Baba Ramdev is a good entertainer. I remember listening to one of his speeches a few years back. He was addressing a group of school students. He interspersed his speech with two things that could keep the attention of the students glued to him: (1) demonstration of certain interesting yoga postures, and (2) hilarious, rather rustic, jokes. He entertained the students quite well.
Yesterday he entertained the whole of India quite well. Wherever I went in Delhi yesterday, I saw people sitting glued to some TV channel that showed Ramdev and his fast-related discussions. This morning I watched Ramdev jump like a child from a rather high stage, sit on someone’s shoulders (it appeared so to me) and exhort a momentous crowd to maintain discipline.
Had Ramdev already struck a “deal” with the government before he started his fast? Kapil Sibal would imply that. He displayed to the journalists the note written by the Baba that his “fast unto death” would end on the 6th of June.
Digvijay Singh has called the Baba all kinds of names. According to Singh, the Baba is a fraud, a thug and possibly even a murderer. Does the Baba have any moral right to demand morality from others? That is a valid question though it comes from Digvijay Singh.
In the Indian political circus, we have a lot of jokers and clowns too apart from the serious players. Where should we place Ramdev in that circus ring? In the motley of the clown? Or on the high trapeze? Or on the back of a one-horned rhinoceros?
Some of the Swami’s demands are quite ridiculous though the issue of corruption is indeed a serious one (waiting to become ridiculous, it appears). However, what was the Baba trying to prove by erecting a huge pavilion which looked quite ostentatious? Was he trying fight corruption or make a show of his popularity? Was it proper to gather thousands and thousands of people into an amorphous crowd with no clear agenda or action plan? Who would take the responsibility for the security of all those people? For the security of the city of Delhi?
At any rate, was it necessary to gather such a crowd for a “fast unto death” that was scheduled to last just a couple of days?
When an influential person behaves as irresponsibly as Baba Ramdev did, it becomes the responsibility of the government to bring the situation under control.
Perhaps, Ramdev will convert the comic drama that ended his one-day-fast-unto-death into a strategic political opportunity. The Right wing parties and organisations have already upped their ante. They know the Baba is a good attention-grabbing gargoyle on their political edifice.