Today, one of my greatest fears over the last few years came true. After flirting with political aspirations for a while now, Baba Ramdev jumped into the Anti-Corruption brigade, and has gone on a fast unto death for the cause.
It’s not long before he’ll announce a political party, and it would be a sad day for Indian politics.
My first brush with Baba Ramdev happened a few years back. When I am bored and have nothing to do, I flip through the devotional channels and trip on the babas on them. That was when I first saw Baba Ramdev, and he was giving a pravachan on Ramayan.
“……but Ram is Purushottam.” Wink.
“And every action of Ram’s is for the welfare of the people.” Wink.
I thought he was a cynic who was looking at the funny side of things. It was only when I noticed that he had a twitch in his left eye, I switched the channel.
Gradually, from our bedrooms, Baba Ramdev began to make appearances on news channels. Once he claimed a cure for cancer, and at other times spoke against cola companies. The truly absurd moment was when he said that homosexuality was a disease and there was a cure for it. Where could the cure be found? Why Baba himself has invented a medicine to cure it, of course!
This is precisely why his joining politics is a scary affair. In a country where media channels cannot even use the word ‘Muslim’ and have to resort to words like ‘minority’, the thought of Baba Ramdev entering politics is equal to an oil tanker leaking on Diwali night.
It is high time we did something about the quality of people who enter politics. Just last week, there was a report in the papers about the Information Technology Minister of Orissa passing his +2 exams with first division. The effing Information Technology minister. While his courage is admirable, the question is how could he have been made a minister? That too, an IT minister??
I wonder why there is no requisite educational degree or work experience for anyone entering politics. Probably a course in Public Affairs/ Public Administration. Though it sounds like a long shot, it does make perfect sense.
Doctors and engineers need to earn degrees to begin working. In every field, one has to go through a professional course, and gain work experience. Then how come, to become a political leader, a career that needs more responsibility that all the above put together, a person need not be qualified?
I know people will say that not everyone is bestowed with a good educational background, and cite the state of our schools and primary education system. But then, after a minister is elected, doesn’t he/she have to read reports, analyse results, plan policies, and manage funds? Dont all these require a high level of skillsets?
Another positive from a minimum benchmark would be that we wouldn’t have bogus politicians. Like a Govinda who takes ample time off from the Assembly to shoot for cinematic masterpieces like ‘Life Partner’. Or children of political leaders continuing the family legacy like it just a halwai ka dukaan. Or spiritual babas who masquerade as the panacea to all the problems of the country, like Baba Ramdev.
Seriously, can you imagine Baba Ramdev in his office, reading reports? How much administrative experience does he have?
While some might accuse me of taking potshots at the crusade against corruption, I would like to point out here that Baba Ramdev is a pathetic torchbearer for such a worthy cause. He has simply jumped on the public anger against politicians and seems to be adding a new issue to his list of demands every hour.
If you have been following him on the news channels, he has listed in his demands that minimum support prices be revised, currencies of large denominations be banned to avoid corruption. Right, baba. So if we buy arms from the US, we should ship them cargo ships of ten rupee notes. Baba also wants that all engineering and medical colleges teach in Hindi, rather than English.
But the present movement has given him the ideal platform to announce his debut into politics. Ironically, a few weeks back, the same Baba who cries hoarse about illegal money stashed abroad, bought an island in the UK. Why, baba? Surely you could have set up the same ashram here in India? Or, like Anna Hazare, with whom you are ‘fast’ friends, probably adopted a village and transformed its fortunes?
Why get your hands dirty in politics, baba? You are in the best career one could think of. No targets, no results, unlimited income, and tax benefits. What more do you want?
You should continue educating the country on the benefits of Yoga. The only time the common man does pranayam is when he enters a Sulabh Shauchalaya. Why not work on that? Or may be work on the cure for AIDS that you claimed to have found??