The pubs and bars in Delhi have added a new cocktail in their menu, its called the Midnight Swoop or Late-night Swoop. As the name suggests, its for people who love to party out late in the night, maybe to see a new dawn the next morning. The drink is pretty effective and as you gulp it down the kick you get out of it is just like being ‘lathi charged‘. If thats not enough, after downing 2-3 of these drinks, you may be left crying as tears roll down your eyes and everything seems hazy; as if you have been tear-gassed. The effect of the drink stays with your for long and the hangover can be damaging. You maybe found in women’s garment the next morning; so be very careful before you binge on this Midnight Swoop. The best person to review the above new cocktail would be Baba Ramdev.
Jokes aside, what happened at wee hours of 5th June should not be happening in a mature democracy as ours. If we claim to be the largest democracy but the state police behaves in an autocratic fashion then how are we different from Egypt and Yemen! Is this the kind of image that we would like to send out to other countries who are fighting for democracy!
Having said the above, let me quickly add that Ramdev is at as much fault as the Govt is. He was playing hardball with the Govt and he paid for that. He stayed in a star hotel, then tried to strike a deal with the Govt, then backed out and tried to arm-twist the Govt. What the Govt did was even more juvenile. They threw 8 tear-gas bombs to disperse the crowd and then took away Ramdev to an undisclosed location; dropped him at Haridwar. I am not sure about the veracity of the statements like people were beaten up and other instances of brute force being used on civilians. But yet, the very nature of the act puts the Govt in the dock.
We have many burning issues in the country, but that does not mean we hold the Govt to ransom. Naxalism is a big problem, but where was Ramdev’s babagiri when 78 crpf men were blown away in Dantewada? Did he go on a fast and urge the Govt to take action. No! Were was he when Mumbai attacks took place? Did he request the PM and Home Ministry to take action.
Corruption has just become a propaganda to launch himself into the political arena. Its a tool that he is leveraging for political gains. In the heat of all this, Baba has forgotten that the main issue is corruption and not Ramdev. Being a TV celebrity does not give anyone the license to run amok holding a black flag. The credibility of the flag bearer decides the criticality of the issue. If NRN or Hazare speak out against corruption then it makes sense and drives civil society to join the movement. But if ‘dhongi’ babas like Ramdev or Reddy brothers or Kalmadi/Raja take up the issue of corruption, then its farcical. Laughable at best, detestable at worst. Ramdev must first clear the skeletons in his cupboard, before taking up the issue of corruption. He should account for the private choppers that he possesses, the ownership of the lands where he has his ashrams, the island that was gifted to him and all the wealth that be gets by way of charity.
On the other hand, Govt must explain their action against Ramdev. I am sure the issue could have been handled in a better way and a more humane manner. If at all the Govt had any proofs about Ramdev’s illegal activities, they should have brought that out and embarrassed him. Instead, they took direct action and made a hero out of Ramdev. It has galvanised the opposition and the Ramdev followers.
Ramdev maybe forgotten in the long run, but Govt’s actions will neither be forgiven nor forgotten. A political ‘mahabharat’ is inevitable at this point. But there are learnings for all of us: Govt, Baba and us. The learning for Govt is not to act in a hostile manner; swift action is not always the correct thing to do. Ramdev’s learning must be to try and understand that bringing black money back to India and eradicating corruption is not a 7 day task and cannot be done by the Govt alone. And the lesson for us is that corruption breeds because some of us are ready to pay a price for getting things done on priority. But the bigger lesson is, when we stand up for a cause we should know behind whom we are standing.
This post was also published on Yahoo Network