WHEN BABAS GO BERSERK…
Ramdev shocks me. Truly. Utterly. Unbearably. His saffron shocks me. It makes his words all the more shocking. Saffron is the colour either of self-sacrifice or of inspired bravery. He seems to be light years away from both.
It is blatant cowardice to say that he would love to cut off the heads of millions of people, but for the small inconvenience that stands in the way. There is, he laments, that irksome thing called rule of law. He could get into trouble, if he ventures to harvest a few million human heads. That, says Ramdev, chokes the heroic expression of his sterling patriotic zeal.
Ramdev’s version of patriotism, please note, is choked by law. That is to say, it is unlawful. Refraining from scandalously unlawful lusts and longings, only due to fear of unpleasant consequences is cowardice. Only Ramdev can enlighten us about the meeting point between cowardice and self-sacrifice: the sort of cowardice that made him don the costume of a woman and scoot from the scene of trouble in Ramlia Maidan. It is all very appropriate, you see. Baba Ramdev, Ramlila Maidan. Woman’s clothes. The nightly escape! A head-hunter’s patriotism adorned with a few million skulls.
The adroitness with which our shape-shifting Baba escaped from Ramlila maidan on that occasion is of the same stuff as the insured insolence with which he threatens to annihilate fellow citizens for not falling in line.
I am not happy to write these words, which I have to wring out of my reluctant heart. But I must. To keep quiet in the face of such eruption of insanity in the public sphere is to mock my spiritual calling. I shall have no right to appear in public clad in saffron after this, if I do not speak up on behalf all who are stunned. I have to denounce the political adventurism of this friend of mine. But I shall not despise him; for the spirit of the Vaidic faith that keeps me going will not let me do so. This noble spiritual vison puts me under obligation to love every member of the human family -including those who do not agree with me, those who do not shout, like parrots, Bharat Mata Ki Jai and, also, those who, presuming on the impregnability of their saffron fortification reinforced further by “Z category security” spew the lingo of aggression as the poetry of patriotism.
I denounce the words of Ramdev and urge him to apologize, first, to all Hindus and, then, to all human beings. To the extent that he has started raving and ranting, he has (in my considered opinion) lost the right to take the name of the Vaidic faith, or pretend to be a spiritual guru. He would do well to go into vanvaas for meditation and self-purification.
As for the rest of us, Hindus, we must ask why Ramdev has lost his cool so completely. There is a serious issue here and it is necessary that we take not of it.
Baba Ramdev has been in the business of converting spirituality into material profit. He has, as a result, lost the distinction between Dhandha and Dharma. Religion became, in the process, the means for indulging in covetousness. Not for him the four stages of life prescribed in our spiritual vision. It is money, money, money all the way. The mega bucks he earned became his entry point into politics. If in the Ayodhya movement, politicians used babas and swamis, Ramdev is shrewd enough to use politicians to his advantage. It is a marriage of convenience for both parties.
I hold BJP also to account in this most lamentable turn of events. I want to tell them, now for the first time, that Hinduism is truly in peril. The cocktail of politics, corporatization and communalism concocted under the name and colour of Hinduism today threatens its authenticity. It is pathetic that the party spokespersons are scrambling up in defense of the indefensible. Had they the slightest concern for the spirit of the Sanatan Dharma, they would have expressed their horror at the objectionable statement by Ramdev. I request Shri. Narendra Modi to take a stand on this.
What Ramdev has done is outright criminal. He is sowing seeds of horrendous violence in the minds of unsuspecting people within an ambience of faith. This is incitement to violence of the most dangerous kind. Knowing the outlook and agenda of the current dispensation, I have no hope that the Government either at the Centre or in the state of Haryana will take cognizance of this challenge to the rule of law and insult to the Constitution of India. I pray, therefore, to the Hon’ble Chief Justice of India to take suo moto cognizance of this and to initiate appropriate action. On occasions like this, the common man’s faith in rule of law is strained to the breaking point. It is the bounden duty of the Apex Court, as the custodian of the Constitution, to let law take effect towards upholding public order and morality.
Finally, a word about the senselessness that inflates Ramdev’s hollow patriotism. Does he really think that shouting a slogan -or a thousand slogans- proves anyone’s patriotism? Does he really believe that a coerced utterance carries patriotic value? Those who revel in coercing others are not interested in the Motherland. They are intoxicated with power: power of the cruel and corrupting kind. This is not patriotism. This is poison. Every form of coercion is an insult to the spirit and substance of the Constitution. By lending credibility to this anti-human advocacy abusing saffron, the colour of the sacrificial love for humanity, Ramdev, I am sorry to say, has insulted the Vaidic faith. And I protest. As any sensible, law-abiding person would. And should.
Swami Agnivesh is President Emeritus of World Council of Arya Samaj & Human Rights activist.
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