From Peace to Pieces…Baba Ramdev

Baba Ramdev has left me perplexed. If not complete, I had some faith in the man with the outlandish beard, but after his recent actions my faith is dwindling. He seems to suffering from trauma (after the lathi charge episode by Delhi police on Sunday) leading to a series of errors in judgment on his part. From what started as a peaceful protest against corruption by a yogi turned into a tit-for-tat game inspired by vengeance backed by a man whose ego got hurt. Somebody would have gone and practised a few aasans with him to calm him down if that was the only case. His relationship with controversy is a little older than that though.

What is known of Baba Ramdev is that on TV he gives out speeches through the medium of Aastha channel. He deals in the manufacturing, packaging, transportation and selling of ayurvedic medicines, cosmetics and food. Acharya Balkrishna is his confidant. But what is not known of Ramdev is that he’s built and runs a gigantic business empire of over 30 companies whose worth has been estimated at 1100 crores. These companies are affiliated to Ramdev’s Patnajali Yogpeeth and Divya Yog Mandir trusts. Aastha TV is affiliated to these trusts. Acharya Balkrishna is alleged to own a major share of these trust foundations. Ramdev is also alleged to own an island off the coast of Scotland. Baba’s clean saffron uniform looks a little tainted all of a sudden.

The man who overcame paralysis with the help of yoga has not been able to come out of the political clutter that has been created around the situation. It appalls me to learn that a man who talks about eradicating Naxalism and the discontent among the hearts of Naxals through yoga and meditation can talk about creating an army out of his supporters. While he went on a hunger strike, Digvijay Singh condemned it by calling it a ‘5 Star protest’ and with ACs and bedding facilities made available for supporters, it was difficult to ignore the comment made. Still Ramdev feels that he hasn’t deviated from his path, in fact is bringing the government back on track.

Not worried about who is on or off track, the BJP certainly seems to be having a great time, with all the cards falling in place. The BJP has long been opposing each and every decision taken by the government regarding the Lokpal Bill and bringing back black money from Swiss banks. The latter is specifically close to the BJP’s heart as L.K. Advani had demanded the same back in 2008. The Sangh Parivaar has very tactfully provided Ramdev with a soft bedding for him to rest his crusade on. Interestingly enough a year back when Ramdev had declared that he would launch a party to contest 2014 General Elections, BJP’s President had admonished Ramdev about the complexities of politics and advised him to stay away but now that he has turned anti-government the BJP is more than happy to back every move made by the man. The conspicuous agenda has been understood by the people and certainly by the UPA. Is Ramdev too naive to apprehend that or is he playing too smart?

Ramdev, who wanted to take a plunge into the political muck in a whistle blowing act, seems to be becoming a part of the dirt himself. Just one suggestion, that these whistle stoppers have been in the game long enough to make and break the rules. A person’s friend in need can become their bete noire in a jiffy. So tomorrow when the cameras are gone, the lime-light is taken away by another piece of news, when the ‘supporters’ get busy in their lives, the party might get over and he may feel a bit lonely. I say this with so much of confidence because we have rarely seen someone change the ‘system’ and rather become a part of it. So dear Baba, you still got time in your hand, before your army backfires!

Himanshi Chaudhary