the call against corruption, it’s we, the people of India who’ll triumph at the end!!

Garima Obrah