Baba Ramdev is holding the country to ransom.
And our weak government , already scarred by the furious popularity enjoyed by the Anna Hazare fasting campaign across the country, sends top ministers to go haggle with him and to appease his ,well, hunger…? Sort of like the tales of our mythology where the Gods sent the heavenly apsaras to distract the penance of the Maharishis … Though by no twist of imagination can Pranab Mukherjee be seen as Urvashi ..!
But seriously, we are a democracy after all .Democracy is …. a Rule of the people? So a Baba Ramdev can threaten a fast & bring the government to its knees. Anna Hazare can fast & arm twist the government to agree to pass something as dubious as the Lokpal Bill. MNS activists can cause riots against non Marathis & cause damage to life and property , & pass unscathed. A Shiv Sena student can allege that a certain book contains opinions which are broadly insulting of Bal Thackeray & The Sena, & an institution as old & reputed as Mumbai University promptly bans the book without stopping to see if the claims are verified.
Yes, we are a democracy.
True , it is incorrect to club in the same camp the hooligans in the Sena (both of them) with people like Anna Hazare & Baba Ramdev – but aren’t they essentially doing the same thing? While one is using its political clout & sheer hooliganism to get away with anything, the other uses the emotional clout it enjoys amongst the vast majority to get the government to agree to its demands. Who is to decide what is good & what not? Or which method is more acceptable? We are debating the appropriateness of bringing the PMO’s Office & The Judiciary under the Lokpal, but what of these elements who hold the entire system to ransom with abandon? What of these blackmailers?
So yes, we are a democracy. But do we deserve to be one?
I believe there is a basic unsaid premise of a democracy, which is a government of (mature) people, by (mature) people, for (mature) people. You can’t expect the freedom & therefore the responsibility that comes with it, to be appreciated & upheld by people who are, basically, immature. Therefore we have people like our politicians who can’t see an inch beyond their own immediate power & monetary gain, a media which can’t seem to go beyond increasing their TRPs & their circulation figures by simply pandering to whichever news is more juice worthy… and we, the public at large , who just can’t seem to cast away our apathy, mired as we are in our own selfish little worries –rise in prices, kid’s education, new job, child’s wedding et cetera et cetera.
Baba Ramdev & Anna Hazare are loved & respected by millions of Indians and have the enviable position of being close to ordinary citizens while being in a position of influence. They would do well to engage with the government & the people in a mature manner to bring about sweeping change.