Baba … Black Sheep … Have You Any Black Money


The week gone by was a tale of three tales , a baba , some black sheep and a lot of black money.

Baba Ramdev, a yogi , who has won the hearts and the wallets of millions chose to embark on what one speculates could be a political  career. The weapon he chose was a strong and non negotiable one – corruption and black money . Touted by some as a front for the opposition and by others as  an attention seeker desirous of claiming ownership of the ‘fight against corruption’ which of late finds its patent in the Gandhian Anna Hazare and his team on the Lokpal bill, Baba Ramdev’s  arrival in the capital was sensational and his departure even more so , leaving behind a trail of many unanswered questions which the days to come will hopefully answer.

Then there were the  black sheep often  called ‘politicians’ in this country who had a field day feeding off each other’s follies and serving the public a stew made of politics, religion, history and ethics. The taste ,if there was one , was forgettable. The ruling congress which remains in power thanks to a masterstroke of democracy commonly referred to  as ‘a coalition’ , chose the most undemocratic way of addressing a peaceful protest through brutal force. It forced Baba Ramdev out of the  Capital but it could well force the UPA out of  the government as it gave, a thus far  direction less opposition , the chance  to ride on the plank of mass frustration highlighted by people of mass appeal, be it Anna who has begun to develop it or Ramdev who already has it . Interestingly,  the blackest of all the corrupted  sheep , the civil servants escape attention and thus punishment .

Finally there is the treasure –“ black money “usually  pushed out of the country or under the table it now runs the danger of being  pushed under the carpet  between political hyperbole .The quantum of Indian black money stashed overseas has undergone several estimates , the Baba ‘s version being by far the most adventurous,  but there is little doubt that  if repatriated  this money could substantially  reduce our fiscal deficit or even turn it into a surplus, significantly  reduce our inflation while  ensuring  a double digit growth for a long time to come . It may not , as Baba Ramdev claims make the rupee valued at  50 dollars, but it could ensure that the poorest  Indian gets at least 2 dollars a day to live on, four times what he gets today.

Of course this is all wishful  thinking but it can be done .The manner and speed in which Ramdev wants it done may not be desirable or possible , but it still needs urgent attention. The move has been made  and now needs to become a movement. To become one it  needs  patience, perseverance and sometimes even penance . It also needs pressure, protests, ploy, propaganda and  populism . But most of all it needs-“ people”  to make it happen. As a people we choose to make do rather than do . 

Having said that the questions remain  Who Is Ramdev ? What authority  has he ? Are his methods  right? Are is demands reasonable? These are questions which can be questioned . However one cannot deny that he has lit another spark in what has always been at best an undying subject of disgruntlement and made us no better than a living corpse .The yogi would call it shavasana – the posture of a corpse signifying rest – a luxury we can ill afford in our fight against corruption

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