Sunday, June 05, 2011

Jhoom Jhoom Jhoom Baba

When a simple old man in white kurta-pyjama and a Gandhi cap stood up against corruption in India, the entire nation stood behind him. Anna Hazare found support from the masses as well as the classes. But when Baba Ramdev stands up to corruption, how come he doesn’t get the type of support that Anna got?

If you really consider the difference between Anna and Baba, Anna is as an affable straight forward honest social reformer who has transformed Ralegaon Siddhi from being a village afflicted by drought, poverty and illicit liquor to a model village where he carried out programs like tree planting, terracing to reduce soil erosion and digging canals to retain rainwater. He has no political aspirations, no religious followers and no hidden agenda. His organization does not even accept donations. His simple Gandhian principles struck a chord with Indians when he took up the crusade to fight against corruption. The educated lot, especially people form the middle class and college students put their hand up in his support, as social network sites went into frenzy. Anna even had support from eminent citizens such as social activist and a retired Indian Police Service (IPS) officer Kiran Bedi, Ramon Magsaysay Award winner Arvind Kejriwal and former Law Minister of India Shanti Bhushan who stood solid behind him.

And then we have Baba Ramdev on the other end. The one eyed bearded Baba runs a multi crore yoga and Ayurveda empire and flies around in a private jet. He has soared to celebrity status on television with crazy ideas and huge ambitions. He has hordes of religious followers and now his empire is expanding to far away locations like Scotland. There was a current news in the papers, where one of his associate claimed that the last balance sheet filed by Baba Ramdev was for more than 1,000 crore Rupees. Not to mention his political aspirations, where he has his own party called Bharat Swabhiman and wants to field candidates in all the 543 Lok Sabha seats.

So it’s not surprising that the educated rational Indian feels that the Baba is a distrustful attention seeker whose crusade against corruption is nothing but a sham to garner more publicity. His campaign appears to be a RSS-BJP backed strategy to corner the government. People do not want him to hijack their mandate for personal gains. I think it’s high time these self proclaimed gurus realise that you can’t take the common man for a ride anymore! Baba Ramdev should stick to his “Jhoom Jhoom Jhoom Baba” routine on Astha channel. Not everyone can be Anna Hazare . . .

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