As I am writing this, Baba Ramdev has been evicted from Ramlila Maidan in Delhi where he was undertaking a fast in protest of government indifference to the issues of corruption that have been rocking the nation for the last few months. While some compare the government action as reminiscent of the Emergency of 1975, others point to the fallacies and inconsistencies in the yoga guru's stance. There are others who are busy digging up the dirt on either Baba and his camp or on the government and its motive behind this barbaric action. On a sadder note, politicians of every hue and allegiance are descending like birds of prey to capitalize on this development, many of whom have their peers in prison on charges ranging from murder to less heinous practices that sees tax payers' hard earned money being used to bail out an economy raped by greedy and self seeking power mongerers.
The principles of yoga demand right living. A camp organized for yoga, according to the government of today, cannot be used for agitations or protests. What our learned politicians fail to understand is that yoga itself is a statement against all that is out of balance in the system, both internally in our bodies and minds, and externally as a reflection of this internal reality. What we see as society, social structure, going all the way up to governance and the principles of governance are but manifestations of innumerable intent nurtured in each individual.
Having been a long-time practitioner of hatha yoga as part of my study of the tantric sciences, there is little that Baba Ramdev says about yoga that I can disagree with. However, I do find many of his views on other matters not only narrow minded, but even ridiculously immature. When the Lokpal Bill movement of Anna Hazare caught the imagination of the nation, it was only to be expected that he would climb on to the bandwagon with his longstanding rant against the siphoning off of national wealth in the form of "black money." In particular, I have strong reservations about his alleged links, if true, with the Hindu right wing.
None of this can detract from the fact that, in all his supposed naivete, what he is demanding of the government is something that every right thinking Indian is deeply desirous of. I am not talking about trivialities like withdrawing high value currency notes or replacing English as a medium of education in institutions with the vernacular. I am talking about the basic question of a nation's right to be governed by people who believe in right action, and who follow it up with right action. If we cannot look up to the people who we are offered to choose from to elect to governance, if we cannot trust the members of police and law enforcement agencies to act upon principles instead of bribes and lust, if we cannot trust that the judiciary will be above temptation or personal motives, it is but natural that our mistrust will sooner or later express itself, and if not heeded, express itself in ways that will force it to be heeded.
It is the tragedy of our times that politicians choose to enter public life and governance not to help ameliorate the dismal conditions that the masses struggle to survive in, but in order to use their power and offices to feather their own nests, aware of the nature of their actions, and taking utmost care to ensure that any attempt to corner them is confounded by tortuous money trails and legal red tape. It is equally tragic that the ones in charge of addressing these issues of corruption are repeatedly being revealed as its perpetrators rather than those we can trust to prevent it. The very concept of a dependable criminal justice system has been hijacked by corruption to a point where it is today a farce of a justice system that is controlled by criminals.
With the growing disenchantment with the system among the populace, it remains to be seen to what levels corruption and self seeking can go before it implodes upon itself. As a believer in the infallibility of the law of simultaneity of cause and consequence, I am convinced that there is hope, in spite of the uphill struggle that lies ahead.
If you liked this post, you may also want to read this original unabridged article by my father written for a leading Telugu daily.