On January 9th, 2009 Rajeev Dixit founded the Bharat Swabhiman Movement along with Baba Ramdev. A Telecom scientist who had worked with multinationals and returned to work on the rejuvenation of India – specially rural India, fought against the exploitation of the Foreign companies, corruption amongst the Politicians and Bureaucrats and the need to resuscitate the Indian knowledge base. His knowledge and ability to assimilate so many areas – history, economics, law and politics made his speeches a hit. A young person, whose audio cassettes were a big hit amongst the masses and youtube videos a hit with the online audience died young recently. Unfortunately, and intriguingly, the entire National media blanked out his death.
Baba Ramdev, the Yoga teacher who has made it his mission to teach Yoga to as many people he can reach, used his platform to propagate the very serious and well articulated issues that Rajeev Dixit would raise. They had a very simple set of 5 goals:
- 100% voting
- 100% nationalist thought
- 100% boycott of foreign companies, adoption of ‘swadeshi’
- 100% unification of the people of the nation
- 100% yoga-oriented nation
The people in the movement took just 5 vows:
- We will only vote for patriotic, honest, valiant, farsighted, and skillful people. We ourselves will vote 100% and also make others vote.
- We will unite all patriotic, sincere, aware, sensitive, intelligent and honest people together 100% and uniting the powers of the nation will bring about a new freedom, new system and new change. We will make Bharat the biggest superpower in the world.
- We will 100% boycott foreign goods made with zero technology and adopt indigenous goods.
- We will adopt nationalist thought 100%, and while in our personal lives we observe Hindu, Islam, Christian, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, etc. religious traditions, in our public lives we will live like a true Bharatiya.
- We will make the entire country 100% yoga-oriented and make the citizens inward-focused by making them healthy and arouse the feeling of self-pride in each one by removing the cheating, corruption, hopelessness, disbelief and self-languor arising because of self-confusion, and awaken Bharat’s sleeping self-respect by building national character.
Given how the focus in the Indian economy has moved away from the poor and the entire economic process been captured by the wealthy and corrupt, this direction made sense for the resurgence of a holistic India or rather Bharat.
Vishwa Bandhu Gupta, an ex Additional Commissioner of Income Tax saw through the level and expanse of the corruption and the money laundering during his time when he oversaw the Voluntary Disclosure of Income Scheme (VDIS). He was suspended when he came out to expose the corruption.
He showed how the money was stashed by Congress MPs – specifically Sonia Gandhi – and the extent of corruption that was being engaged in.
Recently, a jawan Mitu Singh Rathore went to attend Baba Ramdev’s Free Yoga Camp. Baba Ramdev, used the platform to share the message of Bharat Swabhiman that he and others he calls on his platform – like Rajeev Dixit and Vishwa Bandhu Gupta – have shared from time to time. The guy, who had come on his own volition to a camp which was free was “disappointed” that he didn’t get to do enough “yoga” as was “promised” and hurled a shoe at the Yoga Guru.
Now, If one were to look at the above incidents and try to see the importance and seriousness of it, one would assume that the incredible mass movement and awareness generated by Baba Ramdev along with Rajeev Dixit – and the latter’s early death; along with the expose’ from Vishwa Bandhu Gupta an ex-IRS officer would be very important.
But what does the media and the copy cat bloggers focus on? Yes, the guy who went to a free Yoga camp on his own, who was disappointed that he didn’t get his money’s and time’s worth, and refused to leave through the open door without slamming his shoe at the Baba for consumer dis-satisfaction. Interestingly, instead of finding fault with the guy – who was clearly out of his mind (and maybe even financed by Baba’s detractors) – the media and the bloggers seem to find Baba Ramdev at fault!
And if that kind of close-minded and blind follow the first idiotic “journalist” to the ditch wasn’t enough, the smart-ass commenters seem to suggest that somehow Politics and Spirituality doesn’t gell together. Such people, of course, haven’t heard about Guru Nanak Dev (who talked about the madness of Babar’s killings in Lahore and about several social issues) and the rest of the Gurus including Guru Gobind Singh, Kabir (who commented a lot of the social structure of his time) Swami Vivekananda, Aurobindo, Rabindranath Tagore, Gandhi etc. All the popular Spiritualists in the past have been fully engaged in public life. Spiritual pursuits have no meaning without full engagement with life in all its dimensions. And politics or social issues have interested the Spiritual leaders as much as the Eternal has. They don’t differentiate between the two.
But then this mass of educated, smart ass uninterested but fully caustic media writers open another front.
How can you compare Baba Ramdev with Vivekananda?
Hello? Did I bring the imagined dichotomy between Spirituality and Politics?
Here is a guy – Baba Ramdev – who gets up every morning with the aim to help people come out of their lazy and sedentary life styles and make Yoga asanas a part of their daily routine. The kriyas, the proper eating, asanas, the herbal medicines – things that the New Age in the US swear by and something that the Alternative Medicine enthusiasts in the West go after – are pitched to the poor and the rural across the length and breadth of the country. The Yoga camps which have introduced this health enhancing gift from the ancients – and cost an arm and a leg in the US and even in Mumbai – are offered free! Yet, the educated have an issue.
That the Baba Ramdev believes that his platform also should propagate against the ills of the society and the high and mighty is his prerogative. He has built his platform, audience and brand through his dedication and hard work – one healthy body after another – over the many years. What he does with it is completely and SOLELY within his powers. Has anyone ever ever questioned why Sachin Tendulkar sells a brand? Or why a musician gives a social interest message?
The truth is that two things are at play here:
Delibrate and Malicious Campaign against Baba Ramdev by the Government: Remember in 2006, MP Brinda Karat had accused Baba Ramdev of selling Herbal Remedies made out of “Human Bones”? She further alleged that it was based on report by a laboratory of the Health Ministry. Brinda, a Christian who is at the helm of the Communist Part of India (Marxist) – which nevertheless promotes atheism, but that is another story – had made a huge hue and cry about the human remains in Ramdev’s medicines. Today its April of 2011. If indeed so many human remains were being used in the huge amount of medicine prepared by the Baba’s Ayurvedic laboratory, pray, why wasn’t he indicted?
Or was that campaign just created as a “Hit and Run”? (Blog on the human remains) Media was all over it – which was easy as Brinda’s sister Radhika is married to Prannoy Roy.
Attempts at Ramdev’s credibility have been made from time to time, and every stone has failed to “catch any moss”. Yet, the effort continues.
Contempt of the Urban and “Educated” class for Vernacular Instruction: If the amount of Yoga teaching that Baba Ramdev has disseminated was provided by Shilpa Shetty for money with English instruction and sexy female bodies, then all that would have been kosher. But here is a guy, in full hair and worse Saffron robes offering Yoga in chaste Hindi, which to the prejudiced and brain-washed Urban wannabes, with little knowledge of West or their own culture – seems to wreak of “Yuck”. Of course, all that critique is couched in sarcasm or humor by the many writers in the media and blogosphere.
Recently, Ramdev has made it clear that the way to change the politics is to, well, challenge it from within. Many have done that before. And Ramdev is no stranger. Given that he is a citizen of India and a tax payer, he is completely within legal right to stand up in the elections, if he so chooses. The ONLY group which could be fearful of his political ambitions are the political parties, specially the ruling one. And no wonder, they have been at him ever since he generated a decent crowd!